Experimental study on the effect of diet on fatty acid and stable isotope profiles of the squid Lolliguncula brevis

Gabriele Stowasser, Graham John Pierce, C. F. Moffat, M. A. Collins, J. W. Forsythe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Fatty acid and stable isotope analyses have previously been used to investigate foraging patterns of fish, birds, marine mammals and most recently cephalopod species. To evaluate the application of these methods for dietary studies in squid, it is important to understand the degree to which fatty acid and stable isotope signatures of prey species are reflected in the squids' tissue. Four groups of Lolliguncula brevis were fed on prey species with distinctly different fatty acid and stable isotope profiles over 30 consecutive days. One group of squid were fed fish for fifteen days, followed by crustaceans for a further fifteen days. A second and third group were fed exclusively on fish or crustaceans for thirty days. And a fourth group was fed on a mixture of fish and crustaceans for thirty days. Analysis of squid tissue showed that, after 10 days of feeding, fatty acid profiles of squid tended to reflect those of their prey. Squid that fed on a single prey type, i.e. fish or crustacean, showed only minor modifications in fatty acid proportions after the initial change and fatty acid profiles were clearly distinguishable between the two feeding groups. Shifts in fatty acid proportions towards respective prey profiles could clearly be observed in squid the diet of which was swapped after 15 days. Clear differences could also be seen in fatty acid profiles of squid feeding on a mixed diet with trends towards either fish or crustacean fatty acid signatures. Stable isotope signatures of squid tissues clearly distinguished between animals feeding on different diets and supported findings from fatty acid analysis, thus indicating both methods to be viable tools in feeding studies on squid species. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-114
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2006


  • cephalopods
  • fatty acids
  • feeding experiment
  • Lolliguncula brevis
  • stable isotopes
  • food-web structure
  • carbon isotopes
  • trophic level
  • loliginid squids
  • digestive gland
  • marine mammals
  • fresh-water
  • fractionation
  • nitrogen


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental study on the effect of diet on fatty acid and stable isotope profiles of the squid Lolliguncula brevis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this