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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 64(8)

Sample acidification effects on carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of macrofauna from a Zostera noltii bed

Anna-Maria Vafeiadou A C , Helena Adão B , Marleen De Troch A and Tom Moens A

A Ghent University, Marine Biology Section, Department of Biology, Krijgslaan 281/ S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
B University of Évora, School of Sciences and Technology, Biology, CO- CIEMAR c/o NemaLab, Apartado 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal.
C Corresponding author. Email: am.vafeiadou@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research 64(8) 741-745 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF12169
Submitted: 26 June 2012  Accepted: 4 April 2013   Published: 21 June 2013


 
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Abstract

Acidification treatment has been used in most stable isotope studies to eliminate inorganic non-dietary carbon, allowing δ13C measurement of organic carbon needed for trophic studies. Because only limited information about the acidification effects on isotopic ratios exists in the literature, we provide an assessment of such effects for a wide range of benthic macroinvertebrates from estuarine intertidal sediments with sparse Zostera noltii Hornem. vegetation. Our results revealed only few significant δ13C shifts for macrobenthos; however, δ13C decrease after acidification was substantial for several species. We conclude that acidification is not necessary for removing calcium carbonate in a majority of macrobenthos, but we also suggest preliminary testing before deciding it can be omitted. The magnitude of the δ15N shifts was substantial for some species and variability in δ15N values of replicate acidified samples exceeded that of non-acidified samples. Therefore, sample acidification should be avoided for δ15N determination. Moreover, acidification effects vary considerably among species belonging to a single class, rendering generalisations from single-species information potentially spurious.

Additional keywords: decarbonation, inorganic carbon, macrobenthos, sample treatment, seagrass.


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