Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 3, pp 463–471

Longitudinal and vertical trends in stable isotope signatures (δ13C and δ15N) of omnivorous and carnivorous copepods across the South Atlantic Ocean

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-009-1332-9

Cite this article as:
Laakmann, S. & Auel, H. Mar Biol (2010) 157: 463. doi:10.1007/s00227-009-1332-9


Stable isotope (SI) ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) were measured in omnivorous and carnivorous deep-sea copepods of the families Euchaetidae and Aetideidae across the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean to establish their trophic positions. Due to high and variable C/N ratios related to differences in lipid content, δ13C was corrected using a lipid-normalisation model. δ15N signals ranged from 3.0–6.9‰ in mesopelagic species to 7.0–9.5‰ in bathypelagic congeners. Among the carnivorous Paraeuchaeta species, the epi- to mesopelagic species Paraeuchaetaantarctica had lower δ15N values than the mesopelagic P. rasa and bathypelagic P. barbata. The same trend was observed among omnivorous Aetideidae, but was not significant. In the most abundant species P. antarctica, individuals from the western Atlantic had higher δ13C and δ15N values than specimens at the eastern stations. These longitudinal changes in δ13C and δ15N values were attributed to regional differences in hydrography and sea surface temperature (SST), in particular related to a northward extension of the Antarctic Polar Front (APF) at the easternmost stations. The results indicate that even in a mesopelagic carnivorous species, the changes in surface stable isotope signatures are pronounced.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Zoology (FB 2)University of BremenBremenGermany