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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 429:103-109 (2011)  -  DOI:

Ontogenetic diet shift in the euphausiid Euphausia pacifica quantified using stable isotope analysis

Jeong-In Park1, Chang-Keun Kang2, Hae-Lip Suh1,*

1Department of Oceanography, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, South Korea
2School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang 790-784, South Korea
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The euphausiid Euphausia pacifica is an omnivorous species of plankton that has been implicated in important food web processes such as the lengthening of food chains and the restructuring of community dynamics and energy transfer. We used carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) to quantify the ontogenetic diet shift in E. pacifica in the East Sea (Japan Sea or Sea of Japan). Analyses revealed that δ15N values of adults (4.17 ± 0.10‰) were significantly lower than those of juveniles (5.40 ± 0.30‰), reflecting a shift in the diet of E. pacifica adults towards copepod Neocalanus cristatus carcasses, which have been suggested to drift throughout the year in the epipelagic layer of the East Sea. This suggests a trend toward increasing detritivory with ­maturity, which is not consistent with the results of previous conventional approaches to diet analysis in E. pacifica. Our results should be useful to modelers concerned with quantifying the effects of E. pacifica on energy transfer in marine food chains.

KEY WORDS: Euphausia pacifica · Ontogenetic diet shift · Stable isotope analysis · East Sea · Sea of Japan · Trophic level · Copepod carcass · Neocalanus cristatus

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Cite this article as: Park JI, Kang CK, Suh HL­ (2011) Ontogenetic diet shift in the euphausiid Euphausia pacifica quantified using stable isotope analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 429:103-109.

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