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|Fatty acid profiling reveals seasonal and spatial shifts in zooplankton diet in a temperate estuary|
|Gonçalves, A.M.M.; Azeiteiro, U.M.; Pardal, M.A.; De Troch, M. (2012). Fatty acid profiling reveals seasonal and spatial shifts in zooplankton diet in a temperate estuary. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 109: 70-80. hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.ecss.2012.05.020|
|In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more|
Fatty acids composition of copepod and cladoceran species and their possible food sources was investigated in the Mondego estuary (southern Europe) in order to explain the seasonal variation of the small copepods Acartia clausi, Acartia tonsa, Copidodiaptomus numidicus, Temora longicornis and the freshwater cladoceran Daphnia longispina. A total of 12 zooplankton species (7 marine, 2 estuarine and 3 freshwater species) were studied. A multivariate analysis revealed a clear seasonal distribution of zooplankton species in terms of fatty acids composition and abundance, with winter and spring zooplankton species showing maximal concentrations and diversity of total fatty acids. These findings underline the role of lipids as storage during the colder seasons in a highly variable environment like an estuary. Estuarine and freshwater species showed a more diverse array of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids rather than marine species, except for Centropages typicus. Fatty acids markers of trophic position indicated the presence of two trophic levels: copepod species were primarily omnivorous, whereas cladocerans showed to be herbivorous. Our results suggest that feeding patterns of plankton change spatially and temporally, reflecting the shifts in dominance between diatoms and flagellates as well as between dinoflagellates/diatoms and small animals.