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Taxonomic differences in the essential fatty acid composition of groups of freshwater zooplankton relate to reproductive demands and generation time
- SMYNTEK, PETER M., TEECE, MARK A., SCHULZ, KIMBERLY L., STORCH, ADAM J.
- Freshwater biology 2008 v.53 no.9 pp. 1768-1782
- Bythotrephes longimanus, Daphnia, Leptodora kindtii, alpha-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, cell membranes, diet, docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, fatty acid composition, fish, freshwater, growing season, herbivores, lakes, larvae, membrane fluidity, nutritive value, reproduction, zooplankton, Michigan, Ontario
- 1. Marked differences were observed in the total fatty acid concentrations and essential fatty acid (EFA) distributions of co-existing freshwater copepods and cladocerans in four large lake systems (lakes Michigan, Erie, Ontario and Champlain) over two growing seasons. These patterns appeared independent of lake seston EFA composition. 2. Compared to the cladocerans, calanoid and cyclopoid copepods contained significantly higher concentrations of total fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an EFA abundant in fish. Calanoids and cladocerans contained similar levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), but cladocerans showed EPA : DHA ratios consistently greater than those of the available seston food source. Alpha-linolenic acid was most abundant in the herbivorous cladocerans, Daphnia and Holopedium, while the highest concentrations of arachidonic acid were found in the predatory cladocerans, Bythotrephes longimanus and Leptodora kindtii. 3. The distinct EFA accumulation patterns between cladoceran and copepod zooplankton suggest metabolic regulation of certain EFAs to meet the particular physiological demands and ecological strategies of these different zooplankton groups. Cladocerans may accumulate EPA directly from their diet, or through transformation of dietary materials to facilitate rapid somatic growth and enhance reproduction due to their short generation time. In contrast, copepods may retain DHA to increase their cell membrane fluidity in order to remain active over the winter due to their longer generation time and life cycle. 4. Consistent EFA differences between zooplankton groups may have implications regarding the somatic growth and reproductive success of different zooplankton taxa as well as the nutritional value of various zooplankton groups for larval and planktivorous fish.