, Volume 785, Issue 1, pp 327–335 | Cite as

Development of non-lethal monitoring of stable isotopes in asp (Leuciscus aspius): a comparison of muscle, fin and scale tissues

  • M. Vašek
  • L. Vejřík
  • I. Vejříková
  • M. Šmejkal
  • R. Baran
  • M. Muška
  • J. Kubečka
  • J. Peterka
Primary Research Paper


We explored whether fin clips and scales can be used as potential non-lethal alternatives to muscle tissue for examining the isotopic composition of asp Leuciscus aspius, a locally threatened freshwater species. Dorsal fin clips, scales and muscle plugs were collected from two asp populations and subsequently analysed for nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes. Both fins and scales were consistently depleted in 15N and enriched in 13C relative to muscle. A linear regression found that the isotope values in asp fins and scales were significantly related to those in the muscle tissue. These results indicate that fins and scales have the potential to be a substitute for muscle in stable isotope studies of asp, thus providing a non-destructive sampling method for this species. Nevertheless, to determine reliable conversion factors between tissues, a subset of individuals covering a sufficiently wide range of body sizes may need to be sacrificed for any given population.


Fin clips Fish scales Fractionation Non-lethal sampling Stable isotopes Threatened species 



The authors would like to thank members of the FISHECU team (www.fishecu.cz) for their assistance during field sampling, Kateřina Soukalová for determining the ages of the asps, Tomáš Mrkvička for statistical advice, and Mary J. Morris for checking the English. Two anonymous reviewers provided useful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. The study was financially supported by the Czech Science Foundation (15-01625S), and the Project CEKOPOT (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0204) co-financed by the European Social Fund and the State Budget of the Czech Republic.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Vašek
    • 1
  • L. Vejřík
    • 1
    • 2
  • I. Vejříková
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Šmejkal
    • 1
  • R. Baran
    • 1
  • M. Muška
    • 1
  • J. Kubečka
    • 1
  • J. Peterka
    • 1
  1. 1.Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of SciencesInstitute of HydrobiologyČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

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