Effect of dietary fatty acids on the body tissues of larval and juvenile cobia and their prey
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Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been used as biomarkers in pelagic ecosystems although previous studies have failed to quantify the timing of conservation of dietary PUFAs in pelagic fishes and invertebrates. Here we investigated the influence of diet upon the timing of conservation of PUFAs throughout multiple trophic exchanges in larval and juvenile cobia (Rachycentron canadum) and their prey. Cobia, rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis), and Artemia (A. franciscana) were fed laboratory processed or natural diets resembling prey and dietary modification of fatty acid signatures was quantified using two-source mixing models. Specimens were collected throughout the experiment to track dietary influences over time. Cobia larvae underwent significant dietary modification of PUFAs after 24 h and conserved > 90% of dietary PUFAs after an average of 6 days. Similar results were identified in juvenile cobia as significant dietary modification of PUFAs took place after 3 days and > 90% were conserved after an average of 12 days. In addition, no significant ontogenetic changes in PUFA signatures were identified in juvenile cobia throughout the 30-day experiment. PUFA signatures in prey items (rotifers and Artemia) underwent significant dietary modification in 24 h, with over 90% incorporation after 5-7 days. Results from this study support the premise that fatty acids are promising dietary indicators and may be useful for future studies examining trophic relationships in marine ecosystems and habitat use of marine fishes. 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY
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Turner, J. P., & Rooker, J. R.
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