Strontium isotopes analysis is a powerful tool in the study of past animal movements, notably the sequential analysis of tooth enamel to reconstruct individual movements in a time-series. Compared to traditional solution analysis, high resolution sampling using laser-ablation multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICP-MS) has the potential to reflect fine scale mobility. However, the averaging of the 87Sr/86Sr intake during the enamel mineralization process may limit fine scale inferences. We compared solution and LA-MC-ICP-MS 87Sr/86Sr intra-tooth profiles from the second and third molars of 5 caribou from the Western Arctic herd, Alaska. Profiles from both methods showed similar trends, reflecting the seasonal migratory movements, but LA-MC-ICP-MS profiles showed a less damped 87Sr/86Sr signal than solution profiles. Geographic assignments of the profile endmembers to the known summer and winter ranges were consistent between methods and with the expected timing of enamel formation but showed discrepancy at a finer scale. Variations on LA-MC-ICP-MS profiles, consistent with expected seasonal movements, suggested more than an admixture of the endmember values. However, more work in understanding enamel formation in Rangifer, and other ungulates, and how 87Sr/86Sr daily intake translates into enamel are needed to assess the real resolution that can be achieved with LA-MC-ICP-MS.
|Number of pages||15|
|Early online date||3 Mar 2023|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Mar 2023|
- stable isotope analysis