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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Darren R. Gröcke

Gröcke, D.R., Schimmelmann, A., Elias, S. & Miller, R.F. (2006). Stable hydrogen-isotope ratios in beetle chitin: preliminary European data and re-interpretation of North American data. Quaternary Science Reviews 25(15-16): 1850-1864.

Author(s) from Durham


Beetle exoskeletons contain chitin, a poly amino-sugar that is biosynthesized incorporating hydrogen isotopes from diet and water. As the stable isotope ratios D/H (or 2H/1H, expressed as δD values) of precipitation and diet are jointly influenced by climate, the biochemically recorded hydrogen-isotope ratio in fossil beetle exoskeleton has the potential to be used for paleoclimatic reconstruction. New δD data from modern beetles are presented as a preliminary database for Europe, with a re-evaluation of earlier North American data. We present correlated matrices of δD values in modern beetle chitin and modern precipitation to demonstrate the concept. We review the pertinent literature to highlight the history, utility, and likely future research directions for the use of chitin's stable isotopes in entomological paleoclimatology.