The impacts of omega-3 fatty acids on planktonic food web processes: anexperimental approach Year One
The causal link between highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUF As) and human health is one of the hottest topics in science. Their potential to control food web dynamics in freshwater systems is a relatively recent development, but analytical difficulties have relegated research to a predominantly theoretical nature. A large deal of theoretical work was produced from my doctoral research, and breakthroughs in measuring metabolic reactions permit the testing of multiple hypotheses produced. I am proposing to study the producer-consumer interface in aquatic food webs through a series of experiments, in order to gauge the extent of regulation by HUF A concentrations. The resulting interactions and processes can be of paramount importance in system restoration scenarios. I also propose a metabolic analysis of HUF A bioaccumulation up the food web, an investigation that will benefit industries concerned with lipid concentrations (e.g., aquaculture and green fuel). This project will build theory and push industrial innovation.