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Preservation methods alter stable isotope values in gelatinous zooplankton: implications for interpreting trophic ecology
Fleming, N.E.C.; Houghton, J.D.R.; Magill, C.L.; Harrod, C. (2011). Preservation methods alter stable isotope values in gelatinous zooplankton: implications for interpreting trophic ecology. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(9): 2141-2146. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1714-7
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Fleming, N.E.C.
  • Houghton, J.D.R.
  • Magill, C.L.
  • Harrod, C.

Abstract
    Jellyfish are increasingly topical within studies of marine food webs. Stable isotope analysis represents a valuable technique to unravel the complex trophic role of these long-overlooked species. In other taxa, sample preservation has been shown to alter the isotopic values of species under consideration, potentially leading to misinterpretation of trophic ecology. To identify potential preservation effects in jellyfish, we collected Aurelia aurita from Strangford Lough (54o22'44.73?N, 5o32'53.44?W) during May 2009 and processed them using three different methods prior to isotopic analysis (unpreserved, frozen and preserved in ethanol). A distinct preservation effect was found on d15N values: furthermore, preservation also influenced the positive allometric relationship between individual size and d15N values. Conversely, d13C values remained consistent between the three preservation methods, conflicting with previous findings for other invertebrate, fish and mammalian species. These findings have implications for incorporation of jellyfish into marine food webs and remote sampling regimes where preservation of samples is unavoidable.

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