AB 25:1-6 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00652

NOTE
Lipid extraction in stable isotope analyses of juvenile sea turtle skin and muscle

Thaisa F. Bergamo1,2, Silvina Botta2,3,*, Margareth Copertino1,2 

1Laboratório de Ecologia Vegetal Costeira, Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, CP 474, Rio Grande, RS 96203-900, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-Graduação em Oceanografia Biológica, Instituto de Oceanografia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, CP 474, Rio Grande, RS 96203-900, Brazil
3Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação da Megafauna Marinha, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande - FURG, CP 474, Rio Grande, RS 96203-900, Brazil
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Studies involving various aspects of the biology and ecology of sea turtles have successfully applied stable isotope analysis. In many of these studies, the chemical extraction of 13C-depleted lipids of sea turtle tissues has been used as a standard protocol, often without testing whether the time-consuming lipid removal is required. Furthermore, this chemical procedure may unpredictably modify δ15N values, probably due to the loss of proteins associated with lipid structures, thus reinforcing the need for testing the isotopic consequence of the chemical removal of lipids. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of lipid extraction on skin and muscle C and N isotopic values of juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas. We analyzed paired δ13C and δ15N values from lipid-extracted and non-lipid-extracted samples of skin and muscle of 15 juvenile green turtles. Lipid extraction was performed using a mixture of chloroform and methanol. A significant increase was found in δ13C values after lipid extraction for muscle (~0.5‰), but not for skin. C:N ratios were not correlated with the change in δ13C values in either tissue. δ15N values were not affected by lipid extraction in either tissue. The difference found in δ13C values between control and lipid-extracted muscle samples may be biologically significant. On the other hand, the lipid extraction of skin samples does not appear to be necessary in the case of juvenile green turtles. This procedure needs to be tested in green turtles in other life stages.


KEY WORDS: Green turtle · Chelonia mydas · Stable isotope analysis · Carbon · Nitrogen · δ13C · δ15N · Lipid extraction


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Cite this article as: Bergamo TF, Botta S, Copertino M (2016) Lipid extraction in stable isotope analyses of juvenile sea turtle skin and muscle. Aquat Biol 25:1-6. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00652

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