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The efficacy of field techniques for obtaining and storing blood samples from fishes

Authors

  • T. D. Clark,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada
    2. Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada
      Tel.: +61 747534431; email: timothy.clark.mail@gmail.com
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    • Present address: Australian Institute of Marine Science, PMB 3, Townsville MC, Qld, 4810 Australia

  • M. R. Donaldson,

    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada
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  • S. M. Drenner,

    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada
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  • S. G. Hinch,

    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada
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  • D. A. Patterson,

    1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6 Canada
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  • J. Hills,

    1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6 Canada
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  • V. Ives,

    1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6 Canada
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  • J. J. Carter,

    1. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Branch, Pacific Region, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6 Canada
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  • S. J. Cooke,

    1. Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6 Canada
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  • A. P. Farrell

    1. Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 Canada
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Tel.: +61 747534431; email: timothy.clark.mail@gmail.com

Abstract

Prompted by the dramatic increase in the use of blood analyses in fisheries research and monitoring, this study investigated the efficacy of common field techniques for sampling and storing blood from fishes. Three questions were addressed: (1) Do blood samples taken via rapid caudal puncture (the ‘grab-and-stab’ technique) yield similar results for live v. sacrificed groups of fishes? (2) Do rapidly obtained caudal blood samples accurately represent blood properties of fishes prior to capture? (3) Does storage of whole blood in an ice slurry for a working day (8·5 h) modify the properties of the plasma? It was shown that haematocrit, plasma ions, metabolites, stress hormones and sex hormones of caudal blood samples were statistically similar when taken from live v. recently sacrificed groups of adult coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch. Moreover, this study confirmed by using paired blood samples from cannulated O. kisutch that blood acquired through the caudal puncture technique (mean ±s.e. 142 ± 26 s after capture) was representative of fish prior to capture. Long-term (8·5 h) cold storage of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka whole blood caused significant decreases in plasma potassium and chloride, and a significant increase in plasma glucose. Previous research has suggested that these changes largely result from net movements of ions and molecules between the plasma and erythrocytes, movements that can occur within minutes of storage. Thus, blood samples from fishes should be centrifuged as quickly as practicable in the field for separation of plasma and erythrocytes to prevent potentially misleading data.

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