Knoff, A. J. University of Virginia, ajk4z@virginia.edu
Erwin, M. University of Virginia, rme5g@virginia.edu
Macko, S. A. University of Virginia, sam8f@virginia.edu

 
AN ANALYSIS OF THE DIET OF LAUGHING GULLS (LARUS ATRICILLA) IN COASTAL VIRGINIA USING THE STABLE ISOTOPIC COMPOSITIONS OF CARBON, NITROGEN, AND SULFUR IN SEVERAL TISSUE TYPES
 
The area that constitutes the Virginia Coast Reserve of the Long Term Ecological Research Project (VCR-LTER) is a highly dynamic coastal estuarine system. A keystone goal of the VCR-LTER project is understanding the ecology of the system at present so that future changes can be recognized. Despite concern that a major "state change" has occurred in this area, food web linkages in this area are poorly understood. In this study, Laughing Gulls (Larus atricilla) will be used as a model organism because of their abundance as a top trophic level consumer as well as their broad and opportunistic diet. Stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur will be analyzed in several types of Laughing Gull tissues as well as their primary prey items to: (1) determine the feasibility of using different Gull tissues in the evaluation of intrapopulation, spatial, and temporal variability in predator-prey relationships, and (2) initiate the development of a stable isotope signature database for the entire VCR-LTER. Stable isotope analyses are a powerful and non-destructive tool technique for assessing change in prey composition in space and time by top-level consumers in coastal estuaries subject to ecosystem stressors.
 
Day: Tuesday, Feb. 2
Time:
Location: Sweeney Center
 
Code: SS32TU0908S