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Relationships between fresh weight, dry weight, ash free dry weight, carbon and nitrogen content for selected vertebrates

Sabine Horn, Camille de la Vega
Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology 2016 v.481 pp. 41-48
Anas penelope, Calidris canutus, Chroicocephalus, Haematopus, Larus, Limosa, Phoca vitulina, biomass, birds, carbon, equations, food webs, models, nitrogen content, predators, North Sea
Top predators are relevant indicators of the ecological status of a system and can have a high impact on food webs. But top predators are difficult to include in network analyses because their biomass in ash free dry weight or carbon content is missing. Regression equations were determined for the relationships between fresh weight and dry weight, ash free dry weight, carbon and nitrogen contents respectively for six of the most abundant bird species in the Wadden Sea (Calidris canutus, Limosa lapponica, Haematopus ostralegus, Chroicocephalus ridibundus, Larus canus, Anas penelope) and harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). The relationships for all species were interpreted as linear through the origin. Carbon content vs. fresh weight ratios for birds ranged from 0.16±0.01 to 0.22±0.02. Carbon content vs. fresh weight ratio was 0.17±0.02 on average for harbor seals. This work highlights that the biomass of top predators was often over- or underestimated in previous studies. The determined conversion factors will be useful for future studies to generate more realistic food web models.