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Fatty acid dynamics during the spring bloom in a High Arctic fjord: importance of abiotic factors versus community changes

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We followed the fatty acid composition of particulate organic matter (POM) in a High Arctic fjord (79°N; Svalbard, Norway) during and after the spring bloom. The content of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) was highest (45% of total fatty acids) at the beginning of the bloom, well before the biomass maximum, and decreased linearly towards the end (30%). During the postbloom period, the concentrations of PUFAs remained stable, between 25% and 30%. Redundancy analysis was used to identify the environmental factors that explained the observed variability in the fatty acid composition of phytoplankton. A particular emphasis was put on the potential influence of high irradiances. During the spring bloom, nutrient availability (Si and N), as well as shifts in phytoplankton community composition and chlorophyll a, were shown to account for much of the pattern in fatty acid composition. During the postbloom period, particularly during periods of stratification, light had a pronounced effect on the fatty acid composition. In general, we found a decrease in the relative amount of PUFAs under high light intensities and nutrient limitation.

Nous avons suivi la composition en acides gras de la matière organique particulaire (POM) dans un fjord du haut-arctique (79°N, Svalbard, Norvège) avant et après la prolifération printanière des algues. La concentration d'acides gras polyinsaturés (PUFA) essentiels est maximale (45 % des acides gras totaux) au début de la période de prolifération, bien avant le maximum de biomasse; elle décline ensuite linéairement jusqu'à la fin (30%). Durant la période qui suit la prolifération, les concentrations de PUFA restent stables, à 25–30 %. Une analyse de redondance permet d'identifier les facteurs du milieu qui expliquent la variabilité observée de la composition en acides gras du phytoplancton. Nous nous intéressons en particulier au rôle potentiel des fortes irradiations. Durant la prolifération printanière, la disponibilité des nutriments (Si et N), de même que les changements de composition de la communauté phytoplanctonique et de la chlorophylle a, expliquent en grande partie les patrons de composition en acides gras. Après la prolifération, surtout durant les périodes de stratification, la lumière a un effet marqué sur la composition en acides gras. En général, il se produit une diminution de la quantité relative de PUFA dans les conditions de fortes intensité lumineuse et de limitation des nutriments.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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