AB 14:201-206 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00397

Effects of blood anticoagulants on stable isotope values of sea turtle blood tissue

Garrett E. Lemons, Tomoharu Eguchi, Boyd N. Lyon, Robin LeRoux, Jeffrey A. Seminoff*

1NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, California 92037, USA

ABSTRACT: Collecting tissue samples from sea turtles for stable isotope analysis often occurs at remote field sites. For blood tissue, samples are treated with an anticoagulant that allows for later separation of plasma from cellular components. However, the effect of this technique on stable isotope values of sea turtle blood has not been established. We measured the effects of 3 widely used anticoagulants, acid ­citrate dextrose (ACD), sodium heparin (SH) and ­ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), on stable carbon (δ13C) and stable nitrogen (δ15N) values in whole blood, red blood cells, and blood plasma of 11 green turtles Chelonia mydas captured in San Diego Bay, California, USA. Vials containing each of the 3 blood preservatives as well as a vial containing no additive (i.e. control vial) were filled in random order. Blood in the no-additive vial was immediately separated into fractions (e.g. red blood cells, plasma) via centrifugation, whereas blood collected in the treatment vials was chilled and then centrifuged 48 h after collection. We found that, relative to the controls, ACD-preserved whole blood and blood plasma were 13C enriched, EDTA-treated red blood cells and plasma were 15N de­pleted, and SH-treated whole blood was 15N en­riched. Because SH was the only anticoagulant with no measured effect on blood plasma and red blood cells—the most commonly studied blood fractions for sea turtle stable isotope studies—we recommend its exclusive use as a blood anticoagulant for field studies where prompt centri­fugation is not possible.

KEY WORDS: δ13C and δ15N · Carbon · Cheloniidae · Ectotherm · ­Isotope enrichment · Nitrogen · Reptilia

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Cite this article as: Lemons GE, Eguchi T, Lyon BN, LeRoux R, Seminoff JA (2012) Effects of blood anticoagulants on stable isotope values of sea turtle blood tissue. Aquat Biol 14:201-206. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00397

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