DSC_6132

The Antarctic krill new predators

A tiny crustacean that could change the world

The Antarctic krill or Euphausia Superba is a tiny translucent shrimp looking crustacean. Adults measure between five and seven centimetres and live in swarms of several thousand per cubic metre. Krill reproduces very quickly and in vast quantities around the Antarctic continent. These little crustaceans represent the largest biomass on the planet.

The kril is a small shrimp looking crustacean that constitutes the food basis of most of the Antarctic animals © Wikipedia

Scientific research dating back to the 80s estimates the biomass at somewhere between 125 and 735 million tonnes – very approximate and somewhat unreliable data, but despite more recent technology and methods, it remains extremely difficult to obtain more precise information given the size of the area and the fact that the swarms move with the currents at depths that vary between 0 and 200 metres. We know that the krill biomass is enormous, but we don’t know exactly how enormous.

 

Krill is a critical part of the Antarctic ecosystem as it is the staple diet of all Southern Ocean dwellers: whales, seals, leopard seals, penguins, albatross and more. Seals consume around 60 million tonnes of krill annually, while the estimated amount consumed by whales is around 50 million.

 

Some scientists credit the diminutive custacean with even greater assets. They believe that krill plays an important part in climate control. In feeding on the phytoplankton that absorbs CO2 accumulated on the surface of the water, krill transfers the element through its excrement thousands of metres beneath the surface. Unfortunately once again a lack of data on the species means we know little about the global impact of this natural process.

 

Other files

  • jellyfish-cover

    Jellyfish, friend or foe?

    Ecology3 chapters

    Saepissime igitur mihi de amicitia cogitanti maxime illud considerandum videri solet, utrum propter imbecillitatem atque inopiam desiderata sit amicitia, ut dandis recipiendisque meritis quod quisque minus per se ipse posset, id acciperet ab alio vicissimque redderet, an esset hoc quidem proprium amicitiae, sed antiquior et pulchrior et magis a natura ipsa profecta alia causa. Amor enim, ex quo amicitia nominata est, princeps est ad benevolentiam coniungendam. Nam utilitates quidem etiam ab iis percipiuntur saepe qui simulatione amicitiae coluntur et observantur temporis causa, in amicitia autem nihil fictum est, nihil simulatum et, quidquid est, id est verum et voluntarium.






  • voiliers fret à la voile

    Winds of Change

    Ecology, Economy, Sailing3 chapters

    Over the past few years, a number of traditional sailing boats have returned to their initial vocation, which was transportation of goods. Expectations are high when it comes to greener solutions, especially in the cargo industry that is notorious for its thirst for fossil fuel. OCEAN71 Magazine investigates the truths behind this well marketed business.






  • Gallery Bassin Cover_3

    The Arcachon Bay Labyrinth

    Sailing1 chapter

    The entrance passes to the Arcachon Bay have the reputation to be treacherous. The dangerous sandbanks shift with every storm and strong tide. OCEAN71 Magazine proposes a unique navigational experience: a series of virtual visits with a 360° view from above, allowing the subscriber to visualize some of the many low tide traps.