University Of Tasmania

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Lipid and mercury profiles of 61 mid-trophic species collected off south-eastern Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 05:22 authored by Pethybridge, HR, Daley, R, Patti VirtuePatti Virtue, Butler, ECV, Cossa, D, Nichols, PD
Total mercury (Hg) concentrations and lipid composition data, including fatty acid profiles, for 61 midtrophic species (fish, cephalopods, crustaceans) collected from continental slope waters off south-east Australia were examined. Overall, Hg concentrations were greatest in fish (0.01-0.30 mgg -1 ww) (with highest content found in barracouta (Thyrsites atun) and whiptails (Coelorinchus fasciatus)), compared with cephalopods (0.01 and 0.17 mgg -1 ww) and crustaceans (o0.04 mgg -1 ww). Lipid composition varied between species and within habitat (mesopelagic, bathypelagic and benthic). Mean total lipid content ranged from 0.5 to 13.2% ww, and in most species was dominated by triacylglycerols and phospholipids. In fish and squid, fatty acids were generally dominated by monounsaturated fatty acids, whereas crustaceans were higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Multidimensional scaling analyses separated species into groupings according to their fatty acid composition that could be interpreted with taxonomic, trophic and habitat information. Discriminant function analyses indicated the most influential (predictor) fatty acids for each group. Biochemical profile classifications can be used in wider trophodynamic studies to understand contaminant transfer, trophic relationships and community dynamics in marine environments.


Publication title

Marine and Freshwater Research










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


C S I R O Publishing

Place of publication

150 Oxford St, Po Box 1139, Collingwood, Australia, Victoria, 3066

Rights statement

Copyright © 2010 CSIRO

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)