Stable carbon isotope ratios are indicators of the relative contribution of grass and browse to an ungulate’s diet. Plants differ in their stable carbon isotope ratios depending on the metabolic pathway of CO2 fixation, which is either a C4 (grasses) or C3 (shrubs, bushes and trees) photosynthetic pathway. Nitrogen isotope ratios reflect regional patterns of aridity, and thus allow reconstructing animal movements. Hydrogen stable isotope ratios provide information on the origin of water ingested. Animal tissues differ in their turnover rates, i.e. their cells are used and replaced at different speed. Thus, we will reveal the diet and migration patterns of oryx and springbok in Damaraland at several time scales by combining isotope information from tissues with varying turnover rates.

 

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