Marine Biology

, 164:3 | Cite as

A year-round study on metabolic enzymes and body composition of the Arctic copepod Calanus glacialis: implications for the timing and intensity of diapause

  • Daniela FreeseEmail author
  • Janne E. Søreide
  • Martin Graeve
  • Barbara NiehoffEmail author
Original paper


Knowledge on the capability of zooplankton to adapt to the rapidly changing environmental conditions in the Arctic is crucial to predict future ecosystem processes. The key species on the Arctic shelf, the calanoid copepod Calanus glacialis, grows and accumulates lipid reserves in spring and summer in surface waters. The winter is spent in dormancy in deeper water layers with low metabolic activity. As timing and intensity of metabolic changes have been poorly investigated, our study aims to characterize the physiology of C. glacialis over an entire year, from July 2012 to July 2013. We followed anabolic and catabolic enzyme activities and the biochemical composition of this species, taking depth-stratified samples once a month in Billefjorden, a high-Arctic sill fjord. A large part of the population had migrated to depths >100 m by July 2012. Only thereafter, anabolic activities decreased slowly, suggesting that low metabolism is related to ceased feeding rather than to endogenous regulation. During overwintering, anabolic enzyme activities were reduced by half as compared to peak activities in spring. The biochemical composition of the copepods changed little from July to December. Then, the lipid catabolic activity increased and the lipid content decreased, likely fuelling moulting and gonad maturation. The protein content did not change significantly during winter, suggesting that proteins are not much catabolized during that time. The relatively high metabolic activity in C. glacialis in winter suggests that this species is not entering a true diapause and should thus be able to respond flexible to changing environmental conditions.


Total Lipid Content Tukey Post Calanoid Copepod Copepodite Stage Metabolic Enzyme Activity 
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.



Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase


Acetyl-coenzyme A


Analysis of variance


Calcium chloride


Copepodite stage IV and V


Citrate synthase


Adult females


Dry mass


5,5′-Dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid)


Enzyme commission number


Ethylenediamineteraacetic acid


Hydrochloric acid


3-Hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase




Coast guard vessels


Malate dehydrogenase


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide


Pyrophosphate reagent


Research vessel


Standard error






The University Centre in Svalbard


Working party 2 plankton sampling net


Working party 3 plankton sampling net



We thank UNIS logistics, and the crew and the scientists of the RV Helmer Hanssen and of the small motorboat Farm for their support during the field campaigns and cruises. We are also very grateful for all the help in field by Maja K. Hatlebakk and Lauris Boissonnot. For analysing the lipid content, we thank Martina Vortkamp. Dr. Mathias Teschke contributed with valuable comments to the analyses of our results. We also thank three anonymous referees for their thorough reviews and helpful comments.


This research was part of the project CLEOPATRA II: Climate effects on food quality and trophic transfer in the Arctic marginal ice zone, funded by the Research Council of Norway (Project ID 216537). Daniela Freese was financed from the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research (POLMAR, Project ID VH-GS-200). Part of the fieldwork was also financed by an Arctic Field Grant to D. Freese (Research Council of Norway; Project ID 227555).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All applicable national and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Polar Biological OceanographyAlfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Chemical EcologyAlfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  3. 3.Arctic BiologyThe University Centre in SvalbardLongyearbyenNorway

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