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δ13C and δ15N Signatures in Muscle and Fin Tissues: Nonlethal Sampling Methods for Stable Isotope Analysis of Salmonid

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Stable isotope analysis has emerged as an important tool in aquatic ecology. For fish, dorsal muscle from sacrificed individuals has traditionally been used in stable isotope studies; however, there are many instances when lethal sampling is undesirable. We evaluated the feasibility of using adipose and caudal fin clips as alternatives to muscle in stable isotope studies for five species of salmonids. Because fish size and water temperature can affect stable isotope ratios, we also determined whether fish length and sampling date affected the difference in isotope signatures between fins and muscle. Biopsied muscle plugs and fin clips were collected from rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, and lake trout S. namaycush as well as lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis and pygmy whitefish Prosopium coulterii and analyzed for stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. The isotope signatures of both adipose and caudal fins were significantly correlated (0.33 , R2 , 0.97) with those of dorsal muscle from the five salmonid species studied, and in some cases the signatures of fins did not differ from those of muscle. Fish length and sampling date occasionally had a small effect (0.042 , R2 , 0.49) on the relationship between the isotope signatures of fin and muscle. Although muscle biopsy provides a viable, nonlethal method of collecting muscle tissue from suitably sized fish, the strong relationships between the isotope signatures of fin and muscle demonstrate that fin clips should be considered good surrogates for muscle in stable isotope studies of salmonids.

  • Date created
    2010
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3BV7B61J
  • License
    © Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2009
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • JR Hanisch, WM Tonn, CA Paszkowski and GJ Scrimgeour. (2010) δ13C and δ15N Signatures in Muscle and Fin Tissues: Nonlethal Sampling Methods for Stable Isotope Analysis of Salmonids. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 30(1), p. 1-11. DOI: 10.1577/M09-048.1