MEPS 579:233-238 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12264

NOTE
Low lipid and urea effects and inter-tissue comparisons of stable isotope signatures in three nearshore elasmobranchs

Oliver N. Shipley1,2,*, Karen J. Murchie3, Michael G. Frisk1, Edward J. Brooks2, Owen R. O’Shea2, Michael Power

1School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11790, USA
2Shark Research and Conservation Program, The Cape Eleuthera Institute, Eleuthera, The Bahamas
3Daniel P. Haerther Center for Conservation and Research, John G. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
4Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Stable isotope analysis of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) is a common tool used to examine aspects of elasmobranch biology and ecology; however, accurate ecological interpretation of stable isotope values requires knowledge of lipid and urea dynamics, and the variable turnover rates of different tissue types. Here we examined lipid and urea dynamics and inter-tissue comparisons of stable isotope values in 3 nearshore elasmobranch species, the nurse shark Ginglymostoma cirratum, southern stingray Hypanus americanus, and the Atlantic chupare stingray Styracura schmardae. Chemical extraction had no significant effect on δ13C and δ15N values of nurse shark muscle, and southern and chupare stingray fin, suggesting negligible lipid and urea components associated with these tissues. For nurse sharks, δ13C values were higher in muscle compared to dermis and δ15N was lower. The causes of this variability are underpinned by the metabolic variability between tissue types, the physiological function of which remains undetermined. Finally, we observed a significant relationship between muscle and dermis δ13C and δ15N, providing the first inter-tissue isotopic correction for nurse sharks. The results provide insight into lipid and urea dynamics, and aid sample preparation and ecological interpretation of stable isotope data in these taxa.


KEY WORDS: Stable isotope analysis · δ13C · δ15N · Elasmobranch · Shark · Stingray · Polar compounds


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Cite this article as: Shipley ON, Murchie KJ, Frisk MG, Brooks EJ, O’Shea OR, Power M (2017) Low lipid and urea effects and inter-tissue comparisons of stable isotope signatures in three nearshore elasmobranchs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 579:233-238. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12264

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