Indicators of oxidative stress and metabolic capacity are key factors in understanding the fitness of wild populations. In the present study, these factors were evaluated in the pelagic Southern Ocean taxa Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and myctophid fish (Electrona antarctica, Gymnoscopelus braueri and G. nicholsi) to establish a baseline record for future studies. Mercury (Hg) concentrations were also analysed to evaluate its potential impacts on species biochemical performance. E. superba had higher metabolic activity than most of the myctophid species, which may explain the comparatively lower energy reserves found in the former. The activity of antioxidant enzymes showed, generally, a lower level in E. superba than in the myctophid species. The lack of any relationship between Hg concentrations and organisms' antioxidant and biotransformation defence mechanisms indicate that levels of Hg accumulated in the studied species were not high enough to affect their biochemical processes adversely.
- Biochemical performance
- Antioxidant capacity