Direct effects of ambient ammonia on the nitrogen isotope ratios of fish tissues

Onour Moeri, Leonel Sternberg, Lenore Polo Rodicio, Patrick J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We tested the assumption that the nitrogen isotope ratios of fish are solely determined by their diet by exposing two species offish having contrasting nitrogen metabolic profiles to 15N ammonia. Beaugregory damselfish (Stegastes leucostictus) representing ammonotelic species and toadfish (Opsanus beta) representing ureotelic species were exposed to 15N ammonia for a period of 4 weeks, after which muscle and liver tissues were analyzed for 15N abundance and compared to their respective control group. Both species showed significant 15N enrichment when exposed to 15N ammonia, with the ammonotelic fish showing a greater enrichment compared to the ureotelic fish. We propose that the toadfish showed less enrichment in its muscle tissue because its active omithine-urea cycle (O-UC) rapidly sequesters ammonia away from the circulatory system and into liver tissue, thereby preventing any substantial exchange between ammonia and muscle tissue. We propose that no such sequestering occurs in the ammonotelic damselfish because they lack a functional O-UC. These results have important implications for studies using nitrogen isotope ratios to delineate trophic structure in aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume282
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 8 2003

Fingerprint

nitrogen isotope
isotopes
ammonia
Batrachoididae
nitrogen
fish
muscle
Pomacentridae
muscle tissues
urea
cardiovascular system
circulatory system
liver
trophic structure
aquatic ecosystem
tissues
tissue
effect
diet
muscles

Keywords

  • Ammonia
  • Ammonotele
  • Damselfish
  • Nitrogen isotope ratios
  • Toadfish
  • Trophic level
  • Ureotele

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

Direct effects of ambient ammonia on the nitrogen isotope ratios of fish tissues. / Moeri, Onour; Sternberg, Leonel; Rodicio, Lenore Polo; Walsh, Patrick J.

In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 282, No. 1-2, 08.01.2003, p. 61-66.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Moeri, Onour ; Sternberg, Leonel ; Rodicio, Lenore Polo ; Walsh, Patrick J. / Direct effects of ambient ammonia on the nitrogen isotope ratios of fish tissues. In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 2003 ; Vol. 282, No. 1-2. pp. 61-66.
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