Grazing kangaroos act as local recyclers of energy on semiarid floodplains  [2010]

Iles, Jordan Kelleway, Jeff Kobayashi, Tsuyoshi Mazumder, Debashish et al.

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On Australian semiarid floodplains, large herbivores such as kangaroos have a role in the cycling of energy (carbon) through the mechanism of feeding and defaecation of vegetative material. The degree to which kangaroos are vectors of energy within this system is not fully understood. This study describes the stable carbon isotope signature of floodplain plants and kangaroo scats at two close study sites. Kangaroos were found to deposit scats that mirrored the forage composition at each particular feeding site. Scats were 3.94[per mille sign] higher in δ¹³C values at the site where C₄ grasses were available, indicating that this grass contributed ~25-30% of the diet of these kangaroos. The difference in diet due to the relative availability of C₃ and C₄ forage, detectable in the carbon stable isotope signature of scats, is used to demonstrate that kangaroos are recycling and redistributing energy locally, rather than transporting it more broadly across the floodplain.

From the journal

Australian journal of zoology

ISSN : 0004-959X