Differential fractionation of δ13C and δ15N among fish tissues: implications for the study of trophic interactions
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2002
1999 British Ecological Society
Volume 13, Issue 2, pages 225–231, April 1999
How to Cite
PINNEGAR, J. K. and POLUNIN, N. V. C. (1999), Differential fractionation of δ13C and δ15N among fish tissues: implications for the study of trophic interactions. Functional Ecology, 13: 225–231. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.1999.00301.x
- Issue published online: 27 MAR 2002
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2002
- Cited By
- Amino acids;
- stable isotopes;
- white muscle
1. Stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon are widely used in the evaluation and understanding of trophic interactions, and especially so in aquatic food-webs. However, differences among tissues which occur in consumers such as fish may confound resolution of these ecological relationships, and greatly affect dietary compositions calculated through mass-balance equations.
2.δ13C and δ15N were determined for homogenized whole fry (≈ 2·7 g) and particular tissues (white muscle, red muscle, liver and heart) of juveniles (≈ 20·6 g) of Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss.
3. Differences in δ13C and δ15N were observed among tissues; removal of lipid resulted in these tissues becoming statistically indistinguishable but more variable in δ13C, particularly in tissues with higher lipid content. Differences in δ15N among tissues may be related to the relative composition of ‘essential’ and ‘non-essential’ amino acids.
5. Acidification, which is used to reduce variability caused by the presence of inorganic carbonate, had a significant effect on δ15N, while having a non-significant effect on the δ13C. This was the case for whole ground fish-fry, which contained 22·6% inorganic carbonates in the form of bones and scales, and for individual fish tissues which contained only very small amounts of inorganic carbonate.
6. White muscle was found to be less variable in δ13C and δ15N than all other tissues, and is probably the best tissue for use in ecological work. Red muscle, which is often closely associated with white muscle, is more variable in δ13C and may constitute a source of significant error in source material identification and dietary overlap.