Background and the use of isoscapes in the Brazilian context: essential tool for isotope data interpretation and natural resource management

João Paulo Sena-Souza, Fábio José Viana Costa, Gabriela Bielefeld Nardoto


Spatial patterns of stable isotope ratios can be represented in spatial models called isoscapes, and have been widely used to track biogeochemical processes in natural and anthropic systems. Isoscapes have the potential to improve isotope dissemination and interpretation of spatial patterns, increase scientific results appropriation by non-specialists and improve natural resource management. However, the isoscape approach has not commonly been used in studies performed in the Brazilian context. Isoscapes with oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes contribute in areas such as animal migration, forensics, hydrology, and studies on population, community and ecosystem level, among others. Here, we show the well-known global use and applications of isoscapes in different studies worldwide as a background to point out the potential for more Brazilian researchers to employ this approach in their studies, taking advantage of existing methods and filling spatial and methodological gaps. The incorporation of isoscapes may broaden the understanding of mechanisms and processes of major biogeochemical cycles in Brazil, assist in solving crimes, track illicit drug origins, help to detect wild animal trafficking, and increase Brazilian knowledge about the hydrological cycle and animal migration patterns in the Neotropics.


isotopic landscape, spatial patterns, stable isotope


Revista Ambiente & Água. ISSN:1980-993X DOI:10.4136/1980-993X

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