Live controls for radioisotope tracer food chain experiments using meiofauna
Montagna, Paul A.
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malin poisoned samples are inadequate for measuring the amount of label to be subtracted as control values for certain food chain studies that employ radioactive tracers. In some studies, tracer is added just before incubation to label 'food' during the feeding study. Commonly, parallel, poisoned incubations are used to distinguish between biotic and abiotic label incorporation. But, a poisoned control does not account for label that could enter a consumer via active transport, epicuticular microfloral uptake, or grazing on labeled, non-food particles. Experiments were performed to test if label uptake is greater in live non-grazing than dead organisms. Marine benthic meiofauna incoporate from 3 to 133 times more tracer when they are alive and not grazing than when they are formalin killed. These results suggest that control experiments with live animals be performed to measure all processes by which label can enter consumers in food chain experiments.