Unusual patterns in 15N blood values after a diet switch in red knot shorebirds

M.W. Dietz, T. Piersma, A. Dekinga, H. Korthals, M. Klaassen

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


When a diet switch results in a change in dietary isotopic values, isotope ratios of the consumer's tissues will change until a new equilibrium is reached. This change is generally best described by an exponential decay curve. Indeed, after a diet switch in captive red knot shorebirds (Calidris canutus islandica), the depletion of 13C in both blood cells and plasma followed an exponential decay curve. Surprisingly, the diet switch with a dietary 15N/14N ratio (δ15N) change from 11.4 to 8.8 ‰ had little effect on δ15N in the same tissues. The diet-plasma and diet-cellular discrimination factors of 15N with the initial diet were very low (0.5 and 0.2 ‰, respectively). δ15N in blood cells and plasma decreased linearly with increasing body mass, explaining about 40 % of the variation in δ15N. δ15N in plasma also decreased with increasing body-mass change (r 2=.07). This suggests that the unusual variation in δ15N with time after the diet switch was due to interferences with simultaneous changes in body-protein turnover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-292
JournalIsotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • national


Dive into the research topics of 'Unusual patterns in 15N blood values after a diet switch in red knot shorebirds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this