Proposed Abstract Title

Nutritional diversity in aquatic ecoystems

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

General Food and Food Security Topics

Location

2016SSEC

Description

The ecology of food security is not just about predicting yields, it is about understanding the ecological conditions that lead to a stable supply of nutritionally diverse foods. A primary challenge of linking ecological processes with human well-being is finding comparable metrics for ecological properties and human benefits. For nutritional value, a common currency that captures both ecological variation and human benefits is the nutrient content in an edible portion relative to dietary reference intakes (DRI). We analyzed the relationship between species’ traits and their nutritional value in terms of DRI using dietary food composition data, which is restricted to the edible portion, for 430 aquatic species. We found that there is a high degree of variability in nutrient profiles across taxa, and that increasing functional diversity of species consumed contributes to increased nutritional diversity for consumers. For some, but not all, nutrients we analyzed (e.g. Ca, Hg, EPA, DHA), nutrient content varied predictably among species with latitude and body size, consistent with the physiological functional roles of micronutrients in fish. The nutrition benefits that humans derive from seafood are not directly related to the whole body stoichiometry of aquatic species because the edible portion ranges from the whole body (i.e. for shrimps) to highly restricted portions of muscle tissue (i.e. tuna fillets), and nutrients are not evenly distributed across all tissues. Our results suggest that the availability of micronutrients may depend on geography and functional composition of the catch. For example, molluscs represent a nutritionally distinct and valuable source of minerals (ie. calcium, iron and zinc), which are not present at equivalent levels in other functional groups. Our approach integrates ecological variation and patterns in human consumption, explicitly linking ecology and nutrition, to suggest that a diverse fish assemblage can support a more nutritious diet to local seafood consumers.

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Nutritional diversity in aquatic ecoystems

2016SSEC

The ecology of food security is not just about predicting yields, it is about understanding the ecological conditions that lead to a stable supply of nutritionally diverse foods. A primary challenge of linking ecological processes with human well-being is finding comparable metrics for ecological properties and human benefits. For nutritional value, a common currency that captures both ecological variation and human benefits is the nutrient content in an edible portion relative to dietary reference intakes (DRI). We analyzed the relationship between species’ traits and their nutritional value in terms of DRI using dietary food composition data, which is restricted to the edible portion, for 430 aquatic species. We found that there is a high degree of variability in nutrient profiles across taxa, and that increasing functional diversity of species consumed contributes to increased nutritional diversity for consumers. For some, but not all, nutrients we analyzed (e.g. Ca, Hg, EPA, DHA), nutrient content varied predictably among species with latitude and body size, consistent with the physiological functional roles of micronutrients in fish. The nutrition benefits that humans derive from seafood are not directly related to the whole body stoichiometry of aquatic species because the edible portion ranges from the whole body (i.e. for shrimps) to highly restricted portions of muscle tissue (i.e. tuna fillets), and nutrients are not evenly distributed across all tissues. Our results suggest that the availability of micronutrients may depend on geography and functional composition of the catch. For example, molluscs represent a nutritionally distinct and valuable source of minerals (ie. calcium, iron and zinc), which are not present at equivalent levels in other functional groups. Our approach integrates ecological variation and patterns in human consumption, explicitly linking ecology and nutrition, to suggest that a diverse fish assemblage can support a more nutritious diet to local seafood consumers.