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MEPS 398:1-18 (2010)  -  DOI:

Seasonal variation in body composition, metabolic activity, feeding, and growth of adult krill Euphausia superba in the Lazarev Sea

Bettina Meyer1,*, Lutz Auerswald2, Volker Siegel3, Susanne Spahić1, Carsten Pape1, Bettina A. Fach1,6, Mathias Teschke1, Andreas L. Lopata4,7, Veronica Fuentes5,8

1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Scientific Division Polar Biological Oceanography, Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
2Marine & Coastal Management, Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay 8012, Cape Town, South Africa
3Sea Fisheries Institute, Palmaille 9, 22767 Hamburg, Germany
4Allergy and Asthma Group, Division of Immunology, University of Cape Town, 7925 Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa
5Department of Biodiversity and Experimental Biology, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
6Present address: METU Institute of Marine Sciences, Middle East Technical University, PO Box 28, 33731 Erdermli-Mersin, Turkey
7Present address: School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
8Present address: Institut de Ciéncies del Mar (CSIC), Passeig Maritim de la Barcelona 37–49, Spain

ABSTRACT: We investigated physiological parameters (elemental and biochemical composition, metabolic rates, feeding activity and growth) of adult Antarctic krill in the Lazarev Sea in late spring (December), mid autumn (April) and mid winter (July and August) to evaluate proposed hypotheses of overwintering mechanisms. Our major observations are: (1) respiration rates were reduced by 30 to 50% in autumn and winter, compared to values in late spring; (2) feeding activity was reduced by 80 to 86% in autumn and winter, compared to late spring, at similar food concentrations; (3) feeding was omnivorous during winter; (4) with each moult, krill grew by 0.5 to 3.8% in length; (5) body lipids and, to a small extent, body proteins were consumed during winter. Adult Euphausia superba thus adopt metabolic slowdown and omnivorous feeding activity at low rates to survive the winter season in the Lazarev Sea. By mid autumn, metabolic activity is reduced, most likely being influenced by the Antarctic light regime, which is accompanied by a reduction in feeding activity and growth. Although at a low level, the feeding activity during winter seems to provide an important energy input.

KEY WORDS: Antarctic krill · Seasonal condition · Overwintering

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Cite this article as: Meyer B, Auerswald L, Siegel V, Spahić S and others (2010) Seasonal variation in body composition, metabolic activity, feeding, and growth of adult krill Euphausia superba in the Lazarev Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 398:1-18.

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