We tested whether extracting lipids reduced confounding variation in ??13C and ??15N values by analyzing paired lipid-extracted (LE) and non-lipid-extracted (NLE) samples of bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus (L., 1766)) whole eggs, muscle tissue from nine seabird and one terrestrial bird species, muscle tissue from four marine fish species, and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis L., 1758) collected from the Aleutian archipelago, Alaska. Lipid extraction significantly increased ??13C by an average of 2.0??? in whole eggs, 0.8??? in avian muscle, 0.2??? in fish muscle, and 0.6??? in blue mussels. Lower ??13C values in NLE samples covaried positively with lipid content across all sample types. Lower ??13C values in NLE samples were not correlated with lipid content within bald eagle eggs and blue mussels, but covaried positively with percent lipid in avian and fish muscles. Neither lipid extraction nor percent lipid significantly changed ??15N values for any sample type. Lower ??13C values in most NLE avian and fish muscle tissues should not confound interpretation of pelagic versus nearshore sources of primary production, but lipid extraction may be necessary when highly precise estimates of ??13C are needed. Lipid extraction may not be necessary when only ??15N is of interest. ?? 2007 NRC.
Additional Publication Details
Effect of lipid extraction on analyses of stable carbon and stable nitrogen isotopes in coastal organisms of the Aleutian archipelago