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      Reconstruction of the Gravettian food-web at Předmostí I using multi-isotopic tracking (13C, 15N, 34S) of bone collagen

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          Source Partitioning Using Stable Isotopes: Coping with Too Much Variation

          Background Stable isotope analysis is increasingly being utilised across broad areas of ecology and biology. Key to much of this work is the use of mixing models to estimate the proportion of sources contributing to a mixture such as in diet estimation. Methodology By accurately reflecting natural variation and uncertainty to generate robust probability estimates of source proportions, the application of Bayesian methods to stable isotope mixing models promises to enable researchers to address an array of new questions, and approach current questions with greater insight and honesty. Conclusions We outline a framework that builds on recently published Bayesian isotopic mixing models and present a new open source R package, SIAR. The formulation in R will allow for continued and rapid development of this core model into an all-encompassing single analysis suite for stable isotope research.
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            Source partitioning using stable isotopes: coping with too many sources.

            Stable isotopes are increasingly being used as tracers in environmental studies. One application is to use isotopic ratios to quantitatively determine the proportional contribution of several sources to a mixture, such as the proportion of various pollution sources in a waste stream. In general, the proportional contributions of n+1 different sources can be uniquely determined by the use of n different isotope system tracers (e.g., delta13C, delta15N, delta18O) with linear mixing models based on mass balance equations. Often, however, the number of potential sources exceeds n+1, which prevents finding a unique solution of source proportions. What can be done in these situations? While no definitive solution exists, we propose a method that is informative in determining bounds for the contributions of each source. In this method, all possible combinations of each source contribution (0-100%) are examined in small increments (e.g., 1%). Combinations that sum to the observed mixture isotopic signatures within a small tolerance (e.g., +/-0.1 per thousand ) are considered to be feasible solutions, from which the frequency and range of potential source contributions can be determined. To avoid misrepresenting the results, users of this procedure should report the distribution of feasible solutions rather than focusing on a single value such as the mean. We applied this method to a variety of environmental studies in which stable isotope tracers were used to quantify the relative magnitude of multiple sources, including (1) plant water use, (2) geochemistry, (3) air pollution, and (4) dietary analysis. This method gives the range of isotopically determined source contributions; additional non-isotopic constraints specific to each study may be used to further restrict this range. The breadth of the isotopically determined ranges depends on the geometry of the mixing space and the similarity of source and mixture isotopic signatures. A sensitivity analysis indicated that the estimated ranges vary only modestly with different choices of source increment and mass balance tolerance parameter values. A computer program (IsoSource) to perform these calculations for user-specified data is available at http://www.epa.gov/wed/pages/models.htm.
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              Postmortem preservation and alteration of in vivo bone collagen isotope ratios in relation to palaeodietary reconstruction

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Quaternary International
                Quaternary International
                Elsevier BV
                10406182
                March 2015
                March 2015
                : 359-360
                :
                : 211-228
                Article
                10.1016/j.quaint.2014.09.044
                © 2015

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