Polar Biology

, 31:1325 | Cite as

Changes in biomass and elemental composition during early ontogeny of the Antarctic isopod crustacean Ceratoserolis trilobitoides

  • Olaf HeilmayerEmail author
  • Sven Thatje
  • Christine McClelland
  • Kathleen Conlan
  • Thomas Brey
Original Paper


Changes in biomass and elemental composition (dry mass, DM; carbon, C; hydrogen, H; nitrogen, N) were studied throughout the early ontogeny in the serolid isopod Ceratoserolis trilobitoides from a population off the South Shetland Islands (62°24.35′S, 61°23.77′W). Specimens of C. trilobitoides were sampled using an Agassiz trawl during the expedition ANT XXIII-8 of RV Polarstern in January 2007. Classification of embryos into six developmental stages followed previous studies. No clear size-dependant fecundity relationship was found in ovigerous C. trilobitoides. Egg volume increased by about 160 and 400% from stage I to IV and stage IV to VI, respectively. DM, C, N, and H continuously decreased throughout the early ontogeny from stage I to VI, but DM showed significant increase on reaching the late-V stage and premanca stages. The C:N ratio remained relatively stable throughout stages I to V, followed by a significant drop from about 6.17 to 5.5 in subsequent stages, indicating depletion of lipid resources of maternal origin. The results coincide with previous studies and indicate a shift from a lipid-based metabolism throughout early embryo stages to a protein-based metabolism in the late-V and premanca stage, which requires external energy supply. Given the steep increase in DM in the final phase of embryo development (late-V stage to premanca) and the need for external food supply to exert growth, the possibility of external food supply or cannibalism in early offspring of C. trilobitoides is discussed.


Invertebrate reproduction Cold adaptation Serolidae Peracarida 



We would like to thank Christoph Held (AWI, Bremerhaven) for his verification of species identity of the Ceratoserolis specimens used in this study. Constanze von Waldhausen and Sönke Fischer are acknowledged for technical support with CHN measurements. Our thanks are due to the officers and crew of the RV Polarstern as well as to Julian Gutt for organizing the Polarstern Expedition ANT XXIII-8. The manuscript could be improved thanks to valuable comments of Andrew Clarke and an anonymous reviewer. The first author’s work is partly supported by a “Marie Curie Fellowship” from the European Commission under the FP6 (Contract No: MEIF-CT-2006-041913).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olaf Heilmayer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sven Thatje
    • 1
  • Christine McClelland
    • 3
  • Kathleen Conlan
    • 3
  • Thomas Brey
    • 2
  1. 1.National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth ScienceUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Marine Animal EcologyBremerhavenGermany
  3. 3.Canadian Museum of NatureOttawaCanada

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