, Volume 684, Issue 1, pp 189–214 | Cite as

When season does not matter: summer and winter trophic ecology of Arctic amphipods

  • Joanna LegeżyńskaEmail author
  • Monika Kędra
  • Wojciech Walkusz
Primary Research Paper


Polar marine ecosystems’ functioning is known to be strongly affected by the seasonality of water column production. However, a response of benthic organisms may range from close coupling to total decoupling from seasonal variability of environmental processes, depending on a feeding strategy. In this study, we used a multi-method approach (gut content, lipid and stable isotope analyses) to examine trophic ecology and major food sources of a large set of Arctic sub-littoral amphipods, and to evaluate whether their feeding strategies undergo seasonal changes. The wide range of δ15N values (5.45-12.43‰) indicates that amphipods form a trophic continuum from primary herbivores to carnivores/scavengers. Three main feeding modes, namely scavenging/predatory, deposit-feeding/predatory and phytodetrivory, were distinguished based on the multivariate analysis of whole fatty acid profiles. Total lipid content was low in all species and included primarily short-term energy reserves of triacylglycerols. In general, amphipods feeding habits appeared to be independent of the seasonal phytodetritial pulses. Low reliance on lipid reserves and lack of major changes in the trophic strategies over time suggest that these crustaceans feed continuously, taking advantage of a variety of food sources that are available year-round in shallow polar waters.


Amphipoda Arctic Trophic ecology Seasonality Fatty acids Stable isotopes 



Funding for this study came from European Centre for Arctic Environmental Research (ARCFAC) (Grant: ARCFAC-026129-2009-28) and Polish Ministry of Science (Grants: 1033/ARCFAC/2009/7 and 0252/B/P01/2009/36). This research would not have been possible without the support and great company of Wojtek Moskal, Piotr Bałazy, Marta Głuchowska, Anna Kubiszyn, Piotr Kukliński, Agnieszka Tatarek, Emilia Trudnowska, Józef Wiktor and Agata Zaborska. We also acknowledge two anonymous referees who greatly improved the original version of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna Legeżyńska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Monika Kędra
    • 1
  • Wojciech Walkusz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of OceanologyPolish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and Oceans501 University CrescentWinnipegCanada

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