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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 198:171-179 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/meps198171

Unusual fatty acid composition of storage lipids in the bresilioid shrimp Rimicaris exoculata couples the photic zone with MAR hydrothermal vent sites

David W. Pond1,*, Andrey Gebruk2,3, Eve C. Southward2, Alan J. Southward2, Anthony E. Fallick4, Michael V. Bell5, John R. Sargent5

1Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom
2Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 2PB, United Kingdom
3Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nakhimovsky pr. 36, Moscow 117851, Russia
4Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre, East Kilbride, Glasgow G75 OQF, United Kingdom
5Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: Lipid and stable carbon isotope analyses of Rimicaris exoculata, the dominant bresilioid shrimp found at the MAR (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) vent sites, have indicated that these animals possess a highly unusual storage lipid composition. The dominant neutral lipid classes, triacylglycerols and wax esters, contained very high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA, up to 89% of neutral lipid fatty acids). Gas chromatography isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS) analysis of the PUFA from neutral lipid gave δ13C (v-PDB) values of -17.6 to -27.1”, which is within the range expected for a photosynthetic origin for these compounds. Fatty acid analyses of bacterial/detrital material collected from the vent sites contained only very low amounts of PUFA. It is clear from these findings that R. exoculata has evolved a highly specialized lipid metabolism which allows it to store substantial amounts of PUFA during its early planktotrophic life stages. These PUFA reserves will be subsequently mobilized to enable growth and maturation of the shrimp on return to a suitable vent site and are therefore an important factor allowing R. exoculata to inhabit deep sea vent ecosystems.

KEY WORDS: Hydrothermal vent shrimp · Nutrition · Lipid metabolism · Wax ester · PUFA

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