European colonization forever changed the demographics, culture, economics, and ecology of the Caribbean. Along with the Europeans came a suite of non-native introduced species, some of which are potential competitors of hutias. I will perform stable isotope analysis on subfossils of the Jamaican (Geocapromys brownii) and Hispaniolan (Plagiodontia aedium) hutias to infer any changes to their diet pre- and post-European colonization and the introduction of novel competitors. I will use δ15N analysis to infer any changes in trophic level. I will use δ13C analysis to infer any changes in C3 vs. C4 plant bias. Documenting any shift in diet will inform us of one dimension of the lasting effects of European colonization, especially those related to non-native species, which have already been documented to have a large impact on their introduced ecosystems.
Image legend: Hutia remains found in middens at Taíno archaeological sites.
Image credit: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/data-history-of-humans-environmental-impact/