Calcium and strontium stable isotopes reveal similar behaviors of essential Ca and nonessential Sr in stream food webs

Kai Nils Nitzsche, Shigeyuki Wakaki, Katsuyuki Yamashita, Ki Cheol Shin, Yoshikazu Kato, Hiromitsu Kamauchi, Ichiro Tayasu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies showed the potential of stable isotopes of the macronutrient calcium (δ44/40Ca) and nonessential strontium (δ88/86Sr) as new trophic level indicators in terrestrial vertebrates and marine teleost fishes. In this study, we tested whether similar Ca and Sr isotopic fractionation trends existed in macroinvertebrate-dominated stream food webs compared to vertebrates despite their physiological differences. We have determined the δ44/40Ca and δ88/86Sr values as well as the 87Sr/86Sr ratios of stream macroinvertebrates and small gobies and their potential metal sources (stream water, periphyton, and terrestrial plant litter) in upper and lower reaches of two streams in the Lake Biwa catchment, central Japan. The 87Sr/86Sr ratios revealed that stonefly nymphs, crustacea, and gobies mostly relied on aquatic Sr sources. Higher 87Sr/86Sr ratios of some crane fly and caddisfly larvae, mayfly, dobsonfly, and dragonfly nymphs indicated greater terrestrial contributions via plant litter. Positive correlations between the δ44/40Ca and δ88/86Sr values implied that similar Ca and Sr sources existed, and that Ca and Sr stable isotopes underwent similar fractionation trends although Sr was not essential. The δ44/40Ca and partly the δ88/86Sr values were positively correlated with Sr/Ca ratios and negatively with δ15N values indicating trophic effects on Ca and Sr stable isotopes. The enrichment of 44Ca and 88Sr in large filter-feeding caddisfly larvae was a notable exception from these trophic trends. Our data confirm that the trophic 44Ca and 88Sr depletion observed for marine teleost fishes and terrestrial vertebrates also applied to macroinvertebrate-dominated stream food webs despite their different physiologies indicating that shared mechanisms of Ca and Sr isotopic fractionation may exist at the cellular or molecular level between these taxa.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3921
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • calcium
  • feeding habit
  • goby
  • macroinvertebrate
  • nontraditional isotope
  • stream
  • strontium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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