SS4.07 Lipids/Fatty Acids in Ecological Research
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Time: 2:45:00 PM
Location: Saanich
 
KattnerG, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany, gkattner@awi-bremerhaven.de
Graeve, M, , Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany, mgraeve@awi-bremerhaven.de
Hagen, W, , Marine Zoology, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany, whagen@uni-bremen.de
 
VARIABILITY AND BIOSYNTHESIS OF LIPIDS IN POLAR ZOOPLANKTON AND THEIR ENERGETIC VALUE IN THE ECOSYSTEM
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Lipids of marine zooplankton are characterised by various lipid classes with a wide variety of fatty acids and alcohols. Carnivorous and omnivorous zooplankton species generally synthesize triacylglycerols or wax esters consisting of short chain alcohols (14:0 and 16:0) and fatty acids, the latter mainly originating from dietary input. Herbivorous calanoid copepods usually accumulate large amounts of wax esters. Principal moieties of these lipids are long-chain monounsaturated fatty acids and alcohols with chain lengths of 20 and 22 carbon atoms. Wax ester synthesis yielding these compounds is most pronounced in the Arctic copepod Calanus hyperboreus but is also characteristic of the other dominant Arctic and Antarctic copepod species. In contrast, the Antarctic Calanus propinquus synthesizes triacylglycerols dominated by two monounsaturated fatty acid isomers with 22 carbon atoms. The wax ester molecules of the herbivorous species had the highest energetic content, although triacylglycerols of C. propinquus reached similar energy levels. The lipid-rich zooplankton with its high-energy compounds is an important prerequisite for supporting the vast stocks of marine mammals and birds in polar regions.