Lipids, trophic relationships, and biodiversity in Arctic and Antarctic krill
Environmental seasonality is a critical factor in structuring polar marine ecosystems. The extensive data now available on the lipids of Arctic and Antarctic euphausiids show that all species are characterised by a seasonally high lipid content. and neutral lipids. whether wax esters or triacylglycerols, are primarily accumulated for reproduction. The Arctic Thysanoessa inermis and the Antarctic Euphausia crystallorophias contain high levels of wax esters and higher concentrations of 18:4(n-3) and 20:5(n-3) and a lower ratio of 18:1(n-9)/(n-7) fatty acids in their neutral lipids than the Arctic Thysanoessa raschii and the Antarctic Thysanoessa macrura and Euphausia superba. Large amounts of phytol in the lipids of T. raschii and E. crystallorophias during winter suggest the ingestion of decaying algae originating in sedimenting material or in sea ice. Thysanoessa raschii, T. macrura, and E. superba have a high ratio of 18:1(n-9)/(n-7) fatty acids, indicating animal carnivory. We conclude that T. inermis and E. crystallorophias are true high polar herbivores. while T. raschii. T. macrura. and E. superba are omnivores with a more boreal distribution. The Arctic species Thysanoessa longicaudata and Meganyctiphanes norvegica are carnivores feeding on Calanus, as indicated by high amounts of 20:1(n-9) and 22:1(n-11) fatty acids.