Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 1, pp 15–24 | Cite as

Salps in the Lazarev Sea, Southern Ocean: II. Biochemical composition and potential prey value

  • C. D. DubischarEmail author
  • E. A. Pakhomov
  • L. von Harbou
  • B. P. V. Hunt
  • U. V. Bathmann
Original Paper


Two species of salps, Salpa thompsoni and Ihlea racovitzai, were sampled during three cruises to the Lazarev Sea, Southern Ocean, in summer (December–January) 2005/2006, Autumn (April–May) 2004 and Winter (July–August) 2006. Dry weight, carbon, nitrogen, protein, lipid and carbohydrate contents were measured to characterize the potential value of salps as a food source for predators in the Antarctic ecosystem. Biochemical composition measurements showed that despite having a high percentage of water (~94% of wet weight), both species had relatively high carbon and protein contents in their remaining dry weight (DW). In particular I. racovitzai showed high carbon (up to 22% of DW) and protein (up to 32% of DW) values during all seasons sampled, compared to lower values for S. thompsoni (carbon content only about 15% of the DW, protein content about 10% of the DW). At the same time, carbohydrates (CH) and lipids (Lip) only accounted for a small portion of salp DW in both species (1.4% CH and 3.6% Lip for I. racovitzai; 2.1% CH and 2.9% Lip for S. thompsoni). There was little variability in the biochemical composition of either salp species between the seasons sampled. Both biochemical composition and life cycle characteristics suggest that Antarctic salps, especially I. racovitzai, may be important prey items for both cold and warm-blooded predators in an environment where food is often very scarce.


Southern Ocean Prey Item Biochemical Composition Mouth Area Antarctic Krill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the captains, the officers and the crew of the RV Polarstern for their skilful help during all three cruises. We also are very grateful to Matthias Brenner, John Kitchener, Leigh Gurney, Gesine Schmidt and Volker Siegel for invaluable assistance in sample collection. Special thanks go to Carsten Pape for his help with the carbohydrate measurements and to Stefanie Meyer and Leona Schulze for their help with the biochemical analyses. Additionally, we want to thank the assistant editor and two anonymous reviewers for their very valuable and helpful comments on the manuscript. The surveys were financially supported by the German LAKRIS Project (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF Forschungsvorhaben 03F0406A/B). The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation supported a Research stay of EAP at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI). Parts of this study were financially supported by a grant of the German National Science Foundation (DFG, grant number BA-1508/5-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. D. Dubischar
    • 1
    Email author
  • E. A. Pakhomov
    • 2
  • L. von Harbou
    • 1
  • B. P. V. Hunt
    • 2
  • U. V. Bathmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Earth and Ocean SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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