Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 6, pp 1417–1429 | Cite as

Trophodynamics and seasonal cycle of the copepod Pseudocalanus acuspes in the Central Baltic Sea (Bornholm Basin): evidence from lipid composition

  • Janna Peters
  • Jasmin Renz
  • Justus van Beusekom
  • Maarten Boersma
  • Wilhelm Hagen
Research Article


Seasonal lipid dynamics of the copepod Pseudocalanus acuspes were studied in the Bornholm Basin (Central Baltic Sea) on a monthly basis from March 2002 until March 2003 and were interpreted in light of life cycle strategies and diet selection. The individual total lipid content of females ranged from 0.9 to 1.8 μg, with relative wax ester content reaching a significant maximum in May (44% of total lipids) and minimum (17% of total lipids) in April and November. Significant changes in size, lipid content, lipid classes and fatty acid composition of structural as well as storage lipids suggested five characteristic seasonal phases that were induced by different feeding histories and environmental conditions. Storage lipids were characterized by 18:1(n−9) as major component, which ranged between 44% of total fatty acids in June and 23% in February. The strong coherence between 18:1(n−9) in the seston lipids and the occurrence of ciliates emphasized the importance of ciliates in the diet of P. acuspes. As indicated by changes in the amounts of fatty acid markers, other food sources varied over the year, suggesting an opportunistic feeding behavior. The spring period was characterized by an increase in typical diatom and dinoflagellate markers, whereas other sources, potentially cyanobacteria, became more important during summer. The life cycle strategy is discussed with respect to extant adaptations to high latitudinal habitats.


Storage Lipid Copepodite Stage Polar Lipid Fraction Prosoma Length Bornholm Basin 



The study was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research within the GLOBEC GERMANY project (03F0320C). We wish to thank the crews and scientific parties of the RV Alkor, Heincke and A.v.Humboldt for the excellent support during the field phase. We also thank M. Graeve for GC-MS measurements. The critical revision and improvement of the manuscript by H. Auel, D. Stübing and three anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janna Peters
    • 1
  • Jasmin Renz
    • 2
  • Justus van Beusekom
    • 2
  • Maarten Boersma
    • 2
  • Wilhelm Hagen
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine ZoologyUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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