Astaxanthin in the calanoid copepod Calanus helgolandicus: dynamics of esterfication and vertical distribution in the German Bight, North Sea.

Sommer, Frank, Agurto, Cristian, Henriksen, Peter and Kioerboe, Thomas (2006) Astaxanthin in the calanoid copepod Calanus helgolandicus: dynamics of esterfication and vertical distribution in the German Bight, North Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 319 . pp. 167-173. DOI 10.3354/meps319167.

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Abstract

Zooplankton synthesise astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment believed to protect against high-energy irradiance, from precursors in their diet. Different patterns of astaxanthin vertical distribution would be expected from the benefits of photoprotection, the costs of visual predation and the availability of food. Despite a highly resolved sampling approach (4 m depth intervals), no clear pattern of vertical distribution or correlation with chlorophyll a concentrations was found for Calanus helgolandicus astaxanthin concentrations in the German Bight. This may be attributable to photochromatic adaptation in phytoplankton, diurnal rhythms of copepod grazing and, particularly, vertical migration. A 2 × 2 factorial (light × food) experiment showed that total astaxanthin concentrations in C. helgolandicus were entirely determined by the dynamics of esterified astaxanthin. As expected, the concentrations of astaxanthin esters decreased in starved individuals in the dark, while the combined presence of food and light resulted in an increase of esterified astaxanthin. Similar levels of esterified astaxanthin were maintained in both starving individuals exposed to light and feeding individuals in the dark. The latter implies that astaxanthin esterification is per se a process independent of light, although light exposure enhances it. It is proposed that the function of astaxanthin esters is to generally improve the antioxidant protection of storage lipids, also in situations where photoprotection is not required.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Plankton; Astaxanthin; Carotenoids; Pigments; Photoprotection; Vertical migration
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps319167
ISSN: 0171-8630
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:52
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2012 15:03
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/250

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