Isotopic ecology of the modern land snail Cerion, San Salvador, Bahamas: Preliminary advances toward establishing a low-latitude island paleoenvironmental proxy

Lisa M. Baldini, Sally Walker, L. Bruce Railsback, James U. L. Baldini, Doug E. Crowe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The isotopic ecology of terrestrial snails from tropical island settings
    is not known despite the importance of such data sets for paleoenvironmental
    reconstructions. In this study, variations in carbon (13C/
    12C) and oxygen (18O/16O) isotope ratios obtained during whole-shell
    and sequential-rib analyses of the modern land snail, Cerion, reveal
    a record of diet and local environment on San Salvador, Bahamas.
    The mean δ13C value of adult Cerion shells collected from C4 vegetation
    is higher by 1.0‰ relative to snails collected from C3 plants,
    suggesting that carbon isotopes in shell carbonate reflect the dominant
    plant type in the diet, though the broad range of shell carbonate
    δ13C confirms a varied diet for this genus. The mean 18O values of
    adult Cerion shells collected from the west coast of San Salvador are
    0.8‰ higher than those collected from the east coast of the island.
    This difference may reflect the incorporation of water vapor derived
    from 18O-rich hypersaline lakes located in the island’s western interior.
    Sequential-rib analysis of one adult Cerion shell reveals variations
    in δ13C and δ18O values through ontogeny that may reflect
    changes in food source and rainfall seasonality, respectively. This
    study lays the groundwork for future studies to establish fossil Cerion
    as a valuable paleoenvironmental proxy for San Salvador and the
    Bahamas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)174-187
    JournalPalaios
    Volume22
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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