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Change in stable nitrogen isotope ratio in the muscle tissue of a migratory goby, Rhinogobius sp., in a natural setting

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Time lags associated with changes in stable isotope ratios are essential information for quantitatively analyzing shifts of food habits and habitats. To investigate time lags associated with fish growth in a natural setting, we monitored the change in 15N in the muscle tissue of a fluvial–lacustrine amphidromous goby, Rhinogobius sp. (the orange form), in the Lake Biwa water system. Because 15N is distinct between lacustrine and fluvial ecosystems, the 15N of age-0+ fish drastically decreased after their upstream migration from the lake. About 80% of the change in 15N was attributed to growth. Nitrogen was replaced at the rate of 5–20%·month–1 by metabolic turnover. The half-change period for 15N was estimated as being longer than 1 month with the contribution of growth and metabolic turnover in the field. These results from the field show that growth is primarily responsible for isotopic changes in fish muscle and highlight the need to examine the role of metabolic turnover using slow-growing fish.

L'analyse quantitative des changements dans les habitudes alimentaires et les habitats exige la connaissance des décalages temporels associés aux changements dans les rapports d'isotopes stables. Nous avons suivi le changement de la valeur de 15N dans le tissu musculaire d'un gobie amphidrome fluvial–lacustre, Rhinogobius sp. (forme orangée) dans le système hydrographique du lac Biwa pour étudier les décalages associés à la croissance des poissons en milieu naturel. Parce que les valeurs de 15N varient entre les écosystèmes lacustre et fluvial, la valeur de 15N des poissons d'âge 0+ a baissé de façon notoire après leur émigration du lac. Environ 80 % du changement de la valeur de 15N a pu être attribué à la croissance. De 5 à 20 % de l'azote était remplacé par le renouvellement métabolique chaque mois. La période de demi-changement de 15N a été estimée à plus d'un mois, compte tenu des contributions de la croissance et du renouvellement métabolique en nature. Ces résultats en nature indiquent que la croissance est la principale cause des changements isotopiques dans le muscle du poisson et ils mettent en relief la nécessité d'examiner le rôle du renouvellement métabolique à l'aide de poissons à croissance lente.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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