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Spatial and temporal variation in stoichiometric and stable isotope ratios of animals contains ecological information that we are just beginning to understand. In both field and lab studies, stoichiometric or isotopic ratios are related to physiological mechanisms underlying nutrition or stress. Conservation and ecosystem ecology may be informed by isotopic data that can be rapidly and non-lethally collected from wild animals, especially where human activity leaves an isotopic signature (e.g. via introduction of chemical fertilizers, ornamental or other non-native plants or organic detritus). We examined spatial and temporal variation in stoichiometric and stable isotope ratios of the toes of Uta stansburiana (side-blotched lizards) living in urban and rural areas in and around St. George, Utah. We found substantial spatial and temporal variation as well as context-dependent co-variation with reproductive physiological parameters, although certain key predictions such as the relationship between δ15N and body condition were not supported. We suggest that landscape change through urbanization can have profound effects on wild animal physiology and that stoichiometric and stable isotope ratios can provide unique insights into the mechanisms underlying these processes.
Andrew M Durso, Geoffrey D Smith, Spencer B Hudson, Susannah S French, Stoichiometric and stable isotope ratios of wild lizards in an urban landscape vary with reproduction, physiology, space and time, Conservation Physiology, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2020, coaa001, https://doi.org/10.1093/conphys/coaa001