Friday, September 13, 2013



Keystone Critical Species for Food Web
As the keystone species in the Ecosystem, KRILL is key to the life sustaining food web that supports our planet. Almost every animal in the Southern Antarctic Ocean (including fish, penguins, seals, whales and more) depend on KRILL! A study published last year showed krill numbers had fallen by 80% since the 1970's and experts linked the collapse to shrinking sea ice (the crustacean feeds on algae under the ice).
MORE at National Geographic Antarctica SEALAB

If KRILL are depleted by over fishing or by the depletion of their food source by poisoning the seas with pollution, chemicals, garbage and dramatic ice melt, the entire food web of the planet can collapse! The Antarctic Peninsula, a key breeding ground for the krill, has warmed by 2.5C in the last 50 years, with a striking decrease in sea ice.                                                                Marilyn Morningstar

Between a third and a quarter of carbon dioxide that
comes from burning fossil fuels is absorbed by the oceans


What sustains KRILL?
Krill are small crustaceans resembling shrimp that
 are found primarily  in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans.

Vital to the planet's marine ecosystem, their diet consists
 of phytoplankton, copepods, zooplankton and algae. 

Two krill starred in the movie Happy Feet Two: Image: Warner Bros. Entertainment IncExcerpt from Happy Feet 2The movie is an overlooked gem with a powerful underline message.

Opening line made a statement that all life from the

smallest to the largest are all inter-connected

Has anyone done a study to determine if people care more about a particular creature once it's featured in one of those Hollywood computer animated movies with big names like Brad Pitt?
Although the lines in Happy Feet 2 are truly sophisticated endeavors to get out the message that we humans and the entire planet are interconnected, from the smallest crustaceans to the largest galactic star, but with such fascinating animation, colorful entertainment and marvelous voice work by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, I'm not sure the public actually realizes the intensity of the message, especially the one in THIS excerpt.
So what did we miss in the message? THAT WE ARE ALL LUNCH!
Yes, the krill are very close to the bottom of the food chain, and yes, we are at the top of the food chain, but we are still all a part of the food chain. Once the krill are over-fished and their habitat is poisoned to the degree that they stop reproducing and their populations drop, that begins a cycle of death for all creatures on earth, INCLUDING HUMAN CREATURES. This really isn't rocket science, but some people have had their logic circuits ripped out by the successful campaign to discredit the science on "global warming" by the corporatocracy, whose ONLY concern, apparently, is to continue the flow of profits to their bank accounts!

CorporatocracyIt is a term used as an economic and political system controlled by corporations or corporate interests. The following video is NOT about Krill, but Perkins is a financial HIT MAN, a whistle blower who thoroughly explains how the corporations are running the globe via corruption. It is the corporations that are the largest threat to the survival of the krill and ultimately live on earth - it's all about the money!
Read more:
 Rise of the Global Corporatocracy: An Interview with John Perkins


Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification
, warning that as oceans become more acidic due to the burning of fossil fuels, krill numbers in the Antarctic could plummet risking ecosystem collapse. The study says:

The data revealed that substantial declines in the viability of major populations of krill in the region may occur within the next 100 years, which is on the trajectory of change that could result in catastrophic consequences for dependent marine mammals and birds of the Southern Ocean.
Krill is the backbone of the food web in the Antarctic and is the key food for penguins, seals, fish and whales. The finding comes as 24 countries and the European Union gather in Germany for a special meeting to consider proposals to create the world's biggest areas of protected ocean in Antarctica.

a few examples - they are going on everywhere


"At one stage of the krill's life-cycle  the larvae are highly dependent on habitat created by floating sea ice. Any reduction in sea ice in key krill spawning areas might also have an impact on the amount of krill in the ocean."  Rob King
 The importance of KRILL cannot be over emphasized! 


Learn MORE!

The lowly krill averages only about two inches (five centimeters) in length, but it represents a giant-sized link in the global food chain. These small, shrimp-like crustaceans are essentially the fuel that runs the engine of the Earth’s marine ecosystems.
MORE FACTS ABOUT KRILL from National Geographic 

KRILL VIDEO explains the role of KRILL in the ocean.

KRILL EDUCATION, click this link

Faint disturbances in the heart of Antarctic waters gives way to breathtaking images of Whales hunting Krill in this fantastic video from BBC natural history masterpiece, Planet Earth

Krill, a keystone component in the diets of many Antarctic species such as whales, penguins and all seals, appears to be undergoing a major decline.
Since the 1970s, numbers of the shrimp-like creatures have fallen by 80% in waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, UK scientists tell Nature magazine.

The crustacean feeds on algae under the ice so the fall may be linked to recent warming that has reduced sea-ice cover.

The change could have a big impact on the whole Southern Ocean food web.

"Krill are a central species since they are a major food item for species such as penguins, seals, albatrosses and whales." Dr Angus Atkinson, from British Antarctic Survey, told BBC News.

Krill 'nursery'
Dr Atkinson and his colleagues established the krill trend by analyzing 12,000 net hauls taken during periods from 1926 to 2003.

They found krill were concentrated in the southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean and this was where the decline was most marked.

UK scientists predict entire populations and species might disappear from the Antarctic region as a result of further warming.

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a shrimp-like creature that reach lengths of about 6cm (2in) and is considered to be one of the most abundant species on the planet, being found in densities of up to 30,000 creatures in a cubic-metre of seawater.
It is also one of the key species in the ecosystems in and around Antarctica, as it is the dominant prey of nearly all vertebrates in the region, including chinstrap and Adelie penguins.
Warming to change
In their paper, a US team of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography said a number of factors were combining to change the shape of the area's environment.

