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About

Isoscapes (from isotope landscapes) are model products or spatially continuous observations of spatio-temporal variation in isotope ratios. They are typically utilized and produced at large spatial scales (regional to global) and are applied to a wide range of research questions. The isotopic compositions of gases, liquids and solids in abiotic and biotic materials are all potential targets for spatial modeling to generate isoscapes.

Isoscapes that are model products may be derived from first principles process modeling, application of fitted regressions, from geostatistical interpolation methods, or they may be the result of hybrid combinations of approaches. What may be thought of as direct observations are largely derived from remote sensing approaches.

Although understanding spatial variation has been of interest since we had precise ways to measure isotope ratios, the growth of data collection networks, increased computing capacity, and a proliferation of remote sensing products have contributed to a dramatic stimulation of research in this area. Global carbon and water cycling, animal migration, paleoclimatic and archaeological reconstruction, source identification of toxins in bioweapons, or the tracking of the illicit drug trade are only a few of the questions for which isoscapes are proving useful.