Differences in stable isotope ratios of Dall’s porpoises (Phocoenoides dalli) between coastal and oceanic areas of the North Pacific

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Abstract:

Abstract

Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in the muscle of Dall’s porpoises were measured. Samples were collected from the catches of the hand harpoon fishery, incidental catches of drift net, and scientific research on the use of drift nets. Samples were from the North Pacific, Sea of Japan, Sea of Okhotsk, and Bering Sea. Although no variation in δ15N was observed, δ13C was significantly different between population groups near Japan and the oceanic North Pacific and Bering Sea. The difference may be due not only to local variation in prey species, but also to an overall difference in carbon stable isotope ratios that originate from coastal benthic or oceanic pelagic-based food webs. We differentiated Dall’s porpoise population groups from both areas using carbon stable isotope ratios with an error rate of <5%. Although further study is needed, our results suggest that carbon stable isotope ratios could possibly be an indicator of whether a Dall’s porpoise belongs to a coastal benthic or oceanic pelagic food web.

Keywords: Dall’s porpoise; Phocoenoides dalli; coastal benthic and oceanic pelagic food web; stable isotope ratios; δ13C; δ15N

Document Type: Short Communication

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2419.2010.00547.x

Affiliations: Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Nakano, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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