Journal Article

Decreased astaxanthin at high feeding rates in the calanoid copepod Acartia bifilosa

Claire Holeton, Kristin Lindell, Towe Holmborn, Hedvig Hogfors and Elena Gorokhova

in Journal of Plankton Research

Volume 31, issue 6, pages 661-668
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0142-7873
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1464-3774 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbp016
Decreased astaxanthin at high feeding rates in the calanoid copepod Acartia bifilosa

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In marine food webs, copepods are the major producers of a carotenoid pigment astaxanthin, which is an important antioxidant. The availability of astaxanthin for higher trophic levels can be affected by changes in phytoplankton stocks and copepod feeding; however, the functional relationship between food availability and astaxanthin production is poorly understood. We hypothesized that with a given food type and quality, astaxanthin content in copepods is positively related to feeding and egg production rates. The hypothesis was tested by measuring astaxanthin accumulation in concert with ingestion and egg production rates in the copepod Acartia bifilosa exposed to different algal concentrations (Tetraselmis suecica; 0 to 1200 μg C L−1). Egg production and ingestion rates increased with increasing food availability and reached a plateau at ≥400–600 μg C L−1. In contrast, increasing accumulation of astaxanthin with increasing food availability was observed only at concentrations ≤150 μg C L−1. Contrary to our hypothesis, at 600–1200 μg C L−1 copepods had maximal ingestion and egg production rates, but low astaxanthin contents. It is suggested that this low accumulation of astaxanthin at high food concentrations results from a food-dependant decrease in assimilation efficiency. These findings are important for the understanding of astaxanthin dynamics within marine food webs, where increases in phytoplankton biomass may translate to a trade-off between zooplankton quantity and its nutritional quality for zooplanktivores.

Journal Article.  5265 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Marine and Estuarine Biology ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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