Zooplankton, Lipids and a Changing World

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney


Lipid rich zooplankton, such as copepods, provide the crucial link between the primary producers and the higher trophic levels. There are many factors that influence production in the marine environment including water temperature, the trophic level, and water column zonation usage. As lipids transfer throughout the food chain each level has it’s own lipid assimilation limits and requirements. Location and proximity to land can lead to the contamination of essential fatty acids with lipid soluble pollutants such as persistent organic pollutant and mercury. Collection techniques and analysis of marine lipids, including a comparison of traditionally used plankton nets versus’s the quicker pumps, is covered. Sample storage, processing and analysis can be done with relatively small quantities using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. By using this information, a base line study on the quantity of lipids along the equator can be determined in a quick and low cost manner.

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