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Understanding the variability in the iron concentration of Antarctic krill


Ratnarajah, L and Nicol, S and Kawaguchi, S and Townsend, AT and Lannuzel, D and Meiners, KM and Bowie, AR, Understanding the variability in the iron concentration of Antarctic krill, Limnology and Oceanography, 61, (5) pp. 1651-1660. ISSN 0024-3590 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

DOI: doi:10.1002/lno.10322


Antarctic krill may play a significant role in the Southern Ocean iron cycle. However, understanding the control on iron budgets by Antarctic krill is hampered by the large range in the reported iron concentration of krill. The aim of this study was to investigate the causes of the large range of iron concentrations in krill reported in the literature (6190 mg kg−1). Antarctic krill samples were collected from three research voyages to Pyrdz Bay, Antarctica, and analysed individually. Iron concentrations were measured using sector field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in whole krill specimens and in the isolated stomach, digestive gland, muscle, body (whole krill excluding stomach and digestive gland), exoskeleton and faecal pellets. Iron concentrations in stomach (698 mg/kg), digestive gland (1482 mg kg−1), and faecal pellet (6831039 mg kg−1) were higher compared to muscle (47 mg kg−1), exoskeleton (615 mg kg−1), and body (418 mg kg−1) indicating that krill may ingest more iron than they require for physiological processes. Iron concentrations in whole krill from March 2012 (10  3 mg kg−1) were significantly lower compared to February 2003 (19  7 mg kg−1) and February 2015 (18  12 mg kg−1). Overall, the iron concentrations in krill from this study were consistently at the lower end of the published range. We propose that the large range in reported whole iron concentrations of krill can be accounted for by a combination of seasonal and regional differences in sampling, reflecting differences in the quantity and quality of their diet.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic krill, iron, seasonal and regional variability, diet
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Chemical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Measurement and assessment of marine water quality and condition
UTAS Author:Ratnarajah, L (Ms Lavenia Ratnarajah)
UTAS Author:Nicol, S (Dr Stephen Nicol)
UTAS Author:Townsend, AT (Associate Professor Ashley Townsend)
UTAS Author:Lannuzel, D (Associate Professor Delphine Lannuzel)
UTAS Author:Meiners, KM (Dr Klaus Meiners)
UTAS Author:Bowie, AR (Professor Andrew Bowie)
ID Code:109374
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2016-06-10
Last Modified:2017-11-17

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