Marine Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 3, pp 643–651 | Cite as

Temporal variation in protein, carbohydrate, and lipid concentrations in Paramuricea clavata (Anthozoa, Octocorallia): evidence for summer–autumn feeding constraints

  • Sergio RossiEmail author
  • Josep-María Gili
  • Rafel Coma
  • Cristina Linares
  • Andrea Gori
  • Neus Vert
Research Article


Temporal variations in protein, carbohydrate, and lipid levels were studied in a passive suspension feeder, the gorgonian Paramuricea clavata. The samples were collected every month for mature and immature colonies over a three-year period (1997–2000). The relationship between biochemical composition and reproductive output was examined on the basis of the 1998 and 1999 data. In female and male P. clavata colonies, the tissue displayed differences in lipid concentrations only in winter–spring, due to the high lipid levels attained by female colonies in this period. Immature colonies showed significant differences in lipid concentration only with respect to mature females in spring. There were clear seasonal trends in the lipid and carbohydrate levels in P. clavata, with maximum values in winter–spring [male lipid 212±75 SD μg mg−1 of organic matter (OM) and female lipid 274±103 SD μg mg−1 of OM; male and female carbohydrate 68±14 SD μg mg−1 of OM], coinciding with maximum food concentration/quality, and minimum values in summer–autumn (male and female lipid 155±57 SD μg mg−1 of OM; male and female carbohydrate 56±14 SD μg mg−1 of OM), coinciding with low food concentration/quality. The relationship between reproductive output and tissue concentrations of lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins was not straightforward, although there was an evident overlap of the lipid accumulation and the gonadal development. The results of this study show that protein, carbohydrate, and lipid levels may provide a record of episodes in the ecological cycle bearing on the trophic aspects of the target species. The results indicate that information on seasonal biochemical levels may explain benthopelagic coupling processes, provided factors such as natural diet, feeding rates, reproduction, and growth are well understood.


Reproductive Output Primary Branch Carbohydrate Level Branch Type Seston Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are deeply grateful to three anonymous reviewers that helped in the manuscript improvement. The authors thank E Reyes, A Espasa, A Gàlbez, and C Roldán for their help with the laboratory analyses and are especially grateful to D Diaz, B Hereu, and M Zabala for assistance with the field work. Funding for this study was provided by an F.P.I. fellowship awarded to SR by Spain’s Ministry of Education and Science under projects DGICYT 1995–1998 and PB94-0014-C02-01 and by the MAST-III-ELOISE European Union METRO MED Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Rossi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Josep-María Gili
    • 1
  • Rafel Coma
    • 2
  • Cristina Linares
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrea Gori
    • 1
  • Neus Vert
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CSIC)BlanesSpain

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