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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018 / Review: the energetic value of zooplankton and nekton species of the Southern Ocean

F. Schaafsma, Y. Cherel, H. Flores, J. van Franeker, M.-A. Lea, B. Raymond, and Anton Van De Putte (2018)

Review: the energetic value of zooplankton and nekton species of the Southern Ocean

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 165(8).

Understanding the energy flux through food webs is important for estimating the capacity of marine ecosystems to support stocks of living resources. The energy density of species involved in trophic energy transfer has been measured in a large number of small studies, scattered over a 40-year publication record. Here, we reviewed energy density records of Southern Ocean zooplankton, nekton and several benthic taxa, including previously unpublished data. Comparing measured taxa, energy densities were highest in myctophid fishes (ranging from 17.1 to 39.3 kJ g−1 DW), intermediate in crustaceans (7.1 to 25.3 kJ g−1 DW), squid (16.2 to 24.0 kJ g−1 DW) and other fish families (14.8 to 29.9 kJ g−1 DW), and lowest in jelly fish (10.8 to 18.0 kJ g−1 DW), polychaetes (9.2 to 14.2 kJ g−1 DW) and chaetognaths (5.0–11.7 kJ g−1 DW). Data reveals differences in energy density within and between species related to size, age and other life cycle parameters. Important taxa in Antarctic food webs, such as copepods, squid and small euphausiids, remain under-sampled. The variability in energy density of Electrona antarctica was likely regional rather than seasonal, although for many species with limited data it remains difficult to disentangle regional and seasonal variability. Models are provided to estimate energy density more quickly using a species’ physical parameters. It will become increasingly important to close knowledge gaps to improve the ability of bioenergetic and food web models to predict changes in the capacity of Antarctic ecosystems to support marine life. © 2018, The Author(s).

seasonal variation, marine ecosystem, crustacean, Electrona antarctica, zooplankton, Chaetognatha, fish, life cycle, Crustacea, Cephalopoda, Copepoda, Antarctica, energy flux, food web, Myctophidae, Pisces, Southern Ocean, Euphausiidae, Polychaeta, nekton
Funding text 1: Funding Antarctic research by Wageningen Marine Research is commissioned by the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) under its Statutory Research Task Nature & Environment WOT-04-009-047.04. The Netherlands Polar Programme (NPP), managed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) funded this research under project nr. ALW 866.13.009. This study was furthermore conducted under the Helmholtz Association Research Programme Polar regions And Coasts in the changing Earth System II (PACES II), Topic 1, WP 5 as part of the Helmholtz Association Young Investigators Group Iceflux: Ice-ecosystem carbon flux in polar oceans (VH-NG-800). Logistics for Antarctic field work on Polarstern were provided under expedition Grants no: AWI-PS81_01 (WISKY) and AWI-PS89_02. This is a contribution of the SCAR Antarctic Biodiversity Platform (, funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO, contract n°FR/36/AN1/ AntABIS).
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00227-018-3386-z
  • ISSN: 00253162 (ISSN)

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