Analysing tropical elasmobranch blood samples in the field: blood stability during storage and validation of the HemoCue (R) haemoglobin analyser

Schwieterman, Gail D., Bouyoucos, Ian A., Potgieter, Kristy, Simpfendorfer, Colin A., Brill, Richard W., and Rummer, Jodie L. (2019) Analysing tropical elasmobranch blood samples in the field: blood stability during storage and validation of the HemoCue (R) haemoglobin analyser. Conservation Physiology, 7 (1).

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Blood samples collected from wild-caught fishes can provide important information regarding the effects of capture (and thus post-release survival) as well as other stressors. Unfortunately, blood samples often cannot be analysed immediately upon sampling, and blood parameters (e.g. blood oxygen levels and acid-base parameters) are known to change with storage duration due to the metabolic activity of the red blood cells. We obtained blood samples from both untreated and stressed individuals of both blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) and sicklefin lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens) to determine the effects of storage duration on blood pH, haematocrit and haemoglobin concentration ([Hb]). We found no significant effects after storage on ice for up to 180 minutes. Moreover, to validate the usability of a HemoCue haemoglobin analyser (a point-of-care device), we compared data from this device to [Hb] determined using the cyanomethaemoglobin method with blood samples from 10 individuals from each of the aforementioned species as well as epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum). Values from the HemoCue consistently overestimated [Hb], and we therefore developed the necessary correction equations. The correction equations were not statistically different among the three elasmobranch species within the biologically relevant range but did differ from published corrections developed using blood from temperate teleost fishes. Although the HemoCue is useful in field situations, development of species-specific calibration equations may be necessary to ensure the reliability of inter-species comparisons of blood [Hb]. Together, these data should increase confidence in haematological stress indicators in elasmobranch fishes, measurements of which are critical for understanding the impact of anthropogenic stressors on these ecologically important species.

Item ID: 62909
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2051-1434
Keywords: haemoglobin concentration, elasmobranch, HemoCue, storage duration, blood, haematocrit
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide Supplemental Fund, James Cook University, Australian Research Council (ARC), L'Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Foundation, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Projects and Grants: NSF DGE-1444317, ARC PDE150101266
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2020 07:33
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310303 Ecological physiology @ 100%
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