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Forskningsartikel2016Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Algal blooms increase heterotrophy at the base of boreal lake food webs-evidence from fatty acid biomarkers

Johansson, Karin; Trigal, Cristina; Vrede, Tobias; van Rijswijk, Pieter; Goedkoop, Willem; Johnson, Richard


Physical defenses and grazer avoidance of the bloom-forming microalga Gonyostomum semen may reduce the direct coupling between phytoplankton and higher trophic levels and result in an increased importance of alternative basal food resources such as bacteria and heterotrophic protozoans. To assess the importance of algal and heterotrophic food resources for zooplankton during G. semen blooms and the effects of zooplankton diets on a higher consumer, we analyzed the fatty acid composition of zooplankton and the invertebrate predator Chaoborus flavicans from eight lakes along a gradient in the predominance of G. semen relative to other algae and the duration of G. semen blooms. The proportion of fatty acids of bacterial origin increased significantly along the G. semen gradient in all consumers studied. In addition, the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) decreased in cladocerans. These results suggest that heterotrophic pathways can compensate for a reduced trophic coupling between phytoplankton and filter-feeding zooplankton. The lower PUFA content in cladoceran prey from lakes at the higher end of the G. semen gradient did not affect the PUFA content of the predator C. flavicans, suggesting selective assimilation and retention of PUFA and/or feeding on other, more PUFA-rich prey.

Publicerad i

Limnology and Oceanography
2016, Volym: 61, nummer: 5, sidor: 1563-1573