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Chemical composition and buoyancy of midwater crustaceans as function of depth of occurrence off Southern California


Water, ash, C, H, N, lipid, carbohydrate, chitin and protein contents were determined for 28 species of midwater crustaceans. Variation of these components as a function of depth of occurrence, relative buouancy and respiratory rate of these species was examined. Vertical distribution data for 10 of the species based on discrete depth crawls is provided. The relative bouyancies of 16 of these species were measured. The caloric contents of 21 species were calculated. Lipid content (percent wet weight) and caloric density increased at intermediate depths, but apparently decreased at the greatest depths; it is suggested that this decrease is related to the relatively large size of these organisms and the energy limiting conditions in the deep-sea. Protein content (percent wet weight) decreases with increasing depth of occurrence, and is apparently related to a substantial fraction of the decrease in respiratory rate with increasing depth of occurrence in these species. Within the range of values examined, relative buoyancy appeas to be independent of metabolic rate. It is, therefore, suggested that the energy involved in maintaining an animal in the water column is generally insignificant compared to its overall activity. Furthermory, advantages of neutral buoyancy other than energy conservation may be more important selective factors for this characteristic.

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Communicated by J. Bunt, Miami

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Childress, J.J., Nygaard, M. Chemical composition and buoyancy of midwater crustaceans as function of depth of occurrence off Southern California. Marine Biology 27, 225–238 (1974).

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  • Lipid
  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein Content
  • Water Column
  • Respiratory Rate