Changes in biomass and elemental composition during early ontogeny of the Antarctic isopod crustacean Ceratoserolis trilobitoides
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- Heilmayer, O., Thatje, S., McClelland, C. et al. Polar Biol (2008) 31: 1325. doi:10.1007/s00300-008-0470-8
Changes in biomass and elemental composition (dry mass, DM; carbon, C; hydrogen, H; nitrogen, N) were studied throughout the early ontogeny in the serolid isopod Ceratoserolis trilobitoides from a population off the South Shetland Islands (62°24.35′S, 61°23.77′W). Specimens of C. trilobitoides were sampled using an Agassiz trawl during the expedition ANT XXIII-8 of RV Polarstern in January 2007. Classification of embryos into six developmental stages followed previous studies. No clear size-dependant fecundity relationship was found in ovigerous C. trilobitoides. Egg volume increased by about 160 and 400% from stage I to IV and stage IV to VI, respectively. DM, C, N, and H continuously decreased throughout the early ontogeny from stage I to VI, but DM showed significant increase on reaching the late-V stage and premanca stages. The C:N ratio remained relatively stable throughout stages I to V, followed by a significant drop from about 6.17 to 5.5 in subsequent stages, indicating depletion of lipid resources of maternal origin. The results coincide with previous studies and indicate a shift from a lipid-based metabolism throughout early embryo stages to a protein-based metabolism in the late-V and premanca stage, which requires external energy supply. Given the steep increase in DM in the final phase of embryo development (late-V stage to premanca) and the need for external food supply to exert growth, the possibility of external food supply or cannibalism in early offspring of C. trilobitoides is discussed.