Measurement of naturally occuring stable isotopes (15N, 13C and 18O) in biological material is a useful tool to investigate questions in ecological research. Measurement of the isotopic composition of a material is made by weighing all individual atoms of a sample to a standard. Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) efficiently generates ratios of heavy to light isotopes.
NC 2550 Elemental Analyzer (NC State Stable Isotope Laboratory)
Applications to Ecosystem Health and Freshwater Mussel Conservation
Evaluate Food Sources, Shell Growth
Model Food Web Interactions
Water Quality: Detect Nutrient and Contaminant Sources
Stable Isotopes can be used as a tool to detect differences between source water (Fogg et al. 1998).