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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 529:63-74 (2015)  -  DOI:

Uncovering the trophic relationship between Themisto gaudichaudii and Salpa thompsoni in the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone

Svenja Kruse1,*, Evgeny A. Pakhomov1, Brian P. V. Hunt1, Yoshito Chikaraishi2, Nanako O. Ogawa2, Ulrich Bathmann3

1Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
2Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka, 237-0061, Japan
3Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, Seestraße 15, 18119 Rostock-Warnemünde, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Trophic dynamics of 2 abundant macrozooplankton species Salpa thompsoni and Themisto gaudichaudii were studied during the austral summer at 2 locations near the Antarctic Polar Front with contrasting low and high chlorophyll a (chl a) concentrations. Compound-specific stable isotope analysis, complemented by gut content and bulk isotope analyses, were used to investigate trophic interactions between species, and to assess their trophic positions in the pelagic food web. The results of the compound-specific stable isotope analysis placed S. thompsoni at the second trophic level and approx. 1 trophic level below T. gaudichaudii. Two forms of T. gaudichaudii appeared to feed at different trophic levels, with T. gaudichaudii bispinosa feeding at a higher trophic level (~3.3) than T. gaudichaudii compressa (~2.8). Isotope data coupled with gut content analysis indicated a regular consumption of salps in both areas, although a higher contribution of gelatinous prey was encountered in a chl a poor area. The food web baseline values (bulk δ13C) varied regionally, highlighting 2 independent food webs albeit with a similar trophic structure. Overall, our findings suggested that in areas where S. thompsoni is highly abundant, T. gaudichaudii may be a significant predator of this species.

KEY WORDS: Salps · Amphipods · Gut content · Nitrogen isotopic composition · Amino acids · Trophic position

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Cite this article as: Kruse S, Pakhomov EA, Hunt BPV, Chikaraishi Y, Ogawa NO, Bathmann U (2015) Uncovering the trophic relationship between Themisto gaudichaudii and Salpa thompsoni in the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 529:63-74.

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