Itzel weighing samples for stable isotope analysis
Itzel weighing samples for stable isotope analysis

100 years of changes: Isotopic tracking of diet breath and trophic position of apex predators in East Africa

The aim of the project is to assess the impact of human disturbance, mainly defaunation and land-use change (agriculture and livestock), on the diet, trophic position, and movement patterns of six African carnivores.
Human landscape transformation is considered to be the greatest global threat to biodiversity. In recent decades agricultural and pastoral activities in the Eastern African countries of Kenya and Tanzania have increased and are the major drivers of an observed decline of large mammalian species. It is of great importance to evaluate the effects that these changes will have on wildlife communities, and particularly in these countries as they are among the few that still retain a robust and diverse mammalian community.

Our main objective is to compare individuals from the last century (1910–1911) with modern day communities (1990–2014). These samples cover a period in which anthropogenic disturbances have increasingly altered the community of large vertebrates and therefore the environmental services they provide. We will use a range of stable isotopic approaches to compare hair samples from specimens collected by the  Smithsonian-Roosevelt East African collection (1909–1911), a unique historical resource, with the recent samples.


Contact person: Itzel Arias-Del Razo (link to profile coming soon:))
Posdoctoral Scholar (CONACYT Fellow)