Polar Biology

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 720–726 | Cite as

Limnocalanus macrurus in the Kara Sea (Arctic Ocean): an opportunistic copepod as evident from distribution and lipid patterns

  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
  • Ingo Fetzer
  • Martin Graeve
  • Gerhard Kattner
Original Paper

Abstract

Limnocalanus macrurus is an important member of the zooplankton communities of the Siberian shelf seas. During the cruise, Boris Petrov 1999, in August/September to the southern Kara Sea and the Ob and Yenisej estuaries, its abundance and vertical distribution were investigated. In adults, salinity tolerance, egg production, feeding and lipid composition were studied. L. macrurus occurred in water with salinities ranging from 1.7 to >33 without clear preference, as revealed from salinity-tolerance experiments. The dominance of adults and their high wax-ester content, as well as the lack of egg production and feeding activity, suggest that the population was in the pre-overwintering condition. Wax esters allow L. macrurus to survive long starvation periods and to reproduce in times of little food availability, but through its potential carnivory, it should be able to replenish its diet by preying on other zooplankton. Morphology and swimming behaviour of L. macrurus resemble the omnivorous copepod Metridia longa, which, however, is mainly found in the open ocean. The overall lipid composition and the mode of lipid storage also point to an omnivorous feeding behaviour. However, the high proportion of the marker fatty acid 16:1(n-7) suggests that L. macrurus strongly exploited the existent phytoplankton bloom, consisting mainly of diatoms. A striking characteristic of its lipids is the high level of the 20:1(n-7) fatty alcohol in addition to the 18:1(n-7) fatty acid and alcohol. It is the first copepod species known to produce such high amounts of 20:1(n-7) alcohol. Since this alcohol and the corresponding fatty acid are not abundant in any prey, this long-chain monounsaturated wax-ester moiety has to be produced de novo. Owing to these particular lipid characteristics in its distribution, feeding, and life-cycle strategy, L. macrurus can be described as a very versatile and opportunistic copepod.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the captain and crew of RV "Akademik Boris Petrov" for support during the cruise. We are grateful to M. Stürcken for lipid analyses, and E. Kolosova for counting zooplankton samples; L. Stephantsev and B. Shmelkov provided CTD data and E.-M. Nöthig information on phytoplankton. H.J.H. and I.F. were supported through the BMBF 03G0539A1, Project Siberian River Runoff (SIRRO).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
    • 1
  • Ingo Fetzer
    • 1
  • Martin Graeve
    • 1
  • Gerhard Kattner
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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