Origin and fate of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the Kerguelen Islands region (Southern Ocean) in late summer

Type Article
Date 2022-04
Language English
Author(s) Remize Marine1, 2, Planchon Frederic1, Loh Ai Ning2, Grand Fabienne Le1, Bideau Antoine1, Puccinelli Eleonora1, Volety Aswani, Soudant Philippe1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ. Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, UMR 6539 LEMAR, F-29280 Plouzané, France
2 : University of North Carolina Wilmington, Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA
3 : Elon University, 50 Campus Drive, Elon, NC 27244, USA
Source Journal Of Marine Systems (0924-7963) (Elsevier BV), 2022-04 , Vol. 228 , P. 103693 (17p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.jmarsys.2021.103693
WOS© Times Cited 1
Keyword(s) Essential fatty acids, Vertical distribution, Fatty acid export, Phytoplankton diversity, Diatoms, Heterotrophic interactions, Nutritional quality


Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) are molecules produced at the basis of marine food webs and essential for ecosystem functioning. This study reports detailed fatty acid (FA) composition including the two LC-PUFA 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3, in suspended organic matter (SPOM) from the upper 300 m collected in the Kerguelen Island region in the Southern Ocean during the post-bloom period (February–March 2018; project MOBYDICK). FA profiles were largely dominated by PUFA (53–69% of Total Fatty Acid, TFA) regardless of stations and among PUFA, proportions of LC-PUFA were especially high, making up 27–44% of TFA both in the ML and upper mesopelagic. 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 co-occurred in the ML as a result of the post-bloom phytoplankton community showing a mixed composition dominated by small size phytoplankton (prymnesiophytes and prasinophytes) supplying 22:6n-3, and with diatoms in lower proportions supplying 20:5n-3. Elevated levels of LC-PUFA were observed both inside the iron-fertilized area on the Kerguelen Plateau and downstream, and outside in High Nutrient Low Chlorophyll waters located upstream of the Plateau, and appeared unrelated to site. In the upper mesopelagic, both LC-PUFA were maintained at high relative proportions suggesting an efficient and possibly fast vertical transfer from the surface. Transfer with depth seems to proceed via distinct pathways according to LC-PUFA. 20:5n-3 may be exported along with diatoms, presumably in the form of large intact cells, aggregates as well as resting spores. For 22:6n-3, transfer may involve a channeling through the heterotrophic food web resulting in its association with fecal material at depth. Channeling of 22:6n-3 could involve heterotrophic protists such as dinoflagellates and ciliates grazing on small phytoplankton, as well as larger zooplankton such as copepods and salps, possibly feeding on microzooplankton and producing fecal pellets rich in 22:6n-3. According to LC-PUFA content, SPOM present throughout the upper water column (0–300 m) appeared of high nutritional quality both on- and off-plateau, and represented a valuable source of food for secondary consumers and suspension feeders.

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Remize Marine, Planchon Frederic, Loh Ai Ning, Grand Fabienne Le, Bideau Antoine, Puccinelli Eleonora, Volety Aswani, Soudant Philippe (2022). Origin and fate of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the Kerguelen Islands region (Southern Ocean) in late summer. Journal Of Marine Systems, 228, 103693 (17p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2021.103693 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00741/85281/