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Origins of carbon sustaining the growth of whitefish Coregonus lavaretus early larval stages in Lake Annecy: insights from fatty-acid biomarkers

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The hypothesis that diatom carbon (C) produced during the spring peak supported spring zooplankton production and, ultimately, the growth of Coregonus lavaretus early larval stages from March to May 2006 in Lake Annecy, France, was tested using gut content analyses and fatty acid biomarkers. Gut content results showed that C. lavaretus larvae from stages 1 to 4 preferentially fed on copepods with Daphnia sp. only a minor proportion of larval diet. The levels of diatom-marker fatty acids (C16:1n-7 and C20:5n-3) were high in Daphnia sp., but lower in both copepods and C. lavaretus larvae from stages 0 to 4. These results indicated that the spring diatom biomass was actually grazed by Daphnia sp., but, contrary to what was expected, the spring bloom was not the only C source supporting copepods secondary production and, consequently, the growth of C. lavaretus early larval stages. In contrast, levels of terrestrial fatty acid marker (C24:0) were low in Daphnia sp. but high in copepods and C. lavaretus larvae, indicating a significant contribution of terrestrial carbon to copepods and, ultimately, to the growth of C. lavaretus early larval stages.
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Keywords: Daphnia; copepods; diatoms; food web; lake; terrestrial carbon

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Universit√© Blaise Pascal, 34, avenue Carnot - BP 185, 63006 Clermont-Ferrand Cedex, France 2: UMR CARRTEL INRA, Station d’Hydrobiologie Lacustre, 75 avenue de Corzent, BP 511, 74203 Thonon les Bains cedex, France

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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