Impact of preservation techniques on pteropod shell condition
Pteropods have been a key focus of ocean acidification studies during the last decade due to their fragile aragonite shells and key role they play in polar ecosystems. Pteropods collected at sea are typically preserved before analysis at onshore laboratories. Despite the importance placed on pteropods as a sentinel for the impact of ocean acidification on marine calcifiers, there has never been a systematic study assessing how different preservation techniques affect the condition of pteropod shells. In this study we perform an experiment to assess the impact of six preservation techniques on the shell condition of Limacina retroversa pteropods. Using five shell condition-assessment methods, we find shells that were air dried were the least altered relative to the time of collection. Of the solution-based preservation techniques, shells were least altered when preserved in 70% buffered ethanol and most altered in a solution of sodium chloride buffered formalin. Our results have implications for the interpretation of pteropod shell condition in samples which have been stored in solution, and provide guidelines for the preservation of future pteropod collections.
Authors: Oakes, Rosie L., Peck, Victoria L., Manno, Clara, Bralower, Timothy J.