Lipids and trophic linkages in harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) from the eastern Barents Sea
AbstractFatty acid profiles and lipid biomarkers from 20 harp seals were used to investigate the foraging ecology of harp seals and the transfer of energy through the Franz Josef Land-Novaya Zemlya food chain. High levels of the Calanus fatty acid trophic markers (FATMs) 20:1(n-9) (mean 14.6%) and 22:1(n-11) (mean 6.5%), together with the typical dinoflagellate FATMs 22:6(n-3) (mean 6.5%) and C18PUFA (mean 5.5%), were found in blubber samples. Based on the analyses of the fatty acid profiles separated by principal component analysis, we confirmed the importance of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) and the pelagic amphipod Themisto libellula in the diet of harp seal. The high levels of 22:6(n-3), C18PUFA and C20 and C22 FATMs show that the harp seal lipids mainly originate from dinoflagellates consumed by Calanus copepods.
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