University of Tasmania

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Seasonal and interannual variation in the lipid content and composition of Euphausia superba Dana, 1850 (Euphausiacea) samples derived from the Scotia Sea fishery

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 22:18 authored by Hellessey, N, Ericson, JA, Peter Nichols, So KawaguchiSo Kawaguchi, Stephen Nicol, Hoem, N, Patti VirtuePatti Virtue
The Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana, 1850) is an important trophic link between phytoplankton and higher trophic levels. Knowledge of the lipid biochemistry of krill assists in understanding their seasonal biology and predicting their responses to ecological changes. We collected daily samples of krill from a commercial fishing vessel operating in the Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean from 2014 to 2016. We analysed the total lipid content of krill sampled every two weeks and the relative distribution of lipid class levels to examine seasonal trends. Krill total lipid content varied significantly within and between seasons and sexes. An annual sinusoidal trend was seen in total lipid content with the highest values in autumn and the lowest in spring (average 380 and 87 mg/g dry mass, respectively). Total lipids in krill increased during summer, peaking in autumn, with the total lipids in winter individuals decreasing towards spring. The relative distribution of lipid class levels varied between season and year. Levels of triacylglycerol showed the same seasonal trend as total lipid content, whilst phospholipid showed the inverse trend indicating the contrasting roles of these two dominant lipid classes. These data provide high-resolution information on the seasonality of krill lipid content and composition. This information has both ecological and commercial utility. ​


Publication title

Journal of Crustacean Biology










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Crustacean Soc

Place of publication

840 East Mulberry, San Antonio, USA, Tx, 78212

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 The Authors

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems; Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments; Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)