Inter-Research > MEPS > v405 > p71-85  
MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 405:71-85 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08479

Effects of variable oceanographic conditions on forage fish lipid content and fatty acid composition in the northern California Current

Marisa N. C. Litz1,*, Richard D. Brodeur2, Robert L. Emmett2, Selina S. Heppell3, Rosalee S. Rasmussen4, Linda O’Higgins1, Matthew S. Morris5

1Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 Marine Science Dr., Newport, Oregon 97365, USA
2Estuarine and Ocean Ecology Program, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Newport, Oregon 97365, USA
3Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, 104 Nash Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA
4Oregon State University Seafood Research Laboratory, 2001 Marine Dr., Room 253, Astoria, Oregon 97103, USA
5Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Point Adams Research Station, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 520 Heceta Place, Hammond, Oregon 97121, USA

ABSTRACT: Lipids and fatty acids (FA) were investigated in 4 species of forage fish: northern anchovy Engraulis mordax, Pacific sardine Sardinops sagax, Pacific herring Clupea pallasi, and whitebait smelt Allosmerus elongatus, for their ability to serve as biological indicators of ocean conditions in the California Current large marine ecosystem (CCLME). Samples were collected during the oceanographically contrasting years of 2005 and 2006. Upwelling was severely curtailed in the spring and early summer of 2005, leading to delayed biological productivity, whereas upwelling was relatively normal in spring 2006. Principal components analysis described 78% of the variance within the lipid and FA dataset using the first 2 principal components. We found significant intra- and interspecific, interannual, and seasonal differences in lipid and FA profiles using univariate and permutation-based multivariate analysis of variance. Indicator species analysis showed distinct lipid and FA properties associated with each fish species. Using the ratio of docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6n-3) to eicosapentaeonic acid (C20:5n-3), we detected a transition from a diet composed primarily of dinoflagellate origin in early 2005 to a diet resulting from diatom-based productivity by late summer 2006. This shift was due to interannual differences in primary production, which was confirmed through phytoplankton sampling. Our study demonstrates that lipid and FA biomarkers in the forage fish community can provide information on ocean conditions and productivity that affect food web structure in the CCLME.


KEY WORDS: Forage fish · Small coastal pelagics · Lipids · Fatty acids · Bottom-up effects · Warm ocean conditions · EPA · DHA


Full text in pdf format 
Cite this article as: Litz MNC, Brodeur RD, Emmett RL, Heppell SS, Rasmussen RS, O’Higgins L, Morris MS (2010) Effects of variable oceanographic conditions on forage fish lipid content and fatty acid composition in the northern California Current. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 405:71-85. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08479

Export citation
Mail this link - Contents Mailing Lists - RSS
Facebook - - linkedIn