3D chemoecology and chemotaxonomy of corals using fatty acid biomarkers: Latitude, longitude and depth
Figueiredo, C. - Baptista, M. - Rosa, I.C. - Lopes, A.R. - Dionísio, G. - Rocha, R.J.M. - Cruz, I.C.S. - Kikuchi, R.K.P. - Simões, N. - Leal, M.C.; Tojeira, I. - Bandarra, M. - Calado, R. - Rui Rosa
3D chemoecology and chemotaxonomy of corals using fatty acid biomarkers: Latitude, longitude and depth. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. DOI: the objective of uncovering differences in the fatty acid (FA) composition of hexa- and octocorals from different climatic zones (equatorial, subtropical and tropical) and distinct habitats (e.g. rock and coral reefs; intertidal to deep-sea environments), the FA composition of 36 hexa- and octocoral species (132 specimens) was analysed (including the first characterization of organisms from the order Zoantharia and deep-sea gorgonians). PCA was applied in a FA matrix of the ten major PUFAs to detect differences among coral groups.
Fatty acid profile analysis confirmed that C24 polyunsaturated FAs are suitable chemotaxonomic biomarkers to separate hexa- and octocorals. The polyunsaturated FA 22:6n-3 was identified as a useful biomarker to distinguish between zoantharians and scleractinians. Also, we discuss the role of food availability (type of phytoplankton assemblage) in relation to autotrophic carbon significance and in the establishment of FA profiles of octocorals from the West and East coasts of the Atlantic Ocean.
Furthermore, we show that the occurrence of high levels of primary productivity hinder the use of FA profiles to distinguish between zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate octocorals. Finally, we present and discuss the particular traits of the FA profile of deep-sea gorgonians while comparing it with that of shallow species.