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Journal Article

Lipids in selected abyssal benthopelagic animals: links to the epipelagic zone?


Bühring,  Solveig I.
Marine Geochemistry Group, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Bühring, S. I., & Christiansen, B. (2001). Lipids in selected abyssal benthopelagic animals: links to the epipelagic zone? Progress in Oceanography, 50(1-4), 369-382.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-479A-F
A detailed study of the lipids of selected zooplankton species and scavenging amphipods in the near-bottom water layer (15–100 m above bottom, mab) was carried out at the BENGAL site in late summer 1998. Copepoda were the main contributors to the zooplankton, comprising 75% of the total abundance, followed by Ostracoda and Chaetognatha. Calanoid copepods of the family Metridinidae were predominant and accounted for more than 50% of all copepods. Two types of storage lipids were distinguished: triacylglycerols and wax esters. Ostracoda and the polychaete Vanadis sp. stored exclusively triacylglycerols whilst the bulk of the Copepoda accumulated wax esters, with the exception of the family Aetideidae. In the amphipods both lipid classes were found: Eurythenes gryllus stored wax esters and Paralicella spp. and Orchomene sp. triacylglycerols. The fatty acid composition was characterized by a high level of monounsaturated 18:1 (n—9), which is described as characteristic for animals living in the deeper layers of the water column, and to a lesser degree by 16:1 (n—7) and 20:5 (n—3), which are typical components of diatom lipids, and 22:6 (n—3), typical of dinoflagellates. The ratio of 18:1 (n—9):18:1 (n—7) fatty acids was between 5 and 10 in the copepods and indicates a carnivorous/omnivorous feeding behaviour in this group, whereas the higher ratios of 8–18 in the amphipods confirm their necrophagy. The fatty alcohols of the animals storing wax esters were dominated by the monounsaturated isomers 18:1 (n—9) and 18:1 (n—7). The predominance of wax esters as storage lipids in the deep-sea copepods indicates a strong seasonality in the availability of food. This is supported by the high levels of 16:1 (n—7), 20:5 (n—3) and 22:6 (n—3) fatty acids, which point to there being a direct link between the surface primary production and deep-sea copepods, probably via the rapid deposition of phytodetritus.