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A comparison of krill species (Krill)

The Arctic is clearly experiencing pronounced changes in faunal composition caused by Northward transport of Southern species and communities. In particular, the waters and fjords of West-Spitsbergen are sensitive ecological indicators of climatically caused shifts in species and associated food web composition because the archipelago is influenced

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Project date

Starts
2009-06-01

Ends
2015-12-31

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Project type

  • field work
  • long-term monitoring

Discipline

  • marine biology

Project Keywords

  • oceans / marine biology / marine invertebrates

Fieldwork information

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Type Period From To Coordinates Station Location
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Summary

The Arctic is clearly experiencing pronounced changes in faunal composition caused by Northward transport of Southern species and communities. In particular, the waters and fjords of West-Spitsbergen are sensitive ecological indicators of climatically caused shifts in species and associated food web composition because the archipelago is influenced by both polar as well as warmer Atlantic currents. In a comparison with a plankton study from a decade ago, the impact of warming has increased markedly and the species spectrum has changed considerably. Studies of growth and reproduction of krill species indicated, however, that the food supply constrains the condition and survival of such key species as strongly as temperature. Consequences for climatically caused changes of the food webs are investigated taking several euphausiid species as indicators. Goals for the upcoming season May/June 2010 Research in other areas show that krill coordinate growth and reproductive phases closely with the seasonal trophic regime and react in a coordinated way particularly to pulses of production. This is to be further tested in Thysanoessa species and partly the Southern Meganyctiphanes which are found in the Kongsfjorden (Weslawski, et al. 2000, and pers. observ.). Further clues will be obtained by comparison in how far synchronisation of physiological processes is dependent of the local trophic and thermal regime being differentially influenced by cold polar to warmer Atlantic water masses. Consequences for climatically caused changes of the food webs will be considered. The baseline study is being extended to assess effects of seasonality on zooplankton response. Within physiological analysis, respiration measurements will give additional information on environmental cues.

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