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Climate change and Antarctic krill

Krikke, M. (2009) Climate change and Antarctic krill. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The effects of climate change are getting more and more visible. Temperatures have risen extremely the last 50 years, especially at high latitudes. The circumpolar Southern Ocean experienced a temperature rise larger than those of all oceans on earth together. The Southern Ocean is habitat of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, a key stone species in the Antarctic ecosystem. The main goal of this thesis is therefore to examine the effect of climate change on krill stocks and the nutritional value of krill. Krill are under influence of climate change; krill stocks have declined severely the last 30 years. With global warming, sea ice extent, duration and timing are affected, which are important aspects in the different life history stages of krill. Ocean temperature also has an effect on krill. Phytoplankton communities are changing with negative effects on food availability for krill. As krill is a key stone species and thus an important nutritious food source for higher trophic levels, it is also important to examine the nutritional value of their food source, the microalgae. Krill feed mainly on diatoms, which may contain less essential fatty acids when temperatures increases. This could have a great impact on krill and their nutritional value, important for higher trophic levels of the Antarctic ecosystem. This however, is not fully examined yet. Overall, krill is affected by several processes which have changed due to climate change. The precise correlations are not clear and more research needs to be done on this important species and the whole ecosystem.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:29
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:29

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