We examined whether stable isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) differed consistently between linear features (e.g., pipelines) and forest for plants, fungi, soil, small mammals, and arthropods in the southern Northwest Territories and northern Alberta, Canada. Overall, linear features were significantly enriched in 13C ( 0.3‰) and depleted in 15N (-1.0‰) compared to forest. However, the small magnitude of the linear feature effect means isotope values probably cannot be used to directly trace whether insects or small mammals preferentially use linear features for foraging. However, deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), red-backed voles (Myodes spp.), and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) differed significantly in stable isotope ratios. Each of these species also varied in their use of linear feature habitat, making it plausible to track where predators of small mammals obtain their prey using stable isotope ratios from predator tissues.
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Vol. 17 • No. 1