Monday, 4 February 2019

Antarctic krill: Key food source moves south

By Jonathan AmosBBC Science Correspondent
21 January 2019
A keystone prey species in the Southern Ocean is retreating towards the Antarctic because of climate change.
Krill are small, shrimp-like creatures that swarm in vast numbers and form a major part of the diets of whales, penguins, seabirds, seals and fish.
Scientists say warming conditions in recent decades have led to the krill contracting poleward.
If the shift is maintained, it will have negative ecosystem impacts, they warn.
Already there is some evidence that macaroni penguins and fur seals may be finding it harder to get enough of the krill to support their populations.
"Our results suggest that over the past 40 years, the amount of krill has, on average, gone down, and also the location of the krill has contracted to much less of the habitat. That suggests all these other animals that eat krill will face much more intense competition with each other for this important food resource," Simeon Hill from the British Antarctic Survey told BBC News.

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