Lipids in Anadromous Northern Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma malma)

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Kulchycki, Lisa
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Anadromous Arctic fish species have adapted to a particular environment by evolving unique lipid cycling strategies such as storing large amounts of lipid during times of high productivity in order to survive long migrations, spawning events, and seasonal variation in food availability. Research on lipid content and storage location in the body is very limited, especially regarding the northern Dolly Varden, a fish species important culturally and for sustenance to the Indigenous Peoples in the western Canadian Arctic that is listed as ‘Special Concern’ under Species at Risk legislation. Lipid content in anadromous Dolly Varden obtained from two marine (coastal) (summer) and two freshwater (fall) locations were examined and compared to test for differences in percent lipid between locations/seasons. Percent lipid was compared between the muscle and homogenized whole-body of individuals caught in freshwater. Muscle lipid content was significantly different between freshwater locations and one of the marine locations (~34% higher from the marine location). One marine location contained fish with unexpectedly high muscle lipid percent. A weak/moderate linear relationship was found between lipid percent in the muscle tissue and whole-body tissue of the same individuals (r2= 0.2013 when sex was an added variable; r2= 0.4204 when reproductive status was an added variable), and reproductive status influenced this relationship. Sex of the individual did not affect lipid content in the muscle nor on the relationship between percent lipids in muscle and whole-body. Changing environmental factors due to climate change such as the timing of the ice melt and phytoplankton blooms can affect energy exchange through the food web, and thus research on the nature of fluctuating energy and lipid levels is needed to aid in conservation efforts of Arctic species.
Northern Dolly Varden, Lipids, Lipid Cycling, Anadromous Arctic Fish