Varying dependency of Antarctic euphausiids on ice algae- and phytoplankton-derived carbon sources during summer

Hauke.Flores [ at ]


Sea ice algae can constitute an important carbon source for high-Antarctic euphausiids during winter. To quantify the importance of this ‘sympagic carbon’ during summer, the three most abundant Antarctic euphausiids, Euphausia superba, E. crystallorophias, and Thysanoessa macrura, collected off the Filchner Ice Shelf, were analyzed regarding their fatty acid (FA) and stable isotope compositions. Fingerprints of diatom- and dinoflagellate-associated FAs in the euphausiids indicated a mixed carbon source composition for all three species. Bulk and FA-specific carbon stable isotope compositions (δ13C) were used to quantify the contribution of sympagic carbon versus phytoplankton-produced carbon to the euphausiids’ carbon budget, suggesting a lower proportional contribution of sympagic carbon in E. superba (5–18%) compared to E. crystallorophias (16–36%) and T. macrura (15–36%). The latter two species probably received sympagic carbon through heterotrophic prey, a hitherto overlooked source of sympagic carbon for pelagic species. Euphausiids collected close to the surface indicated a higher importance of sympagic carbon to their carbon budget compared to individuals caught at greater depths. Our results imply that, in the southern Weddell Sea, ice algae play a significant, but possibly not critical role as a carbon source for the three euphausiids during summer. Their ability to utilize carbon of different origins implies a certain resilience to environmental change during summer. The winter period, however, remains the critical bottle neck of survival when Antarctic sea ice declines, because during this season of minimal pelagic productivity, ice algae standing stocks constitute the only dependable carbon source.

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DOI 10.1007/s00227-019-3527-z

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Kohlbach, D. , Lange, B. A. , Graeve, M. , Vortkamp, M. and Flores, H. (2019): Varying dependency of Antarctic euphausiids on ice algae- and phytoplankton-derived carbon sources during summer , Marine Biology, 166 (6) . doi: 10.1007/s00227-019-3527-z

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ANT > XXIX > 9

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