Tracing the natal origin of redshank (Tringa totanus) using Strontium isotopic fingerprints.

Updated 2001-05-02

The aim of the project is to use Strontium isotopic ratios in bone and feather tissue to discriminate between the two races of redshank (Tringa totanus)that overwinter on Scottish estuaries. One race brittanica breeds in Scotland and the other, robusta breeds in Iceland. Preliminary results have shown there to be two distinct clusters of ratios for the two races enabling the racial identification of juvenile birds. It is planned to extend the study to develop other migratory tracing methods for shorebirds and wildfowl using European estuaries.

This is not a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project

Time frame

Project time span
2000 -
Data collection
2000 - 2001
Data processing
2000 - 2001
Data reporting
2000 - 2001

Contact information

Contact person
Rhys Bullman
Institute of Biological Sciences University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland UK
+44 1786 467816 ext 7816
+44 1786 464994
Other project contacts
Jane Evans Nerc isotope geosciences laboratory Keyworth, England, UK

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Other metals/elements
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Terrestrial birds
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Feather and bone samples were collected from redshank corpses and a range of other wader species in both Iceland and Scotland. These tissue samples were analysed for 87SR/86SR ratios using mass spectrometry.


Regions studied
Other metals/elements
Stations or areas where observations are made

Birds came from the basin of the southern Icelandic lowlands. A flat area that is rather uniform in geology due to high volcanic activity in the area. All the birds were found in the area between 20,30 and 21 W and 63,50 and 64,10 N. One ad redshank was found at Lake Myvatn. Approx. 65,35 N & 17,00 W. All study animals were either roadkills or raptor victims. Scottish birds came from a variety of sites around the country, notably the Inner Hebrides and Orkney.

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

All feather and bone samples are stored in a freezer at the University of Stirling.

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

This information will be provided at a later date.

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
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