THE SEA ANGEL CLIONE LIMACINA, A MARINE ANIMAL WITH EXTRAORDINARY LIPID BIOCHEMISTRYLipids play a key role in the marine food web due to the transfer of essential compounds and energy from unicellular algae via zooplankton to higher trophic levels. The pteropod Clione limacina occurs especially in higher latitudes and exhibit very exceptional lipids. It is monophagous, feeding exclusive on Limacina helicina, and is able to highly efficient exploit its food resources. Feeding and starvation experiments revealed a very effective metabolism to optimise storage of large amounts of lipids. In addition to triacylglycerols, up to 40% of the total lipids consist of 1-O-alkyldiacylglycerol ethers (DAGE), a very unusual depot lipid in the marine zooplankton. C. limacina has also a unique fatty acid compositions with high percentages of odd-chain length components, accounting for up to one third of total fatty acids. Odd-chain length fatty acids are dominated by the 17:1(n-8) followed by 15:0 and 17:0. Storage lipids are deposited in the digestive gland as well as in sub-integumentary oil droplets and enable the species to survive starvation periods of more than half a year.
Helmholtz Research Programs > MARCOPOLI (2004-2008) > POL5-Autecology of planktonic key species and groups