Lipids and nitrogen isotopes of two deep-water corals from the North-East Atlantic: initial results and implications for their nutrition

Kostas Kiriakoulakis, Elizabeth Fisher, George A Wolff, André Freiwald, Anthony Grehan, J Murray Roberts

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    The lipid and organic nitrogen isotopic (delta N-15) compositions of two common deep-water corals (Lophelia pertusa and Madrepora oculata) collected from selected locations of the NE Atlantic are compared to the composition of suspended particulate organic matter, in order to determine their principle food source. Initial results suggest that they may feed primarily on zooplankton. This is based on the increased abundances of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and alcohols and the different ratios of the polyunsaturated fatty acids, 22:6/20:5 of the corals when compared to those of the suspended particulate organic matter. There is enrichment in L. pertusa of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and of delta N-15 relative to M. oculata. It is unclear whether this reflects different feeding strategies or assimilation/storage efficiencies of zooplankton tissue or different metabolism in the two coral species.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCold-Water Corals and Ecosystems
    EditorsAndré Freiwald, J Murray Roberts
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-540-27673-9
    ISBN (Print)978-3-540-24136-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Publication series

    NameErlangen Earth Conference Series

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