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Data from: Regulation of fatty acid composition related to ontogenetic changes and niche differentiation of a common aquatic consumer


Chaguaceda, Fernando; Kristin, Scharnweber; Eklöv, Peter (2020), Data from: Regulation of fatty acid composition related to ontogenetic changes and niche differentiation of a common aquatic consumer, Dryad, Dataset,


Fatty acids (FAs) are key nutrients for fitness which take part in multiple physiological processes over the ontogeny of organisms. Yet, we lack evidence on how FA nutrition mediates life-history trade-offs and ontogenetic niche shifts in natural populations. In a field study, we analyzed ontogenetic changes in the FAs of Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.), a widespread fish that goes through ontogenetic niche shifts and can have high individual niche specialization. Diet explained most of the variation in the FA composition of perch dorsal muscle over early ontogeny (28%), while the total length explained 23%, suggesting that perch significantly regulated FA composition over early ontogeny. Condition explained 1% of the remaining variation. 18:3n-3 (ALA) and 18:4n-3 (SDA) indicated planktivory; 18:1n-7, benthivory; and 22:6n-3 (DHA), piscivory in perch diet. Conversely, perch regulated long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), such as 20:5n-3 (EPA), 20:4n-6 (ARA) and 22:6n-3 (DHA) over ontogeny, emphasizing the role of such FAs in early growth and sexual maturation. Adult perch increasingly retained 16:1n-7 and 18:1n-9 suggesting higher energy storage in older perch. Furthermore, differences in DHA availability in diet correlated with intra-cohort differences in perch growth, potentially hindering the overall use of benthic resources and promoting earlier shifts to piscivory in littoral habitats. Overall, this study indicates that in addition to diet, internal regulation may be more important for FA composition than previously thought. Differences between FA needs and FA availability may lead to life-history trade-offs that affect the ecology of consumers, including their niche.


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Usage Notes

This dataset contains a series of variables over the ontogeny of a polymorphic perch (Perca fluviatilis) that live in pelagic and littoral habitats. The variables include: body size, growth, condition factor, C and N stable isotopes, diet estimations and % of different fatty acids in the dorsal muscle of perch. It also shows the isotope values of the food sources that were used as endpoints in the isotope mixing model. The dataset provides metadata of each variable.


Knut och Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse, Award: KAW 2013.0091