Fatty acids in the marine food chain (38160)

Project Details


Primary production by autotrophic phytoplankton fuels the marine ecosystem and this energy is passed through the food web by trophic interactions. Understanding how energy flows through these interactions is vital for understanding how marine ecosystems function. The efficiency of energy transfer from primary producers to higher trophic levels depends on the efficiency of secondary producers utilizing the new carbon. This crucial link is still poorly understood and most often we observe that secondary production is not simply correlated with phytoplankton biomass. However, reproduction and growth of secondary producers, such as copepods, depend also on food quality.

The goal of this project is to investigate the effect of essential fatty acids on copepod reproduction, growth and survival. Essential fatty acid are the ones the copepod need but has to attain from the food, as it cannot synthesize those de-novo.

The project is based on series of laboratory, field and mesocosm studies with the focus on understanding on how food composition, both chemical composition and type affect growth and mortality all contribution to population dynamics of the copepod species. In addition the project has a strong teaching factor for masters and PhD students in form of advanced summer schools.

The project is coordinated by DTU Aqua.

Research area: Oceanography
Effective start/end date01/01/200431/12/2013