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1 December 2005 Patterns of Trophic Shift in δ15N and δ13C Through a Cynipid Gall Wasp Community (Neuroterus sp.) in Quercus turbinella
C. T. Yarnes, J. N. Rockwell, W. J. Boecklen
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The degree of shift in stable isotope ratios between trophic levels, known as trophic shift, can help elucidate trophic interactions in systems not amenable to conventional analyses. Gall wasp communities have long been a model system for community ecologists, yet much remains to be explored concerning trophic interactions between hosts, herbivores, and natural enemies. Before stable isotopes can be successfully applied to trophic interactions within gall communities, quality estimates of trophic shift between community members are required. In this study, we document the degree of trophic shift in carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes within a simple cynipid gall wasp community, Neuroterus sp. (Cynipidae), in Quercus turbinella Greene (Fagaceae). The trophic shift in δ15N between Neuroterus sp. and Q. turbinella was much lower than values reported for Cecidomyiid gallers, whereas the shift in δ15N between Neuroterus sp. and its parasitoid, Omyrus sp., was similar to that reported for parasitoids. The trophic shift in δ13C was considerably greater in Neuroterus sp. than previous estimates from other types of herbivores, whereas Omyrus sp. exhibited a trophic shift in δ13C similar to other biological systems. The unusual trophic shift in δ13C in Neuroterus sp. is likely a result of metabolic differences between host and gall tissues. We discuss commonalities in the observed trophic shift of δ13C and δ15N in the Neuroterus sp. community to other biological systems and postulate physiological mechanisms for deviations from reported estimates of trophic shift.

C. T. Yarnes, J. N. Rockwell, and W. J. Boecklen "Patterns of Trophic Shift in δ15N and δ13C Through a Cynipid Gall Wasp Community (Neuroterus sp.) in Quercus turbinella," Environmental Entomology 34(6), 1471-1476, (1 December 2005).
Received: 18 May 2005; Accepted: 1 August 2005; Published: 1 December 2005

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