MEPS 310:213-217 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps310213

Evaluation of two underwater biopsy probes for in situ collection of shark tissue samples

William D. Robbins

School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia

ABSTRACT: The design and practicality of underwater biopsy probes was investigated for the in situ collection of shark tissue for molecular analysis. Two probe designs were tested, differing in the structure of their penetrating barrel. The first probe design (Type I) had rearward-facing teeth cut into the barrel, while the second design (Type II) used dental broaches to retain the tissue. Both probe designs successfully retained an average of over 50 mg of skin and muscle tissue, with Type II probes showing a greater consistency in the weight of tissue retained. Type II probes took longer to prepare before each use; however, they are favored for low-abundant species where a higher retention rate of tissues is important. Both types of probe were easily disassembled underwater, allowing the barrel of tissue to be placed into preservative immediately. Underwater biopsy probing is advantageous as it reduces stress and injury to individuals that can be approached by divers. It also removes the difficulties of animal procurement and restraint. For marine species that are difficult to capture or have low population numbers, tissue collection by biopsy probe is a highly desirable method of obtaining samples.

KEY WORDS: Biopsy probe · Underwater tissue collection · Molecular · Shark · Carcharhinidae

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