Multiple Regression Models of δ13C and δ15N for Fish Populations in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

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Dynamic model, Remote sensing, Carbon nitrogen stable isotope, Spatial variation, Isoscape, Continental shelf fish

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Multiple regression models were created to explain spatial and temporal variation in the δ13C and δ15N values of fish populations on the West Florida Shelf (eastern Gulf of Mexico, USA). Extensive trawl surveys from three time periods were used to acquire muscle samples from seven groundfish species. Isotopic variation (δ13Cvar and δ15Nvar) was calculated as the deviation from the isotopic mean of each fish species. Static spatial data and dynamic water quality parameters were used to create models predicting δ13Cvar and δ15Nvar in three fish species that were caught in the summers of 2009 and 2010. Additional data sets were then used to determine the accuracy of the models for predicting isotopic variation (1) in a different time period (fall 2010) and (2) among four entirely different fish species that were collected during summer 2009. The δ15Nvar model was relatively stable and could be applied to different time periods and species with similar accuracy (mean absolute errors 0.31–0.33‰). The δ13Cvar model had a lower predictive capability and mean absolute errors ranged from 0.42 to 0.48‰. δ15N trends are likely linked to gradients in nitrogen fixation and Mississippi River influence on the West Florida Shelf, while δ13C trends may be linked to changes in algal species, photosynthetic fractionation, and abundance of benthic vs. planktonic basal resources. These models of isotopic variability may be useful for future stable isotope investigations of trophic level, basal resource use, and animal migration on the West Florida Shelf.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Continental Shelf Research, v. 84, p. 158-168