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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 25, No. 1, 2004, pp. 1-6
Bioline Code: zr04001
Full paper language: Chinese
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 25, No. 1, 2004, pp. 1-6

 en Analysis on Food Web Structure in Alpine Meadow Ecosystem:Evidence from Stable Carbon Isotope Signatures
YI Xian-feng ZHANG Xiao-ai LI Lai-xing LI Ming-cai ZHAO Liang


The stable isotope approach is based on the fact that naturally occurring stable isotope ratios in consumer tissues can be related to those in consumers' diets.Changes in,or fractionation of,stable carbon isotope ratios (13C/12C) occur with trophic level and are of the order of 1%-2%.Thus,isotope measurement of consumers' tissues can reveal information about their ingested foods in ecosystems that are relatively simple.Determination of stable carbon isotope signatures in the alpine meadow ecosystem demonstrated that the ecosystem was composed of five main food chains,one was three-noded food chain characterized by "plants --> small mammals --> raptors (or carnivorous mammals)" ;two each were two-noded characterized by "plants --> vegetarian passerine birds or livestock--> ;and two each were four-noded and composed of "plants --> insects --> passerine birds --> raptors (or carnivorous mammals)" or "plants --> insects --> amphibians --> raptors (or carnivorous mammals)",respectively.The maximum length of food chain in the alpine meadow ecosystem was 3.53,which was grossly equal to maximum node number,I.e.,4.In summary,stable carbon isotope ratios can be used as a proxy to analyze food chains and food webs in the alpine meadow ecosystems.

Stable carbon isotope; Alpine meadow; Food web; Food chain

© Copyright 2004 Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
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