UC San Diego SearchMenu

Carolyn Kurle


Research in the Kurle lab focuses on understanding how animal foraging and trophic patterns drive community ecology. We use stable isotope biogeochemistry to answer questions regarding trophic interactions, niche partitioning, and habitat use, and our research informs conservation and management of species and ecosystems. We also seek to understand the best use of biogeochemical tools to address ecological problems. Our work takes place mostly in marine, coastal, and island systems.


  • Kurle, CM and McWhorter, J (2017) Spatial and temporal variability within marine isoscapes: implications for interpreting stable isotope data from marine systems. Marine Ecology Progress Series. doi: 10.3354/meps12045
  • Turner Tomaszewicz, CN, Seminoff, JA, Peckham, SH, Avens, L, and Kurle, CM (2017) Intrapopulation variability in the timing of ontogenetic habitat shifts in sea turtles revealed using δ15N values from bone growth rings. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12618
  • Kurle, CM, Bakker, V, Copeland, H, Burnett, J, Jones, J, Brandt, J, and Finkelstein, M (2016) Terrestrial scavenging of marine mammals: cross-ecosystem contaminant transfer and potential risks to endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus). Environmental Science and Technology. doi: 10.1021/acsest.6b01990
  • Turner Tomaszewicz, CN, Seminoff, JA, Ramirez, MD, and Kurle, CM (2016) Techniques for extracting sequential annual bone growth layers for stable isotope analysis. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12522
  • Steinitz, R, Lemm, JM, Pasachnik, SA, and Kurle, CM (2016) Diet-tissue stable isotope (Δ13C and Δ15N) discrimination factors for multiple tissues from terrestrial reptiles. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 30:9-21
  • Hopkins III, JB and Kurle, CM (2016) Measuring the realized niches of animals using stable isotopes: from rats to bears. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 7:210-221
  • Turner Tomaszewicz, CN, Seminoff, JA, and Kurle, CM (2015). Effects of demineralization on the stable isotope analysis of bone samples Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 29:1879-1888
  • Bowden, JJ, Eskildsen, A, Hansen, RR, Olsen, K, Kurle, CM, and Høye, TT (2015) High-arctic butterflies become smaller with rising temperatures. Biology Letters. 11: 20150574
  • Turner Tomaszewicz, CN, Seminoff, JA, Avens, L, Goshe, LR, Peckham, SH, Rodriguez-Baron, JM, Bickerman, K, and Kurle CM (2015) Determining age and residency duration of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) at a North Pacific bycatch hotspot using skeletochronology. Biological Conservation. 185:134-142
  • Kurle, CM, Koch, PL, Tershy, BR, and Croll, DA (2014) The effects of sex, tissue type, and dietary components on stable isotope discrimination factors (Δ13C and Δ15N) in mammalian omnivores. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, Special Issue. 50:307-321.
  • Kurle CM and Cardinale, BJ (2011) Ecological factors associated with the strength of trophic cascades in streams. Oikos 120:1897-1908
  • Kurle CM, Sinclair ES, Edwards AE, and Gudmundson CJ (2011) Temporal and spatial variation in the stable nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios of common marine prey species from Alaskan waters. Marine Biology 158:2389-2404
  • Kurle CM (2009) Interpreting temporal variation in omnivore foraging ecology via stable isotope modeling. Functional Ecology 23:733-744
  • Kurle CM, Croll DA, and Tershy BT (2008) Introduced rats indirectly change marine intertidal communities from algae to invertebrate dominated. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105:3800-3804