Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Isotopic turnover rates and diet-tissue discrimination depend on feeding habits of freshwater snails


Li, Chen-Hua; Roth, James D.; Detwiler, Jillian T. (2019), Data from: Isotopic turnover rates and diet-tissue discrimination depend on feeding habits of freshwater snails, Dryad, Dataset,


Estimates of animal diets and trophic structure using stable isotope analysis are strongly affected by diet-tissue discrimination and tissue turnover rates, yet these factors are often unknown for consumers because they must be measured using controlled-feeding studies. Furthermore, these parameters may be influenced by diet quality, growth, and other factors. We measured the effect of dietary protein content on diet-tissue discrimination and tissue turnover in three freshwater snail species. We fed lettuce to individually housed snails (n = 450 per species) for ten weeks, then half were switched to a high-protein diet. Isotopic values of muscle and gonad tissue were assessed at 48 and 80 days post-diet change. Snail discrimination factors varied by diet (low-protein > high-protein) and usually differed among species for both N and C, although species had similar carbon discrimination when fed the low-protein diet. Carbon turnover rates were similar among species for a given tissue type, but nitrogen turnover varied more among species. In addition, diet affected growth of species differently; some species grew larger on high-protein (H. trivolvis) while others grew larger on low-protein diet (Lymnaea spp.). These differences among species in growth influenced turnover rates, which were faster in the species with the highest growth rate following the diet switch from low to high-protein. Thus, growth is one of the main processes that affects tissue turnover, but growth and feeding preference did not affect diet-tissue discrimination, which was greater on low-protein than high-protein diets for all species regardless of growth performance. These results suggest that diet might influence two key parameters of stable isotope analysis differently.

Usage Notes


North America