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Stable isotope evidence for impala Aepyceros melampus diets at Akagera National Park, Rwanda


Copeland, S R; Sponheimer, M; Spinage, C A; Lee-Thorp, J A; Codron, D; Reed, K E (2009). Stable isotope evidence for impala Aepyceros melampus diets at Akagera National Park, Rwanda. African Journal of Ecology, 47(4):490-501.

Abstract

Stable isotope analysis of tooth enamel was used to investigate the relative proportions of grass and browse in seasonal and overall diets of impala Aepyceros melampus at Akagera National Park, Rwanda. Bulk enamel samples suggest that on average, impala ate c. 86% C4 grass yearround, far more than in most previously studied impala populations across Africa. Intra-tooth samples show that seasonal changes in the proportion of C4 grass versus C3 browse are minimal (c. 10%), the diet being dominated by C4 grass year-round in contrast to other impala populations that consume ‡50% browse during the dry season. Intra-tooth oxygen isotope values track carbon isotope changes to a moderate degree, but are not patterned clearly enough to permit identification of wet versus dry seasons. As other studies have shown that impala select high-protein diets, the foraging behaviour at Akagera is probably because of the availability of palatable grass for much of the year in the edaphic grasslands around the lacustrine environments of the eastern portions of Akagera National Park.

Abstract

Stable isotope analysis of tooth enamel was used to investigate the relative proportions of grass and browse in seasonal and overall diets of impala Aepyceros melampus at Akagera National Park, Rwanda. Bulk enamel samples suggest that on average, impala ate c. 86% C4 grass yearround, far more than in most previously studied impala populations across Africa. Intra-tooth samples show that seasonal changes in the proportion of C4 grass versus C3 browse are minimal (c. 10%), the diet being dominated by C4 grass year-round in contrast to other impala populations that consume ‡50% browse during the dry season. Intra-tooth oxygen isotope values track carbon isotope changes to a moderate degree, but are not patterned clearly enough to permit identification of wet versus dry seasons. As other studies have shown that impala select high-protein diets, the foraging behaviour at Akagera is probably because of the availability of palatable grass for much of the year in the edaphic grasslands around the lacustrine environments of the eastern portions of Akagera National Park.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:September 2009
Deposited On:06 Jan 2010 16:13
Last Modified:06 Dec 2017 22:20
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0141-6707
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2028.2008.00969.x

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