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Evidence of abalone (Haliotis rubra) diet from combined fatty acid and stable isotope analysis


Guest, MA and Nichols, P and Frusher, SD and Hirst, AJ, Evidence of abalone (Haliotis rubra) diet from combined fatty acid and stable isotope analysis, Marine Biology, 153, (Number 4) pp. 579-588. ISSN 0025-3162 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00227-007-0831-9


Abalone are common herbivores throughout temperate and tropical waters, and yet the contribution of red and brown macroalgae to the diet of wild abalone remains unclear. In the northern hemisphere, adult abalone are considered to consume predominantly brown algae, but in the southern hemisphere abalone are thought to prefer red algae. Conventional methods such as gut content analysis and feeding trials provide some insight into diet choice, but the associated biases of these techniques create uncertainty surrounding the aforementioned variability in abalone diet. We use combined stable isotope and fatty acid analysis to determine the relative contribution of red algae, brown algae and detritus/microalgae to the diet of wild abalone in Tasmanian waters. Stable isotopes of carbon suggest that brown algae and/detritus are a more important source of carbon than red algae. Fatty acid analysis confirmed the larger contribution of brown algae to the diet of abalone, and also identified the bacterial and diatom component of detritus to be an important contributor to abalone diet. These results show combined use of chemical tracers to be a promising technique for resolving abalone diet, and challenge current perceptions regarding spatial variability in abalone diet choice. © 2007 Springer-Verlag.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Zoology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Guest, MA (Dr Michaela Guest)
UTAS Author:Frusher, SD (Professor Stewart Frusher)
UTAS Author:Hirst, AJ (Dr Alastair Hirst)
ID Code:52411
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:40
Deposited By:TAFI - Marine Research Laboratory
Deposited On:2008-07-03
Last Modified:2009-04-22

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