stable isotope

What is stable isotope?

stable isotope meaning an isotope of a chemical element which is not spontaneously radioactive. Elements can exist in both stable and unstable (radioactive) forms. Most elements of biological interest (including C, H, O, N, and S) have two or more stable isotopes, with the lightest of these present in much greater abundance than the others. Among stable isotopes the most useful as biological tracers are the heavy isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. These two elements are found in the earth, the atmosphere, and all organisms


reference: Coral Reef Information System – Glossary

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