Fatty acid signature analysis confirms foraging resources of a globally endangered Mediterranean seabird species: calibration test and application to the wild

Käkelä, R., Käkelä, A., Martínez-Abraín, A., Sarzo, B., Louzao, M., Gerique, C., Villuendas, E., Strandberg, U., Furness, R.W. and Oro, D. (2010) Fatty acid signature analysis confirms foraging resources of a globally endangered Mediterranean seabird species: calibration test and application to the wild. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 398, pp. 245-258. (doi:10.3354/meps08291)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps08291

Abstract

Tissue fatty acid signatures (FAS) can complement traditional methods of studying seabird diets. Although plasma lipid FAS are known to indicate dietary changes qualitatively, here we test whether they can be used to determine the proportions of different dietary items in a quantitative manner.2. Captive herring gulls (Larus argentatus) were fed North Atlantic plaice Pleuronectes platessa (demersal species made available to wild seabirds by fisheries) and herring Clupea harengus (pelagic fish often found naturally in their diet) with different mixing ratios (0%, 10%, 20% and 50% herring).3. Major fatty acids did not indicate diet, but several minor components in plasma, for example, 14 : 0, 18 : 3n-3, 18 : 4n-3 and C20-22 monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), showed good correlations with diet composition. Different fatty acids were incorporated from diet into plasma lipids with different calibration coefficients.4. Together with dose-dependent but inefficient (low calibration coefficient) transfer of 22 : 1n-11 (a major fatty acid of herring) to the plasma FAS of the gulls, the percentages of potential chain shortening products of 22 : 1n-11, that is, 20 : 1n-11, 18 : 1n-11 and 16 : 1n-11 increased with increasing proportion of herring in the diet. Notably, the dietary supply of these fatty acids itself did not change. Thus the metabolic products of certain dietary fatty acids can reflect the amount of their dietary precursors in a quantitative way.5. Despite the fact that many major fatty acids in FAS of seabird plasma are greatly modified by endogenous metabolism, several minor components of FAS (in this experiment 14 : 0, branched chain 17 : 0, 18 : 1n-7, 18 : 3n-3, 18 : 4n-3, C20-22 MUFA with their chain shortening products, and 22 : 4n-6) that can be accurately and reliably quantified by gas chromatography, vary proportionally to diet composition, allowing their use for monitoring temporal and spatial differences in seabird diet.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Furness, Professor Bob
Authors: Käkelä, R., Käkelä, A., Martínez-Abraín, A., Sarzo, B., Louzao, M., Gerique, C., Villuendas, E., Strandberg, U., Furness, R.W., and Oro, D.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Marine Ecology Progress Series
ISSN:0171-8630

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
287401Effects of Changes in Fishery Discarding Rates on Seabird Communities (DISCBIRD)Robert FurnessEuropean Commission (EC)Q5RS-2001-00839Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine