Seasonal gene expression profiling of Antarctic krill in three different latitudinal regions

Bettina.Meyer [ at ]


The Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, has evolved seasonal rhythms of physiology and behaviour to survive under the extreme photoperiodic conditions in the Southern Ocean. However, the molecular mechanisms generating these rhythms remain far from understood. The aim of this study was to investigate seasonal differences in gene expression in three different latitudinal regions (South Georgia, South Orkneys/Bransfield Strait, Lazarev Sea) and to identify genes with potential regulatory roles in the seasonal life cycle of Antarctic krill. The RNA-seq data were analysed (a) for seasonal differences between summer and winter krill sampled from each region, and (b) for regional differences within each season. A large majority of genes showed an up-regulation in summer krill in all regions with respect to winter krill. However, seasonal differences in gene expression were less pronounced in Antarctic krill from South Georgia, most likely due to the milder seasonal conditions of the lower latitudes of this region, with a less extreme light regime and food availability between summer and winter. Our results suggest that in the South Orkneys/Bransfield Strait and Lazarev Sea region, Antarctic krill entered a state of metabolic depression and regressed development (winter quiescence) in winter. Moreover, seasonal gene expression signatures seems to be driven by a photoperiodic timing system that may adapt the flexible behaviour and physiology of Antarctic krill to the highly seasonal environment according to the latitudinal region. However, at the lower latitude South Georgia region, food availability might represent the main environmental cue influencing seasonal physiology.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
Cite as
Höring, F. , Biscontin, A. , Sales, G. , Reiss, C. S. , De Pitta, C. and Meyer, B. (2020): Seasonal gene expression profiling of Antarctic krill in three different latitudinal regions , Marine Genomics .


Download (894kB) | Preview


Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item