Deep-sea krill discovered in Antarctica
February 25, 2008
"While most krill make their living in the ocean's surface waters, the new findings revise significantly our understanding of the depth distribution and ecology of Antarctic krill. It was a surprise to observe actively-feeding adult krill, including females that were apparently ready to spawn, close to the seabed in deep water," said Professor Andrew Clarke of the British Antarctic Survey, which along with the National Oceanography Centre-Southampton, conducted the research using a remotely operated vehicle (RoV).
Krill. Photograph courtesy of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary
The researchers say the discovery provides an important lesson for marine research.
"The behaviour of marine organisms - even quite 'primitive' ones - can be complex and more varied than we usually assume," said Clarke. "There is still a great deal to learn about the deep sea and an important role for exploration in our attempts to understand the world we live in."
In the Antarctic, Krill are an important food source for whales, seals, penguins, squid, and fish. In the Southern Ocean the Antarctic Krill makes up a biomass of over 500 million tons, roughly twice that of humans, according the Wikipedia.
The research is published in the journal Current Biology.