Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 3 (2015)

Comparison of isotopic turnover dynamics in two different muscles of a coral reef fish during the settlement phase

Laura Gajdzik
Laboratoire de Morphologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, AFFISH Research Centre, Université de Liège , Belgium

Gilles Lepoint
MARE, Laboratoire d’Océanologie, Université de Liège , Belgium

David Lecchini
USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE-UPVD - Laboratoire d’Excellence “CORAIL” , French Polynesia

Bruno Frédérich
Laboratoire de Morphologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, AFFISH Research Centre, Université de Liège , Belgium


The temporal variation in carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions (noted as δ13C and δ15N) was investigated in the convict surgeonfish (Acanthurus triostegus) at Moorea (French Polynesia). Over a period of 24 days, juveniles were reared in aquaria and subjected to two different feeding treatments: granules or algae. The dynamics of δ13C and δ15N in two muscles (the adductor mandibulae complex and the epaxial musculature) having different functions were compared. At the end of experiments, a steady-state isotopic system in each muscle tissue was not reached. Especially for the algal treatment, we found different patterns of variation in isotopic compositions over time between the two muscles. The turnovers of δ13C showed opposite trends for each muscle but differences are mitigated by starvation and by the metamorphosis. Our study highlighted that the metabolism of coral reef fish may be subjected to catabolism or anabolism of non-protein precursors at settlement, inducing variation in isotopic compositions that are not linked to diet change.


Acanthuridae; stable isotopes; development; ontogeny; metamorphosis; starvation; surgeonfish

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