Traditional techniques for stable isotope analysis (SIA) generally require sacrificing animals to collect tissue samples; this can be problematic when studying diets of endangered species such as the pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus. Our objectives were to (i) determine if pectoral fin tissue (non-lethal) could be a substitute for muscle tissue (lethal) in SIA of juvenile pallid sturgeon, and (ii) evaluate the influence of preservation techniques on stable isotope values. In the laboratory, individual juvenile pallid sturgeon were held for up to 186 day and fed chironomids, fish, or a commercially available pellet diet. Significant, positive relationships (r² ≥ 0.8) were observed between fin and muscle tissues for both δ15N and δ13C; in all samples isotopes were enriched in fins compared to muscle tissue. Chironomid and fish based diets of juvenile pallid sturgeon were distinguishable for fast growing fish (0.3 mm day−1) using stable δ15N and δ13C isotopes. Frozen and preserved fin tissue δ15N isotopes were strongly related (r2 = 0.89) but δ13C isotopes were weakly related (r2 = 0.16). Therefore, freezing is recommended for preservation of fin clips to avoid the confounding effect of enrichment by ethanol. This study demonstrates the utility of a non-lethal technique to assess time integrated food habits of juvenile pallid sturgeon and should be applicable to other threatened or endangered species.
|Title||Application of non-lethal stable isotope analysis to assess feeding patterns of juvenile pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus: a comparison of tissue types and sample preservation methods|
|Authors||R.T. Andvik, J.A. VanDeHey, M.J. Fincel, William E. French, K.N. Bertrand, Steven R. Chipps, Robert A. Klumb, B. D. S. Graeb|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Applied Ichthyology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Coop Res Unit Leetown|