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Do pigments reflect the turnover of plant material in food chain studies? Analysis of plant pigments in the intestine of Saduria entomon

Do pigments reflect the turnover of plant material in food chain studies? Analysis of plant pigments in the intestine of Saduria entomon

Marine Ecology Progress Series 81(1): 43-49

Pigments are frequently used as biomarkers to study the fate of primary producers in the food web. We evaluated the effectiveness of pigment analysis in the giant aquatic isopod Saduria entomon, an important link in the food chain of the Baltic Sea. Specimens were collected on a transect across Puck Bay (Gulf of Gdansk, Poland) at stations comprising different sedimentary conditions and varying supply of micro- and macroalgal material. In laboratory experiments S. entomon was fed different kinds of prey. Different marker combinations were found in the intestinal tissue, resulting from predation on herbivorous and carnivorous species. Analyses of field samples revealed that S. entomon, living in the sediment surface, ingests freshly sedimented phytoplankton as well as plant detritus. beta-carotene and the xanthophyll echinenone were found in the carapax and gonads, supporting the view that these substances are assimilated and serve as antioxidant protection of lipids and other macromolecules.

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