The overwintering of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, from an ecophysiological perspective


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Bettina.Meyer [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

A major aim of this review is to determine which physiological functions are adopted by adults and larvae to survive the winter season with low food supply and their relative importance. A second aim is to clarify the extent to which seasonal variation in larval and adult krill physiology is mediated by environmental factors with a strong seasonality, such as food supply or day light. Experimental studies on adult krill have demonstrated that speciWc physiological adaptations during autumn and winter, such as reduced metabolic rates and feeding activity, are not caused simply by the scarcity of food, as was previously assumed. These adaptations appear to be inXuenced by the local light regime. The physiological functions that larval krill adopt during winter (reduced metabolism, delayed development, lipid utilisation, and variable growth rates) are, in contrast to the adults, under direct control by the available food supply. During winter, the adults often seem to have little association with sea ice (at least until early spring). The larvae, however, feed within sea ice but mainly on the grazers of the ice algal community rather than on the algae themselves. In this respect, a miss-match in timing of the occurrence of the last phytoplankton blooms in autumn and the start of the sea ice formation, as has been increasingly observed in the west Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region, will impact larval krill development during winter in terms of food supply and consequently the krill stock in this region.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
25421
DOI 10.1007/s00300-011-1120-0

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Meyer, B. (2011): The overwintering of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, from an ecophysiological perspective , Polar Biology, 35 (1), pp. 15-37 . doi: 10.1007/s00300-011-1120-0


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