Seasonal Lipid Levels in Antarctic Krill in Relation to Climate Change
Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba, hereon Krill) are a keystone species in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic ecosystems which most of the marine predators in the region consume due to their high lipid (oil) content. Krill oil started to be commercially harvested over the last two decades and the trend of commercial krill fishing operators wishing to expand into this niche is growing. The international krill fishery is governed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) which uses an ecosystem based management approach and is currently a world leader in sustainable fishing practices. CCAMLR currently sets krill fishing catch limits based on ecosystem models that do not include climate change scenarios as there is insufficient data to include into the models, such as biomass estimates and recruitment levels annually. Knowing whether the krill fishery will be sustainable into the future and if it will have a negative impact on the Antarctic ecosystem is paramount to managing the krill fishery correctly now and into the future. My research will look at seasonal and spatial lipid level changes in krill and these will then be used in an EcoSpace model which will look at varying climate scenarios.
Dr Patti Virtue
Dr Peter Nichols
Dr So Kawaguchi
Adjunct Professor Steve Nicol