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The significance of cephalopod beaks in marine ecology studies: Can we use beaks for DNA analyses and mercury contamination assessment?

Xavier, Jose Carlos; Ferreira, Sónia; Tavares, Sílvia; Santos, Nuno; Mieiro, Cláudia Leopoldina; Trathan, Phil N.; Lourenço, Sílvia; Martinho, Filipe; Steinke, Dirk; Seco, José; Pereira, Eduarda; Pardal, Miguel; Cherel, Yves. 2016 The significance of cephalopod beaks in marine ecology studies: Can we use beaks for DNA analyses and mercury contamination assessment? Marine Pollution Bulletin, 103 (1-2). 220-226. 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.016

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This article has been accepted for publication and will appear in a revised form in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, published by Elsevier. Copyright Elsevier.
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Abstract/Summary

Cephalopod beaks found in the diet of predators have been a major source of scientific information. In this study, we evaluated the usefulness of DNA and contaminants analysis (total mercury — T-Hg) in cephalopod beaks in order to assess their applicability as tools in marine ecology studies. We concluded that, when applying DNA techniques to cephalopod beaks from Antarctic squid species, when using flesh attached to those beaks, it was possible to obtain DNA and to successfully identify cephalopod species; DNA was not found on the beaks themselves. This study also showed that it is possible to obtain information on T-Hg concentrations in beaks: the T-Hg concentrations found in the beaks were 6 to 46 times lower than in the flesh of the same cephalopod species. More research on the relationships of mercury concentrations in cephalopod beaks (and other tissues), intra- and inter-specifically, are needed in the future.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.016
Programmes: BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Ecosystems
ISSN: 0025326X
Additional Keywords: squid beaks, toxicology, DNA, mercury levels
Date made live: 05 Jan 2016 13:41 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/512557

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