MEPS - Vol. 568 - FEATURE ARTICLE

Changes in sea-ice coverage will impact trophic interactions during the Antarctic winter. Photos: Jennifer Walsh and Abraham Borker

Reiss CS, Cossio A, Santora JA, Dietrich KS, Murray A, Mitchell BG, Walsh J, Weiss EL, Gimpel C, Jones CD, Watters GM

 

Overwinter habitat selection by Antarctic krill under varying sea-ice conditions: implications for top predators and fishery management


There is a need to understand how climate change will affect Antarctic krill Euphausia superba, krill-dependent predators, and fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Reiss and colleagues conducted surveys during winters with contrasting sea ice conditions to estimate krill biomass, habitat use, association with top predators, and potential interactions with the krill fishery. Krill overwinter in coastal environments independent of sea ice and are highly concentrated there in comparison to summer. Top predators were also associated with krill biomass and sea ice, potentially linking changes in sea ice habitat to foraging success. Long-term projections focus on changing krill habitat and productivity. However, more immediate impacts will require management of potential fishery-krill-predator interactions and effects on the pelagic ecology of this system.

 

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