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Fatty acid trophic markers and trophic links among seston, crustacean zooplankton and the siphonophore Nanomia cara in Georges Basin and Oceanographer Canyon (NW Atlantic)
Sergio Rossi, Marsh J. Youngbluth, Charles A. Jacoby, Francesc Pagès and Xènia Garrofé

Fatty acid concentrations expressed as percentages of total fatty acid pools in seston, stage V copepodites of Calanus finmarchicus, adults of the euphausiid Meganyctiphanes norvegica, and the physonect siphonophore Nanomia cara were used to elucidate trophic links in Georges Basin and Oceanographer Canyon in September 2003. Seston at both locations was refractory and comprised mainly of saturated fatty acids. Phytoplankton did not contribute significantly to the fatty acid composition of seston or higher trophic levels. Only four fatty acids, i.e. 14:0, 16:0, 16:1 (n–7) and 18:1 (n–7), were transferred from seston to C. finmarchicus or M. norvegica, which suggested weak trophic interactions. Fatty acids transferred from the two species of crustaceans to N. cara included the same four fatty acids, along with three polyunsaturated fatty acids found in relatively high concentrations in both crustaceans, i.e. 20:3 (n–6), 20:5 (n–3) and 22:6 (n–3). In addition, 18:1 (n–9), which occurred in relatively high concentrations only in M. norvegica, and 18:0 and 18:2 (n–6), which were found in low concentrations in both crustaceans, also appeared to be transferred to N. cara. Overall, fatty acid trophic markers proved useful for identifying trophic links to N. cara.

Keywords: fatty acids, trophic relationships, siphonophora, Gulf of Maine
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 72(2) : 403-416 Back PDF
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