Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, are small marine crustaceans who play a key role in the Southern Ocean. Krill are eaten by whales, penguins, seals, fish and squid – and many of these charismatic predators eat almost nothing else, filling up on over 90% krill.  We know less about what the krill themselves are eating though. It has been known for many years that in the summer krill eat lots of phytoplankton, microscopic plants which float around in the ocean. But in the winter it is too dark for these tiny plants and it is not yet clear how exactly the krill make it through these long dark winters. To better understand how these krill make it through the winter we are investigating what they are eating and how they are swimming. To measure what the krill are eating we are using the latest DNA technologies to sequence the DNA of all the prey in their stomachs. This lets us see what the krill are ate in the few minutes right before we caught them. To see how the krill swim, we are using an underwater 3D camera system. Information about how krill are swimming is important because it will affect how much energy they use up and therefor affect how much they need to eat. We worked in Antarctica last winter, collecting many samples and much data, and we are still working on figuring out what it all means. This coming summer (summer in Antarctica is in December – March) we are going back to collect more data and samples so we can compare what krill are doing in the summer with what they are doing in the winter. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs. We hope you enjoy following our adventure – and we look forward to reading comments from you!



The STRES science party from our winter cruise. 


4 thoughts on “About

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  4. Carley

    Wow your expedition sounds so exciting! I’m a second year college student and we are working on posters for my ecology class and I have chosen my poster to be based around how over-fishing of krill will vastly effect the ocean’s ecosystems. I was hoping that it would be possible for you to refer me to some sources that can give me some reliable knowledge on the subject. I hope to hear back from you soon! Good luck up there and stay warm!

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