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The impact of metabolism on stable isotope dynamics: a theoretical framework

Laure Pecquerie, Roger M. Nisbet, Ronan Fablet, Anne Lorrain and Sebastiaan A. L. M. Kooijman
Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences
Vol. 365, No. 1557, Developments in dynamic energy budget theory and its applications (12 November 2010), pp. 3455-3468
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20778985
Page Count: 14
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The impact of metabolism on stable isotope dynamics: a theoretical framework
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Abstract

Stable isotope analysis is a powerful tool used for reconstructing individual life histories, identifying food-web structures and tracking flow of elemental matter through ecosystems. The mechanisms determining isotopic incorporation rates and discrimination factors are, however, poorly understood which hinders a reliable interpretation of field data when no experimental data are available. Here, we extend dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory with a limited set of new assumptions and rules in order to study the impact of metabolism on stable isotope dynamics in a mechanistic way. We calculate fluxes of stable isotopes within an organism by following fluxes of molecules involved in a limited number of macrochemical reactions: assimilation, growth but also structure turnover that is here explicitly treated. Two mechanisms are involved in the discrimination of isotopes: (i) selection of molecules occurs at the partitioning of assimilation, growth and turnover into anabolic and catabolic sub-fluxes and (ii) reshuffling of atoms occurs during transformations. Such a framework allows for isotopic routing which is known as a key, but poorly studied, mechanism. As DEB theory specifies the impact of environmental conditions and individual state on molecule fluxes, we discuss how scenario analysis within this framework could help reveal common mechanisms across taxa.

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