The effect of parasite infection on stable isotope turnover rates of δ15N, δ13C and δ34S in multiple tissues of Eurasian perch Perca fluviatilis

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Abstract Stable isotope analysis of commercially and ecologically important fish can improve under- standing of life-history and trophic ecology. However, accurate interpretation of stable iso- tope values requires knowledge of tissue-specific isotopic turnover that will help to describe differences in the isotopic composition of tissues and diet.Weperformed a diet-switch experiment using captive-reared parasite-free Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and wild caught specimens of the same species, infected with the pike tapeworm Triaenophorus nodulosus living in host liver tissue.Wehypothesize that metabolic processes related to infection status play a major role in isotopic turnover and examined the influence of parasite infection on isotopic turn-over rate of carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N) and sulphur (δ34S) in liver, blood and muscle. The δ15N and δ13C turnovers were fastest in liver tissues, followed by blood and muscle. In infected fish, liver and blood δ15Nand δ13Cturnover rates were sim- ilar. However, in infected fish, liver and blood δ13C turnover was faster than that of δ15N. Moreover, in infected subjects, liver δ15Nand δ13Cturnover rates were three to five times faster than in livers of uninfected subjects (isotopic half-life of ca.3-4 days compared to 16 and 10 days, respectively). Blood δ34S turnover rate were about twice faster in non-infected indi- viduals implying that parasite infection could retard the turnover rate of δ34S and sulphur con- taining amino acids. Slower turnover rate of essential amino acid could probably decrease individual immune function. These indicate potential hidden costs of chronic and persistent infections that may have accumulated adverse effects and might eventually impair life-history fitness. For the first time, we were able to shift the isotope values of parasites encapsulated in the liver by changing the dietary source of the host.Wealso report variability in isotopic turn- over rates between tissues, elements and between infected and parasite-free individuals. These results contribute to our understanding of data obtained from field and commercial hatcheries; and strongly improve the applicability of the stable isotope method in understand- ing life-history and trophic ecology of fish populations.




Yohannes, E., Grimm, C., Rothhaupt, K. O., & Behrmann-Godel, J. (2017). The effect of parasite infection on stable isotope turnover rates of δ15N, δ13C and δ34S in multiple tissues of Eurasian perch Perca fluviatilis. PLoS ONE, 12(1).

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