Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 903–910 | Cite as

Contribution of sea ice organic matter in the diet of Antarctic fishes: a diatom-specific highly branched isoprenoid approach

  • A. Goutte
  • Y. Cherel
  • C. Ozouf-Costaz
  • C. Robineau
  • J. Lanshere
  • G. Massé
Original Paper


New sets of diatom-specific biomarkers, highly branched isoprenoids (HBIs), have been recently proposed to trace carbon flow from ice algae and pelagic phytoplankton to higher trophic level organisms. In the Antarctic, diene, a HBI of sea ice origin was more abundant in ice-associated species, while triene, a HBI of phytoplanktonic origin, was more abundant in pelagic species. However, this HBI approach has never been applied on Antarctic benthic species. Here, we analyzed diene and triene in the liver and the muscle of eight Antarctic coastal fish species (108 specimens). HBI lipids were detected in all specimens, confirming the contribution of sea ice and pelagic organic matter in coastal benthic fish species. Moreover, HBI markers were much more concentrated in the liver than in white muscle, and the relative concentrations of diene and triene strongly varied among species, as a probable result of species differences in feeding habits and trophic ecology. Seasonal variations in HBI concentrations were detected during the whole year in white muscle, but not in the liver. These findings are consistent with the well-known spring bloom in November–December, just before the annual ice break up, and the second proliferation of ice algae during the land-fast ice formation, in April–May. Therefore, investigation of HBI lipids in white muscle will likely shed new light on seasonal changes in the contribution of ice algal-derived organic matter in higher trophic level organisms.


Benthic Ice proxy Habitat Pelagic Southern Ocean Sea ice 



We thank all the fieldworkers for sample collection and V. Klein for his excellent technical assistance in lipid purification. This work was funded by the European Research Council (ICEPROXY, Project Number 203441) and was logistically supported by the French Institute Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV Project Number 1010, ICELIPIDS, G. Massé; 1124, REVOLTA, G. Lecointre). We thank Thomas Brown and two reviewers for their useful and constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Goutte
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. Cherel
    • 2
  • C. Ozouf-Costaz
    • 3
  • C. Robineau
    • 1
  • J. Lanshere
    • 1
    • 3
  • G. Massé
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.LOCEAN/IPSLUniversité Pierre et Marie CurieParisFrance
  2. 2.Station d’Ecologie de Chizé-La RochelleUMR 7372 CNRS-Université de la RochelleVilliers en BoisFrance
  3. 3.Museum National d’Histoire NaturelleCNRS UMR 7138Paris Cedex 05France
  4. 4.CNRS and Université Laval, UMI 3376, TakuvikQuebecCanada

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