Feeding and trophic ecology
Understanding extinct and extant animal feeding ecology is crucial to assess palaeoclimate, vegetation structure, habitat use, niche partitioning, and predator–prey interactions in fossil ecosystems. Stable isotope geochemistry is a powerful tool to reconstruct ancient ecologies and ecosystems, as it is independent of morphology and reflects dietary ecology. Information from stable isotope methods, however, is limited by poorly experimentally constrained assumptions on diet-tissue fractionations across organisms. By experimentally analyzing Neotropical mammals never before assessed, my lab seeks to identify and understand patterns of isotope fractionation across different taxonomic groups.
Credit: Illustration: Jorge Blanco