Essential fatty acids and phosphorus in seston from lakes with contrasting terrestrial dissolved organic carbon content

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1. It is often assumed that lakes highly influenced by terrestrial organic matter (TOM) have low zooplankton food quality because of elemental and/or biochemical deficiencies of the major particulate organic carbon pools. We used the biochemical [polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - 20:5 omega 3] and elemental (C : P ratio) composition of particulate matter (PM) as qualitative measures of potential zooplankton food in two categories of lakes of similar primary productivity, but with contrasting TOM influence (clear water versus humic lakes).
2. C : P ratios (atomic ratio) in PM were similar between lake categories and were above 400. The concentration (mu g L-1) and relative content (mu g mg C-1) of EPA, as well as the particulate organic carbon concentration, were higher in the humic lakes than in the clear-water lakes.

3. Our results show high fatty acid quality of PM in the humic lakes. The differences in the biochemical quality of the potential zooplankton food between lake categories can be attributed to the differences in their phytoplankton communities.

4. High biochemical quality of the food can result in high efficiency of energy transfer in the food chain and stimulate production at higher trophic levels, assuming that zooplankton are able to ingest and digest the resource available.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-38
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch