How does the climate crisis affect the Antarctic fur seal?

The climate crisis is limiting the availability of krill—small crustaceans that are vital in the marine food chain—during summer in some areas of the Antarctica. This involves a decrease in the food abundance for female ...

Human-driven climate change only half the picture for krill

In the heart of their Antarctic habitat, krill populations are projected to decline about 30% this century due to widespread negative effects from human-driven climate change. However, these effects on this small but significant ...

Salps fertilize the Southern Ocean more effectively than krill

Experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute have, for the first time, experimentally measured the release of iron from the fecal pellets of krill and salps under natural conditions and tested its bioavailability using a natural ...

Penguins benefit from extended maritime zone

Gentoo penguins are benefiting from a newly enlarged no-fishing zone (known as a No-Take Zone NTZ) around the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia following British Antarctic Survey (BAS) tracking research commissioned by ...

Weddell Sea: Whale song reveals behavioral patterns

Until recently, what we knew about the lives of baleen whales in the Southern Ocean was chiefly based on research conducted during the Antarctic summer. The reason: in the winter, there were virtually no biologists on site ...

Molting krill provide a highway for ocean carbon storage

This study provides the first estimate of how much carbon large swarms of Antarctic krill can draw down and store through the molting process. The efficiency of this process has an important influence on our global climate.

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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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