Connelly, T.L.; Deibel, D.; Parrish, C.C. (2012). Elemental composition, total lipid content, and lipid class proportions in zooplankton from the benthic boundary layer of the Beaufort Sea shelf (Canadian arctic). Polar Biology. 35 (6) 941-957.
Biochemical analyses such as lipid class and elemental composition can inform us about a species' role in community energetics and nutrient cycling. The accumulation of lipid-rich energy stores affects the elemental composition and stoichiometry of animal tissues, and this relationship is especially relevant to zooplankton at higher latitudes due to increased seasonal lipid storage. However, due to sampling difficulties, the elemental composition and energy storage capabilities of polar, benthic boundary layer zooplankton are poorly known. We determined elemental and lipid class compositions for 26 taxa of benthic boundary layer zooplankton from the Beaufort Sea shelf. Elemental composition as a percentage of dry weight ranged 21-56% for carbon (C), 4-11% for nitrogen (N), and 0.1-1.1% for phosphorus (P) across all taxa. C concentration and C:N were positively correlated with the storage lipids triacylglycerols (TG) and wax esters/steryl esters (WE/SE) and negatively correlated with membrane lipids (phospholipids and sterols). Most taxa had high levels of storage lipids, generally TG. High levels of WE/SE were found in the copepod Calanus hyperboreus (> 90% of total lipid) and the chaetognath Eukrohnia hamata (72%). In contrast, the chaetognath Parasagitta elegans had only minor proportions of both TG and WE/SE. The high levels of storage lipids in most taxa indicate that feeding behavior of benthic boundary layer zooplankton on the Beaufort Sea shelf is tightly linked with seasonal pulses of epipelagic production. This is the first report on the biochemical composition of most of the amphipod and mysid taxa presented here.