Food quality controls egg quality of the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha: The role of fatty acids

Wacker, Alexander, Eric von Elert

Limnol. Oceanogr., 49(5), 2004, 1794-1801 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2004.49.5.1794

ABSTRACT: We investigated the investment of adult Dreissena polymorpha to the eggs by sampling mussels monthly from 4- and 15-m water depth. The fatty acid composition of eggs differed significantly between depths and over time. To assess whether temperature and food conditions led to the differences observed for mussels sampled from the two depths, mussels were reared in the laboratory under two different 3-month temperature regimes, simulating the temperature of the lake at 4- and 15-m depth. Possible effects of food quality were tested in each simulation using four diets differing in fatty acid composition: Cryptomonas erosa, Nannochloropsis limnetica [rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and long-chained PUFAs (>C18)], Scenedesmus obliquus, and the cyanobacterium Aphanothece sp. (deficient in long-chained PUFAs). In newly released eggs, specific (n-3) and (n-6) long-chained PUFAs increased when these fatty acids were available in the natural seston or in the laboratory diets. Mussels fed organisms deficient in long-chained PUFAs were still able to allocate arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid into eggs, which suggests that minimum levels of particular fatty acids were maintained in eggs by transfer from internal reserves of the female mussels to oocytes. In contrast to the diet, there were no effects of the temperature on the fatty acid composition of eggs.

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