AB 7:93-105 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00184

UV photoprotectants in arctic zooplankton

Milla Rautio1,2,*, Sylvia Bonilla3, Warwick F. Vincent4

1Department of Environmental Science, 40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland
2Département de sciences fondamentales & Centre for Northern Studies (CEN), Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Québec G7H 2B1, Canada
3Sección Limnología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, 11400-Montevideo, Uruguay
4Département de biologie & Centre for Northern Studies (CEN), Laval University, Québec City, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada

ABSTRACT: High latitude zooplankton must contend with continuous ultraviolet (UV) exposure in summer, increased UVB fluxes as a result of stratospheric ozone depletion and little UV protection from their transparent waters. In the present study, we evaluated the presence and concentration of 4 types of UV-protectants in arctic zooplankton: carotenoids, melanins, scytonemin and mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs). We analysed 12 commonly occurring crustacean species from 27 freshwater bodies in northern Canada and Alaska. Pigments were detected in all species, and most populations had multiple pigments, suggesting a combination of photoprotection strategies, including broadband screening of UV radiation and carotenoid quenching of reactive oxygen species. Scytonemin, a UVA-screening pigment of cyanobacterial origin that has not been previously detected in zooplankton, was found in 2 crustacean species: the cladoceran Daphnia middendorffiana and the fairy shrimp Branchinecta paludosa. MAAs were detected in all populations, providing the first records of high concentrations of these compounds in the genus Daphnia (1 µg mg–1) and in the fairy shrimp Artemiopsis stefanssoni (up to 37 µg mg–1). Concurrent analyses of food sources showed that scytonemin, carotenoids and MAAs in zooplankton originated in phytoplankton or benthic algal mats. Thus, in addition to providing a measure of UV protection, the pigments also indicate zooplankton food sources and potential benthic–pelagic coupling.


KEY WORDS: UV radiation · Carotenoids · MAAs · Scytonemin · Melanins · Arctic · Zooplankton · Ponds


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Cite this article as: Rautio M, Bonilla S, Vincent WF (2009) UV photoprotectants in arctic zooplankton. Aquat Biol 7:93-105. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00184

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