April 25, 2013
Prof. Jacques Rinchard
The College at Brockport
Department of Environmental Science and Biology
Application of Fatty Acid Analysis in Aquatic Ecology:
Trophic Tracers and Essential Nutrients
During this seminar, I will present how my colleagues and I are using fatty acid signatures to better understand freshwater aquatic environments. Fatty acids are the primary constituent of most lipids, and consist of long carbons chains (commonly 14 to 24 carbon atoms) that can be saturated or unsaturated. They are retained within predators and it is therefore possible to use them as a tool to trace and confirm predator-prey interaction. After showing how fatty acid signatures varied spatio-temporally among forage species collected in Lake Michigan, I will provide evidence of how forage fish resemble prey species in terms of fatty acids and therefore justify their role of biomarkers. Fatty acids are also key nutrients that influence physiological performance of aquatic organisms. I will show you through a series of experiments how non indigenous species may alter trophic pathways resulting in deleterious impacts to native fish communities (such as yellow perch and lake trout).