Study sheds new light on krill larvae survival

An international study involving British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists has shed light on how the larvae of Antarctic krill – small shrimp-like crustaceans – use sea ice to ensure their successful development and survival ...

Study reveals strong links between Antarctic climate, food web

A long-term study of the links between climate and marine life along the rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula reveals how changes in physical factors such as wind speed and sea-ice cover send ripples up the food chain, ...

Warming Antarctic seas likely to impact on krill habitats

Antarctic krill are usually less than 6 cm in length but their size belies the major role they play in sustaining much of the life in the Southern Ocean. They are the primary food source for many species of whales, seals, ...

Blue whales perform precise acrobatics while hunting (w/ video)

Massive blue whales perform 360° rolls in order to take in the largest possible volume of krill according to research published in Biology Letters today. Whales also roll over when searching for krill, enabling them to identify ...

Changes in krill abundance inferred from antarctic fur seal

It is possible to know a tree from its fruit, but is it possible to know a prey from its predator? The answer is YES with Antarctic krill and Antarctic fur seals. Scientists of the University of Science and Technology ...

Antarctic fur seals breed where they were born

Scientists have discovered that female Antarctic fur seals have an uncanny ability to return to within a body length of where they were born when it's time to breed.

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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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