MEPS 536:175-186 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11424

Dietary tracers in Bathyarca glacialis from contrasting trophic regions in the Canadian Arctic

Blandine Gaillard1,*, Tarik Meziane2, Réjean Tremblay1, Philippe Archambault1, Kara K. S. Layton3, André L. Martel4, Frédéric Olivier2

1Institut des Sciences de la Mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
2Unité Mixte de Recherche ‘Biologie des organismes et écosystèmes aquatiques’ (BOREA, UMR 7208), Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement-207; CP53, 61 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
3Centre for Evolutionary Biology, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
4Research and Collections, Canadian Museum of Nature, PO Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6P4, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This study used fatty acid trophic markers (FATMs) to assess carbon sources of the bivalve Bathyarca glacialis and describe the pelagic–benthic coupling in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Four regions characterized by contrasting trophic environments were investigated: Southeastern Beaufort Sea, Victoria Strait, Lancaster Sound and Northern Baffin Bay. Our results suggest that B. glacialis is a non-selective filter feeder, feeding on microalgae, zooplankton, and bacteria. Diet was based mainly on microalgae, especially for coastal populations of the Southeastern Beaufort Sea. However, zooplankton and bacteria contributed more significantly to the diet of B. glacialis in bathyal populations than the coastal populations. Local and seasonal environmental conditions likely explain these differences in diet between populations. Furthermore, non-methylene-interrupted (NMI) fatty acids were present in the polar lipids of B. glacialis, which could be produced de novo when access to essential fatty acids (EFAs), required for maintaining membrane structure and function, is limited. This physiological response could help the bivalve to modulate its membrane fluidity in the face of constraints of the deep-sea environment such as low temperatures, high pressure, and when EFAs are less available in its diet. This bivalve species thus has certain attributes that could help it to cope with expected strong modifications in primary production dynamics due to climate-induced changes in the Arctic marine system.


KEY WORDS: Fatty acid trophic markers · FATMs · Non-methylene-interrupted fatty acid ·∙ Pelagic–benthic coupling · Canadian Arctic Archipelago · Bivalve · Bathyarca glacialis


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Cite this article as: Gaillard B, Meziane T, Tremblay R, Archambault P, Layton KKS, Martel AL, Olivier F (2015) Dietary tracers in Bathyarca glacialis from contrasting trophic regions in the Canadian Arctic. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 536:175-186. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11424

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