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Title: Applying the principles of isotope analysis in plant and animal ecology to forensic science in the Americas

Abstract

Forensic science is an applied science that helps investigators answer questions at the heart of a crime: Who, What, When, Where, and How. As part of that process, forensic practitioners use basic laws of chemistry and physics to examine evidence and theories of origin to interpret said evidence. Ecological research has had an extraordinary impact on forensic science through the development and application of a specialized measurement technique useful for examining evidence that appears chemically and physically identical: stable isotope analysis. In this review, we examine the proven utility of stable isotope analysis in forensic settings from an ecological perspective, concentrating on work from the Americas completed within the last three decades. Our primary focus is on the interpretation of stable isotope ratios using plant and animal physiological models for “source inference,” although we also recognize that sample-to-sample comparison of stable isotope ratios can be useful in many forensic settings. Examples of the forensic application of stable isotope analysis cover the gamut, from cotton used in counterfeit bills to anthrax shipped through the U.S. Postal Service, from beer adulterated with cheap adjuncts to human remains discovered in shallow graves and never identified. Recent methodological developments—including isotope analysis of specific compounds,more » multiple elements, and radioisotopes—and the generation of isotope landscapes, or isoscapes, approaches for data interpretation promises that stable isotope analysis will continue to be used in forensic settings for another three decades… and beyond.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1494988
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-127008
Journal ID: ISSN 0029-8549
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Oecologia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 187; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-8549
Publisher:
Springer
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Chesson, Lesley A., Barnette, Janet E., Bowen, Gabriel J., Brooks, J. Renée, Casale, John F., Cerling, Thure E., Cook, Craig S., Douthitt, Charles B., Howa, John D., Hurley, Janet M., Kreuzer, Helen W., Lott, Michael J., Martinelli, Luiz A., O’Grady, Shannon P., Podlesak, David W., Tipple, Brett J., Valenzuela, Luciano O., and West, Jason B. Applying the principles of isotope analysis in plant and animal ecology to forensic science in the Americas. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1007/s00442-018-4188-1.
Chesson, Lesley A., Barnette, Janet E., Bowen, Gabriel J., Brooks, J. Renée, Casale, John F., Cerling, Thure E., Cook, Craig S., Douthitt, Charles B., Howa, John D., Hurley, Janet M., Kreuzer, Helen W., Lott, Michael J., Martinelli, Luiz A., O’Grady, Shannon P., Podlesak, David W., Tipple, Brett J., Valenzuela, Luciano O., & West, Jason B. Applying the principles of isotope analysis in plant and animal ecology to forensic science in the Americas. United States. doi:10.1007/s00442-018-4188-1.
Chesson, Lesley A., Barnette, Janet E., Bowen, Gabriel J., Brooks, J. Renée, Casale, John F., Cerling, Thure E., Cook, Craig S., Douthitt, Charles B., Howa, John D., Hurley, Janet M., Kreuzer, Helen W., Lott, Michael J., Martinelli, Luiz A., O’Grady, Shannon P., Podlesak, David W., Tipple, Brett J., Valenzuela, Luciano O., and West, Jason B. Thu . "Applying the principles of isotope analysis in plant and animal ecology to forensic science in the Americas". United States. doi:10.1007/s00442-018-4188-1.
@article{osti_1494988,
title = {Applying the principles of isotope analysis in plant and animal ecology to forensic science in the Americas},
author = {Chesson, Lesley A. and Barnette, Janet E. and Bowen, Gabriel J. and Brooks, J. Renée and Casale, John F. and Cerling, Thure E. and Cook, Craig S. and Douthitt, Charles B. and Howa, John D. and Hurley, Janet M. and Kreuzer, Helen W. and Lott, Michael J. and Martinelli, Luiz A. and O’Grady, Shannon P. and Podlesak, David W. and Tipple, Brett J. and Valenzuela, Luciano O. and West, Jason B.},
abstractNote = {Forensic science is an applied science that helps investigators answer questions at the heart of a crime: Who, What, When, Where, and How. As part of that process, forensic practitioners use basic laws of chemistry and physics to examine evidence and theories of origin to interpret said evidence. Ecological research has had an extraordinary impact on forensic science through the development and application of a specialized measurement technique useful for examining evidence that appears chemically and physically identical: stable isotope analysis. In this review, we examine the proven utility of stable isotope analysis in forensic settings from an ecological perspective, concentrating on work from the Americas completed within the last three decades. Our primary focus is on the interpretation of stable isotope ratios using plant and animal physiological models for “source inference,” although we also recognize that sample-to-sample comparison of stable isotope ratios can be useful in many forensic settings. Examples of the forensic application of stable isotope analysis cover the gamut, from cotton used in counterfeit bills to anthrax shipped through the U.S. Postal Service, from beer adulterated with cheap adjuncts to human remains discovered in shallow graves and never identified. Recent methodological developments—including isotope analysis of specific compounds, multiple elements, and radioisotopes—and the generation of isotope landscapes, or isoscapes, approaches for data interpretation promises that stable isotope analysis will continue to be used in forensic settings for another three decades… and beyond.},
doi = {10.1007/s00442-018-4188-1},
journal = {Oecologia},
issn = {0029-8549},
number = 4,
volume = 187,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {6}
}

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Hydrogen isotope fractionation during water uptake by woody xerophytes
journal, January 2007


Dietary Heterogeneity among Western Industrialized Countries Reflected in the Stable Isotope Ratios of Human Hair
journal, March 2012


Diets of Kenyan elephants from stable isotopes and the origin of confiscated ivory in Kenya
journal, April 2007


Tracing the geographical origin of cocaine
journal, November 2000

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  • Nature, Vol. 408, Issue 6810
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Temporal variation of oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) in drinking water: Implications for specifying location of origin with human scalp hair
journal, May 2011


Isotopic Fractionation of Carbon and Nitrogen During the Illicit Processing of Cocaine and Heroin in South America
journal, January 2005

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Hydrogen and Oxygen Isotope Ratios in Body Water and Hair: Modeling Isotope Dynamics in Nonhuman Primates: Hydrogen and Oxygen Isotopes of Primates
journal, May 2012

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B-HIVE: Beeswax hydrogen isotopes as validation of environment. Part I: Bulk honey and honeycomb stable isotope analysis
journal, March 2011


Molecular Paleohydrology: Interpreting the Hydrogen-Isotopic Composition of Lipid Biomarkers from Photosynthesizing Organisms
journal, May 2012


Carbon Isotope Discrimination and Photosynthesis
journal, June 1989

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Stable isotope analyses in human nutritional ecology
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