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Thure Cerling Colloquium Abstract (Mar 30, 2016)

HAIR: History of Animals using Isotope Records

Stable isotopes provide information on the history of individual animals, as well as over evolutionary time scales for animal lineages. In this talk I will discuss how isotopes can be used to understand the reconstruct the diets of individuals and to put constraints on travel histories of individuals. As case examples, I discuss controlled feeding experiments to constrain model parameters and show that forward and inverse modeling can be used to reconstruct diets over time. As case studies, I discuss modern wildlife examples on the multi-year timescale, and also forensic law enforcement applications.



Thure Cerling is a biogeochemist at the University of Utah. His work primarily concerns the use of isotopes to study biological and geological processes occurring near the Earth’s surface.  He has done extensive field work in North America, Kenya, and Pakistan, and other geological and biological studies in Argentina, Australia, Western Europe, and Antarctica. These studies include cosmic-ray produced isotopes to study geomorphology, chemistry of lakes and lake sediments, stable isotope studies of diet and of soils, isotope forensics, and studies of early hominin environments in Africa. He served for 9 years on the US Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences.