Iron stable isotope signatures (δ56Fe) in hemolymph (bivalve blood) of the Antarctic bivalve Laternula elliptica were analyzed by Multiple Collector - Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) to test whether the isotopic fingerprint can be tracked back to the predominant sources of the assimilated Fe. An earlier investigation of Fe concentrations in L. elliptica hemolymph suggested that an assimilation of reactive and bioavailable Fe (oxyhydr)oxide particles (i.e. ferrihydrite), precipitated from pore water Fe around the benthic boundary, is responsible for the high Fe concentration in L. elliptica (Poigner et al., 2013b). At two stations in Potter Cove (King George Island, Antarctica) bivalve hemolymph showed mean δ56Fe values of −1.19 ± 0.34‰ and -1.04 ± 0.39‰, respectively, which is between 0.5‰ and 0.85‰ lighter than the pool of easily reducible Fe (oxyhydr)oxides of the surface sediments (−0.3‰ to −0.6‰). This is in agreement with the enrichment of lighter Fe isotopes at higher trophic levels, resulting from the preferential assimilation of light isotopes from nutrition. Nevertheless, δ56Fe hemolymph values from both stations showed a high variability, ranging between −0.21‰ (value close to unaltered/primary Fe(oxyhydr)oxide minerals) and −1.91‰ (typical for pore water Fe or diagenetic Fe precipitates), which we interpret as a “mixed” δ56Fe signature caused by Fe assimilation from different sources with varying Fe contents and δ56Fe values. Furthermore, mass dependent Fe fractionation related to physiological processes within the bivalve cannot be ruled out. This is the first study addressing the potential of Fe isotopes for tracing back food sources of bivalves.
AWI Organizations > Biosciences > Functional Ecology
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES II (2014-2018) > TOPIC 3: The earth system from a polar perspective > WP 3.1: Circumpolar climate variability and global teleconnections at seasonal to orbital time scales