Population dynamics and body composition of the Arctic hyperiid amphipod Themisto libellula in Svalbard fjords
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Population structure, growth and body composition (wet-, dry-, ash weight and total lipid) of the Arctic pelagic amphipod Themisto libellula were studied in four fjords on West Spitsbergen, Svalbard, from July to December 2000 and in April 2002. In one of the fjords, Kongsfjorden, growth of T. libellula was calculated as the change in mean length of the 0+ cohort from July to December. The young were released from the brood pouches in early spring (March–April). Summer growth was 3.5 mm month−1, whereas growth during the autumn was only 0.6 mm month−1. The size frequency distributions indicated a 2–2.5 year life-span. The size structure of the population in Hornsund, the southernmost fjord on Spitsbergen, indicated a delayed time of spawning. The storage of lipids in T. libellula occurred during late summer and towards the winter, when the food items contain the maximum amount of stored lipids.