"The West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) and adjacent Scotia Sea support abundant wildlife populations, many of which were nearly [wiped out] by humans," they wrote.

"This region is also among the fastest warming areas on the planet, with 5-6C increases in mean winter air temperatures and associated decreases in winter sea-ice cover."
They added that analysis of data gathered during 30 years of field studies, and recent penguin surveys, challenged a leading scientific idea, known as the "sea-ice hypothesis", about how the region's ecosystems was changing.
"(It) proposes that reductions in winter sea-ice have led directly to declines in 'ice-loving' species by decreasing their winter habitat, while populations of 'ice-avoiding' species have increased," they explained.
However, they said that their findings showed that since the mid 1980s there had been a decline in both ice-loving Adelies (Pygoscelis adeliae) and ice-avoiding chinstraps (Pygoscelis antarctica), with both populations falling by up to 50%.
As a result, the researchers favoured a "more robust" hypothesis that penguin population numbers were linked to changes in the abundance of their main food source, krill.
"Linking trends in penguin abundance with trends in krill biomass explains why populations of Adelie and chinstrap penguins increased after competitors (fur seals, baleen whales and some fish) were nearly extirpated in the 19th to mid-20th Centuries, and currently are decreasing in response to climate change," they wrote.
The team said that it was estimated that there was in the region of 150 million tonnes of krill for predators after the global hunting era depleted the world's whale population.
During this period, data shows that there was a five-fold increase in chinstrap and Adelie numbers at breeding sites from the 1930s to the 1970s, they reported.
"The large populations of Adelie and chinstrap penguins were not sustained for long, however, and are now declining precipitously."
They added that this was happening as rising temperatures and decreases in sea-ice was altering the physical conditions required to sustain large krill populations.
"We hypothesize that the amount of krill available to penguins has declined because of the increased competition from recovering whale and fur seal populations, and from bottom-up, climate-driven changes that have altered this ecosystem significantly during the past two to three decades."
The US researchers concluded that the penguin numbers and krill abundance were likely to fall further if the warming trend in the region continued.

They wrote: "These conditions are particularly critical for chinstrap penguins because this species breeds almost exclusively in the WAP and Scotia Sea, where they have sustained declines in excess of 50% throughout their breeding range."

The new study, carried out by scientists at the Australian Government's Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), has found that once levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean reach about 1250 microatmopsheres, the numbers of krill eggs successfully hatching starts to decline dramatically. Some of the areas for krill already reach 550 microatmospheres.
AAD marine biologist Rob King, one of the co-authors of the study, told me:
If you want to minimise the chances of major ecosystem disruption then this study shows that emissions would need to be moderated from the current trajectory. Antarctica is an unusual ecosystem because this species - the krill - is responsible for passing on so much primary production to higher predators, including fish, whales, seals and penguins.
To carry out the study AAD scientists aboard the icebreaker ship theAurora Australis hauled in a small catch of krill back in 2011.

The krill were taken back to the government laboratories in Hobart, Tasmania, to mature. There, tanks were set up to recreate different concentrations of CO2 in ocean water and the krill were allowed to spawn.
In Antarctica when mature krill spawn, their eggs sink to depths of between 700 and 1000 metres while they develop and hatch - a process taking less than a week. The hatchlings then swim back up to feed and mature.
But the study points out that higher concentrations of CO2 cause the krill embryos to develop more slowly, meaning they could sink deeper. Rob King explains:
When the sinking eggs hatch they are adapted to be able to swim back up to the surface where they can begin to feed. But delaying their development means they may have to swim further. We don't fully understand yet the capacity of those larvae to extend that vertical migration.
In other words, the krill might just run out of their energy stores before they get back up to shallower depths.
The study also raises some serious questions about the ability of the krill - and the ecosystem it feeds - to withstand multiple changes such as warming ocean temperatures and increased fishing.
Commercial fishing, regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, is currently pulling about 200,000 tonnes of the crustacean from the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, mainly from areas around the Weddell Sea.  

This is a presentation given at CCAMLR (the group that manages Antarctic krill fishing) in 2009 that outlines some of the uncertainties and potential threats from the krill fishery to the Antarctic Marine ecosystems. Could your omega-3 supplements be keeping penguins from getting enough food?

Threats to Antarctic Krill

The krill is used in food products, health supplements and as feed for farmed fish.


The study found unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut dramatically, these same areas currently being targeted for krill would be the same areas where krill hatch rates would begin to drop in 100 years time. Mr King said AAD scientists were now studying how krill react when you have more acidic oceans combined with these changing temperatures.
At one stage of the krill's life-cycle  the larvae are highly dependent on habitat created by floating sea ice. Any reduction in sea ice in key krill spawning areas might also have an impact on the amount of krill in the ocean.  Mr King adds:
If you put all of these impacts together then it is possible that our predictions on the impacts on the krill population in this study could be conservative.

In Happy Feet Two, Matt Damon's character "Will the Krill" swims out of his swarm for the first time to look back on the orange/red mass as a whale carves through it, swallowing his friends and family.
"Goodbye, krill world," utters Will, in what most will surely hope doesn't join some list of prescient movie quotes.Read this article at THE GUARDIAN


Antarctica's great Southern Ocean is the last pristine ocean wilderness left on Earth. This year leaders from 25 countries have an opportunity to create the world's largest marine sanctuaries around Antarctica. The proposals are in front of them, the science has been done, all they need to do is say YES. Tell our leaders to make the right decision when they meet this year and protect these waters for future generations.

Share this video and visit our website to take action: JOIN US! SIGN HERE!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your post. All posts are moderated prior to posting. Your opinion and your resource links are an important part of this project. Please be respectful. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK, pretty please!