Posted on August 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Warmer ocean temps could affect productivity
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A new study suggests that global warming could cut krill habitat by 20 percent — and more in some critical areas where land-based animals like penguins and seals depend on the tiny crustaceans for food.
The research, conducted by a team of scientists with the British Antarctic Survey and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, focused on the effects of warming sea surface temperatures. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Antarctic krill, biodiversity, British Antarctic Survey, climate change, Environment, global warming, krill, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Southern Ocean, Weddell Sea | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Plan includes some fishing limits in critical zones but leaves other areas open to commercial exploitation
A leopard seal on an Antarctic ice floe. Photo by Bob Berwyn.
The Ross Sea is due south of New Zealand.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A proposed new conservation zone in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica could help preserve one the most productive and pristine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean.
The Ross Sea continental shelf encompasses one of the most productive ecosystems of the Southern Ocean — it’s one of the few places in the world that retains its full community of top-level predators. As such, it supports a unique community of species, including one-third of the world’s Adélie penguins, one quarter of the world population of emperor penguins, half of the Southern Pacific population of Weddell seals, and half of the world’s Ross Sea killer whales.
The U.S. will propose designating 700,000 square miles of the sea as a marine protected area during the upcoming meeting of the Antarctic conservation commission. Protection of the Ross Sea would recognize the area’s unparalleled scientific research possibilities, high biological diversity, and as-yet intact ecosystems, which make it an area of tremendous conservation and scientific value for current and future generations. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica, CCAMLR, krill, marine protected areas, Ross Sea | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 9, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A krill swarm in the Southern Ocean. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Tiny crustaceans recycle significant quantity of iron from the depths to near-surface waters, where it helps stimulate plant growth
By Summit Voice
New research by the British Antarctic Survey shows that krill, the shrimp-like creatures at the heart of the Antarctic food chain, play a key role in fertilizing the Southern Ocean with iron by feeding on iron-rich fragments of decaying organisms on the sea floor, then releasing the iron near the surface.
That recycled iron helps stimulate the growth of phytoplankton thereby enhancing the ocean’s capacity for natural storage of carbon dioxide, the scientists reported this month in the journal Limnology and Oceanography.
Antarctic krill is the staple diet for fish, penguins, seals and whales, and is harvested by commercial fisheries for human consumption. The shrimp-like crustaceans grow to a length of up to 6cm and can live for 5-6 years. Krill feed on phytoplankton and are in turn eaten by a wide range of animals. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, water | Tagged: Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, Environment, Iron, Iron in ocean, krill, Limnology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seabed, Southern Ocean, Summit County News, Surface water | Leave a Comment »