Size-based variation in intertissue comparisons of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures of bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas) and tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) Academic Article uri icon


  • Stable isotopes are important tools for understanding the trophic roles of elasmobranchs. However, whether different tissues provide consistent stable isotope values within an individual are largely unknown. To address this, the relationships among carbon and nitrogen isotope values were quantified for blood, muscle, and fin from juvenile bull sharks ( Carcharhinus leucas ) and blood and fin from large tiger sharks ( Galeocerdo cuvier ) collected in two different ecosystems. We also investigated the relationship between shark size and the magnitude of differences in isotopic values between tissues. Isotope values were significantly positively correlated for all paired tissue comparisons, but R2 values were much higher for 13C than for 15N. Paired differences between isotopic values of tissues were relatively small but varied significantly with shark total length, suggesting that shark size can be an important factor influencing the magnitude of differences in isotope values of different tissues. For studies of juvenile sharks, care should be taken in using slow turnover tissues like muscle and fin, because they may retain a maternal signature for an extended time. Although correlations were relatively strong, results suggest that correction factors should be generated for the desired study species and may only allow coarse-scale comparisons between studies using different tissue types.

published proceedings

  • Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

author list (cited authors)

  • Matich, P., Heithaus, M. R., & Layman, C. A.

citation count

  • 60

complete list of authors

  • Matich, Philip||Heithaus, Michael R||Layman, Craig A

editor list (cited editors)

  • Campana, S.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010 11:11 AM