Tissue-specific turnover and diet-tissue discrimination factors of carbon and nitrogen isotopes of a common forage fish held at two temperatures
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Rationale: The application of stable isotopes to foraging ecology is dependent on understanding life-history and environmental factors unrelated to diet that may influence isotopic composition. Diet-tissue discrimination factors (DTDFs) and turnover rates will increase the accuracy of isotope-based studies. Furthermore, little consideration has been given to the effects of temperature or life-history stage on isotopic ratios despite the prevalence of variation in temperature and growth rates throughout life. Methods: We measured δ13C and δ15N values with an elemental analyzer coupled to a continuous flow isotope ratio mass spectrometer. These values were used to estimate turnover and DTDFs for Emerald Shiners (Notropis atherinoides), a common North American freshwater forage fish. Fish were assigned to a temperature treatment, either 10°C (Low) or 20°C (High), and provided one of three diets (commercial pellet, Artemia salina, or Hemimysis anomala). At regular intervals fish were sampled and the isotopic compositions of whole body and liver tissues were determined. Results: Tissue turnover rates for fish fed Artemia were faster for liver than for whole body, but were also influenced by temperature. Turnover occurred faster at higher temperatures for body and liver δ15N values, but not for δ13C values. The pellet and Hemimysis treatments were in isotopic equilibrium from the start of the experiment and estimated DTDFs based on these treatments were lower than assumed for Δ15N (+0.6 to 2.7‰) and variable, but within expected ranges for Δ13C (−1.9 to +1.5‰). Conclusions: The results for Emerald Shiners differed from commonly made assumptions for applying stable isotopes to ecological questions, possibly related to a bias in the use of juveniles in studies of turnover and DTDFs and assumptions regarding thermal-independence of isotopic relationships. The species-specific DTDF and tissue turnover estimates provided here will inform interpretations of stable isotope data for smaller fish species and improve food-web studies.
Colborne, S. F.; Fisk, A. T.; and Johnson, T. B.. (2017). Tissue-specific turnover and diet-tissue discrimination factors of carbon and nitrogen isotopes of a common forage fish held at two temperatures. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 31 (17), 1405-1414.