IT2 offers a range of isotope analysis services that can be utilized for the ecological sciences. Examples of applications of stable isotope analysis for those working in ecology, include: food web and trophic level determination; source apportionment for nutrient inputs and environmental contaminants; migrant wildlife tracking; studies of nutrient status in plants, animals and soils for both terrestrial and aquatic environments; and paleoecological and paleobiological assessments. IT2 can carry out isotope analysis on a variety of sample types, including: soils, sediments, aqueous samples, gases, filtered materials, and various other organic materials.
Examples of analyses offered at IT2 that are utilized in the ecological sciences include: δ13C and δ15N analysis in organic solids (with % C and % N); δ13C of dissolved inorganic and dissolved organic matter in aqueous samples; and δ15N and δ18O values for dissolved nitrates in aqueous samples. Applications of δ13C can include the determination of the photosynthetic pathways of various plant species. Since C3, C4 and CAM photosynthetic pathways alter the observed isotopic ratios to different extents, they cause observable differences in the δ13C values. δ13C of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) can also be used to gain information on how organic carbon moves during plant and sediment cycles. This information can be used to help determine plant productivity in the past and present. δ15N analysis can be used with simultaneous δ13C determination, to evaluate food web structures, differentiate marine and terrestrial organic matter sources, assess N cycling between biological compartments, and for paleo-environmental reconstructions.