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Tissue-specific isotope trophic discrimination factors and turnover rates in a marine elasmobranch: empirical and modeling results

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Abstract:

There are very few studies reporting isotopic trophic discrimination factors and turnover rates for marine elasmobranchs. A controlled laboratory experiment was conducted to estimate carbon and nitrogen isotope trophic discrimination factors and isotope turnover rates for blood, liver, muscle, cartilage tissue, and fin samples of neonate to young-of-the-year leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata). Trophic discrimination factors varied (0.13‰–1.98‰ for δ13C and 1.08‰–1.76‰ for δ15N). Tissues reached or were close to isotopic equilibrium to the new diet after about a threefold biomass gain and 192 days. Liver and blood exhibited faster isotope turnover than muscle, cartilage tissue, and fin samples, and carbon isotopes turned over faster than those of nitrogen. Metabolic turnover contributed substantially to isotopic turnover, which differs from most reports for young marine teleosts. We modeled the relationship between muscle turnover rates and shark size by coupling laboratory results with growth rate estimates for natural populations. Model predictions for small, medium, and large wild leopard sharks indicate the time to isotopic equilibrium is from one to several years.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2011-172

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Oceanography, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE) Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada 3918, Zona Playitas, Ensenada, Baja, CA 22860, USA. 2: Department of Aquaculture, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE) Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada 3918, Zona Playitas, Ensenada, Baja, CA 22860, USA.

Publication date: March 5, 2012

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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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