Study reveals climate change impact on Antarctic penguins

Antarctic penguins have been on the forefront of climate change, experiencing massive changes to their natural habitat as the world's temperatures and human activity in the region have increased. Now, new research has revealed ...

How Antarctic krill fertilize the oceans and even store carbon

Krill are best known as whale food. But few people realize that these small, shrimp-like creatures are also important to the health of the ocean and the atmosphere. In fact, Antarctic krill can fertilize the oceans, ultimately ...

Antarctic krill use 'hotspots' for their young

New research, published this week (24 July 2019) in the journal PLOS ONE, shows how Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), a key species in the Southern Ocean food web, choose different areas of the ocean at the various stages ...

Video: The krill factor in ocean mixing

Scientists have long chalked up ocean mixing of salt, heat, nutrients and gases, such as oxygen and carbon dioxide, to wind and tides. New research is investigating another possible contributor: krill. Mixing ocean water ...

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Krill

Krill is the common name given to the order Euphausiacea of shrimp-like marine crustaceans. Also known as euphausiids, these small invertebrates are found in all oceans of the world. The common name krill comes from the Norwegian word krill, meaning "young fry of fish", which is also often attributed to other species of fish.

Krill are considered an important trophic level connection—near the bottom of the food chain—because they feed on phytoplankton and to a lesser extent zooplankton, converting these into a form suitable for many larger animals for whom krill makes up the largest part of their diet. In the Southern Ocean, one species, the Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, makes up an estimated biomass of over 500,000,000 tonnes (490,000,000 long tons; 550,000,000 short tons), roughly twice that of humans. Of this, over half is eaten by whales, seals, penguins, squid and fish each year, and is replaced by growth and reproduction. Most krill species display large daily vertical migrations, thus providing food for predators near the surface at night and in deeper waters during the day.

Commercial fishing of krill is done in the Southern Ocean and in the waters around Japan. The total global harvest amounts to 150,000–200,000 tonnes (150,000–200,000 long tons; 170,000–220,000 short tons) annually, most of this from the Scotia Sea. Most of the krill catch is used for aquaculture and aquarium feeds, as bait in sport fishing, or in the pharmaceutical industry. In Japan and Russia, krill is also used for human consumption and is known as okiami (オキアミ?) in Japan.

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