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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14211

A subsurface eddy associated with a submarine canyon increases availability and delivery of simulated Antarctic krill to penguin foraging regions

K. Hudson*, M. J. Oliver, J. Kohut, M. S. Dinniman, J. M. Klinck, M. A. Cimino, K. S. Bernard, H. Statscewich, W. Fraser

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The distribution of marine zooplankton depends on both ocean currents and swimming behavior. Many zooplankton perform diel vertical migrations (DVM) between the surface and subsurface, which can have different current regimes. If concentration mechanisms, such as fronts or eddies, are present in the subsurface, they may impact zooplankton near-surface distributions when they migrate to near-surface waters. A subsurface, retentive eddy within Palmer Deep Canyon (PDC), a submarine canyon along the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), retains diurnal vertically migrating zooplankton in previous model simulations. Here, we test the hypothesis that the presence of the PDC and its associated subsurface eddy increases the availability and delivery of simulated Antarctic krill to nearby penguin foraging regions with model simulations over a single austral summer. We found the availability and delivery rates of simulated krill to penguin foraging areas adjacent to PDC were greater when the PDC was present compared to when PDC was absent, and when DVM was deepest. These results suggest that the eddy has potential to enhance krill availability to upper trophic level predators and suggests that retention may play a significant role in resource availability for predators in other similar systems along the WAP and in other systems with sustained subsurface eddies.