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Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification


Kawaguchi, S and Ishida, A and King, R and Raymond, B and Waller, N and Constable, A and Nicol, S and Wakita, M and Ishimatsu, A, Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification, Nature Climate Change, 3, (9) pp. 843-847. ISSN 1758-678X (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/nclimate1937


Marine ecosystems of the Southern Ocean are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification. Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba; hereafter krill) is the key pelagic species of the region and its largest fishery resource. There is therefore concern about the combined effects of climate change, ocean acidification and an expanding fishery on krill and ultimately, their dependent predators - whales, seals and penguins. However, little is known about the sensitivity of krill to ocean acidification. Juvenile and adult krill are already exposed to variable seawater carbonate chemistry because they occupy a range of habitats and migrate both vertically and horizontally on a daily and seasonal basis. Moreover, krill eggs sink from the surface to hatch at 700-1,000 m (ref.), where the carbon dioxide partial pressure (p CO 2) in sea water is already greater than it is in the atmosphere. Krill eggs sink passively and so cannot avoid these conditions. Here we describe the sensitivity of krill egg hatch rates to increased CO 2, and present a circumpolar risk map of krill hatching success under projected p CO 2 levels. We find that important krill habitats of the Weddell Sea and the Haakon VII Sea to the east are likely to become high-risk areas for krill recruitment within a century. Furthermore, unless CO 2 emissions are mitigated, the Southern Ocean krill population could collapse by 2300 with dire consequences for the entire ecosystem. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic krill, Southern Ocean, Marine ecosystems, risk maps
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Kawaguchi, S (Dr So Kawaguchi)
UTAS Author:Constable, A (Dr Andrew Constable)
UTAS Author:Nicol, S (Dr Stephen Nicol)
ID Code:88093
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:127
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2014-01-11
Last Modified:2014-05-12

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