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The effect of ethanol fixation on stable isotope signatures in benthic organisms

  • Yoshino Kenji
    Ariake Sea Research Project, Saga University
  • Amano Yoshimasa
    Ariake Sea Research Project, Saga University Graduate School of Faculty and Engineering, Chiba University
  • Fukumori Kayoko
    Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University
  • Hamaoka Hideki
    Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University
  • Miyasaka Hitoshoi
    Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University
  • Omori Koji
    Center for Marine Environmental Studies, Ehime University

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Abstract

Stable isotope analyses are often used for the estimation of food web structures based on empirical fractionation (i.e., enrichment of carbon isotope signatures at 0–1‰ with one trophic level, and that of nitrogen at 3–4‰). We examined the effect of 80% ethanol fixation on both carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures of six species of macrobenthos samples. The effect of fixation was inconsistent (i.e. both enrichment and depletion occurred). The shift of nitrogen isotope signatures due to fixation ranged from −0.3 to +0.8‰, and the carbon signatures of fixed samples showed enrichment by −0.3 to +1.3‰ depending on the species. These changes would clearly affect estimation of trophic levels and energy flow in food webs. Ethanol fixation may not be a smart choice because of the inconsistency of the effect on isotope signatures. However, if the effect was corrected for each species, ethanol-fixed samples can be practically useful for food web analyses using stable isotopes.

Journal

  • Plankton and Benthos Research

    Plankton and Benthos Research 5 (2), 79-82, 2010

    The Plankton Society of Japan, The Japanese Association of Benthology

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