Sampling avian adipose tissue:assessing a nondestructive biopsy technique

Owen, Ellie; Daunt, Francis; Wanless, Sarah. 2010 Sampling avian adipose tissue:assessing a nondestructive biopsy technique. Journal of Field Ornithology, 81 (1). 92-98.

Full text not available from this repository.


Adipose tissue samples can provide valuable information about the physiology, foraging ecology, and toxicology of birds. However, despite these varied applications, to date, no procedure for taking adipose samples from live birds has been described in detail, nor assessed for potential adverse effects. We describe a nonlethal method for collecting adipose tissue from adults and chicks of Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), Common Murres (Uria aalge), and Northern Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis), and assess the short- and longer term effects of the procedure. Biopsies were carried out in the field using topical anesthetic and samples were taken from the synsacral region. Only two of 283 birds sampled (0.7%) had too little adipose tissue to be sampled successfully. Thirty-two kittiwakes were recaptured at varying intervals after the procedure (3–50 d) and the biopsy site inspected carefully. No signs of infection were observed and wounds healed completely within 6 d. Compared to birds captured for routine banding, biopsied kittiwakes showed neither greater weight loss nor reduced breeding success in the year of sampling. Similarly, recapture rates of biopsied birds in subsequent years were similar to those of individuals that had been blood sampled or banded. Our results suggest that collecting samples of adipose tissue by nondestructive biopsy has no more effect on birds than taking blood samples via syringe. Thus, we recommend nondestructive adipose tissue sampling via biopsy as an effective alternative to lethal methods in studies of wild birds.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 1 - Observations, Patterns, and Predictions for Biodiversity > BD - 1.2 - Data collection systems to record and assess changes ...
CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > CC01A Detection and Attribution of Change in UK and European Ecosystems > CC01.4 Isle of May Long-Term Study
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISSN: 0273-8570
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 19 Apr 2010 12:41 +0 (UTC)

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

Downloads for past 30 days

Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...