Seasonal correlations of elemental and ω3 PUFA composition of seston and dominant phytoplankton species in a eutrophic Siberian Reservoir

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The elemental and fatty acid composition of seston was studied for 3 years, from May to October, in a small Reservoir. Under comparatively low C:P ratio, multivariate canonical analysis revealed no straightforward simple correlations between phosphorus and single ω3 PUFA species, but complex significant interaction between elemental composition (stoichiometry) of seston and total sestonic ω3 PUFA as a whole. Since sestonic C, P and N were found to originate mostly from phytoplankton, the contents of particulate elements and PUFA were attributed to single species in periods of their pronounced dominance. Phytoplankton species of genera of Stephanodiscus, Peridinium, Gomphosphaeria, Planktothrix and Anabaena in periods of their pronounced dominance had relatively constant species-specific elemental and PUFA composition. Phytoplankton species significantly differed in their elemental and PUFA composition, as well as in ratios of C:N, N:P, PUFA:P and partly C:P that indicate food quality for zooplankton. Hence, there were no phytoplankton species of clearly high or low nutritional value. All of phytoplankters, or at least detritus, that originated from them, may meet specific elemental and biochemical requirements of specific groups of zooplankton. Dividing phytoplankton on basis of their elemental and biochemical composition, i.e., nutrition quality, into large taxa (cyanobacteria, diatoms, etc.) appeared to be too coarse for assessing nutritional value for zooplankton.

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