Nutrient deficiencies and the restriction of compensatory mechanisms in copepods

Journal article


Burian, Alfred, Grosse, Julia, Winder, Monika, Boschker, Henricus T.S. and Burian, A. 2017. Nutrient deficiencies and the restriction of compensatory mechanisms in copepods. Functional Ecology. 32. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13016
AuthorsBurian, Alfred, Grosse, Julia, Winder, Monika, Boschker, Henricus T.S. and Burian, A.
Abstract

The flexible regulation of feeding behaviour and nutrient metabolism is a prerequisite for consumers to grow and survive under variable food conditions. Thus, it is essential to understand the ecological trade-offs that restrict regulatory mechanisms in consumers to evaluate the consequences of nutrient limitations for trophic interactions. Here, we assessed behavioural and physiological adjustments to nutrient deficiencies in copepods and examined whether energy limitation, food digestibility or co-limitation with a second nutrient restricted compensatory mechanisms. A combination of C-13-labelling and compound-specific stable isotope measurements revealed that copepods compensated nitrogen deficiencies by raising retention efficiencies of amino acids (AA). The costs of higher retention efficiencies were reflected in the doubling of structural fatty acids (FA), probably required for morphological adaptations of the gut. A depletion of highly unsaturated FA in storage lipids and their selective retention suggested that these FA became co-limiting and restricted a further increase in AA retention efficiencies. Copepods feeding on phosphorus-limited algae showed a marked increase in ingestion rates but were not fully able to compensate dietary deficiencies. The increase in ingestion rates was thereby not restricted by higher foraging costs because energy storage in copepods increased. Instead, thicker cell walls of nutrient-limited algae indicated that algal digestion resistance restricted the extent of surplus feeding. The strongly nutrient-specific response of copepods had large implications for recycling rates, growth efficiencies and the potential top-down control at the plant-animal interface. Compensatory mechanisms to mitigate nutrient deficiencies are therefore an essential aspect of trophic interactions and have the potential to alter the structure of food web.

Keywordsamino acid; co-limitation; compound-specific stable isotopes; elemental stoichiometry; fatty acid; food quality; predator–prey interaction; zooplankton
Year2017
JournalFunctional Ecology
Journal citation32
PublisherBritish Ecological Society
ISSN02698463
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13016
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/624302
http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/
hdl:10545/624302
Publication dates14 Nov 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Dec 2019, 11:08
Accepted10 Oct 2017
Series3
Rights

CC0 1.0 Universal

ContributorsStockholm University and Utrecht University
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