ANTARCTIC KRILL: Persistent organic pollutants in krill from the Bellingshausen, South Scotia, and Weddell Seas / PCBs, PBDEs and PCDD/Fs are now found in krill from the Southern Ocean around the Antarctic Peninsula.

Shackleton Ice Shelf area, interesting vortex above Russian Station MIRNYY, with unusual strange pink from contrast etc. enhancement…                                                                                                     

VSF:  This article is an introduction to the ANTARCTIC KRILL (Euphausia superba). Our oceans are dying. Because krill rely on plankton for food, and whales and other animals feed on the krill, the presence of the parasite may have unknown effects on the broader food chain structures of the cold Southern waters. And loss of the Krill is potentially catastrophic to all life on our planet.

A Chinese report from XINHUANET says that in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, researchers from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) have found the plankton-killing parasite in unprecedented levels – up to 50 percent of living matter in samples.The syndiniales parasite exists inside phytoplankton and once it has infected a cell, will eventually kill it, while the cell will burst, and go on to infect other cells.So it appears that not only are the Krill at risk, but a  plankton-killing parasite is on the increase. 

ANTARCTIC KRILL (Euphausia superba): Small Big Secrets of Antarctica
The Maritime Herald / Nov.5, 2018

… during my second expedition with the Colombian Antarctic Program in 2017, I notice something very strange: during the whole month, I practically did not see krill. I ask in all the research stations. Them neither. 

According to scientists, krill biomass is equivalent to almost all the weight of humans on the planet, although an expert in insects or microbes might not agree. The point is that 70% of that biomass is right here on the Peninsula. No wonder this is the place where the whales come to eat.

Most people live in total disregard for Antarctic krill with the scientific name of Euphausia superba and it is the cornerstone of this ecosystem. In turn, the existence of the crustacean is possible thanks to the gigantic concentration of diatoms, or algae of a cell that is in these cold polar waters and that is its food.

Microscopic views, diatoms look like tiny cushions and crystalline boxes for pills, puffs with radial patterns of pores, protuberances and all kinds of ornaments. They are tiny but they are not simple or primitive, but advanced plants that began to populate the sea 140 million years ago.

Marine biologist James McClintock, who has been working at the Palmer research station for decades, explains that every summer diatoms, absorbing the sun’s energy, produce a photosynthetic pigment called diatoms that accelerates melting.

Then McClintock tells me something amazing: by gently warming their immediate environment, these unicellular algae alter global weather patterns thousands of miles away. Indirectly, but inexorably, these humble and powerful algae are at the same time capable of affecting the soybean crops in southern Brazil, the fishery on the Colombian coasts and the dry winds on the Mexican deserts.

Your destiny is directly linked to ours. And here is another subjugating fact: there are more diatoms than stars in the universe.

If something happened to this tiny crustacean, it would have repercussions not only on the whales but on seals, penguins, fish and squid. Here the entire food chain is based on krill. It is the only link between the diatom and a hundred-ton blue whale, that is, between single-celled algae and the largest of all animals. The numbers that support these links are amazing: an adult blue whale eats up to three tonnes of krill a day during the four months of the Antarctic summer. Humpback whales, whose numbers are recovering thanks to international protection, consume about 400 kilos per day. Until recently it was said that there is enough krill to satisfy the appetite of all its guests.

But now that krill is commercially exploited in Antarctica, there is an important need to be careful with the resource. Their meat has 10% protein, and since the 70s the Russians have added their flour to the daily bread of the workers. It is said to be the panacea for proteins for the people of sub-Saharan Africa while garnishing Japanese rice crackers and also being touted as a powerful source of Omega-3.

The question is indispensable: Could a massive exploitation, together with changes in temperature and water chemistry, affect the density and distribution of Antarctic krill with all its consequences?

Small Big Secrets of Antarctica


Antarctic Peninsula, Ronne Ice Shelf, Weddell Sea area, and Queen Maud Land

VSF: This paper reports the fact that PCBs, PBDEs and PCDD/Fs are now found in krill from the Southern Ocean around the Antarctic Peninsula.

Persistent organic pollutants in krill from the Bellingshausen, South Scotia, and Weddell Seas
Author links open overlay panelCristóbal J.Galbán-Malagónab
• PCBs, PBDEs and PCDD/Fs were measured in krill from the Southern Ocean around the Antarctic Peninsula.
• BAFs for PCBs were correlated with KOW, consistent with krill-water equilibrium.
• The settling flux of POPs is larger than their transfer from phytoplankton to krill.

January 1, 2018
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) reach Antarctica through atmospheric transport, oceanic currents, and to minor extent, by migratory animals. The Southern Ocean is a net sink for many POPs, with a key contribution of the settling fluxes of POPs bound to organic matter (biological pump). However, little is known about POP transfer through the food web in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic waters, where krill is an important ecological node. In this study, we assessed the occurrence of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) from the Bellingshausen, South Scotia and Weddell Seas around the Antarctic Peninsula.

The concentrations of PCDD/Fs, PBDEs and PCBs in krill showed a large variability and the average were higher (generally within a factor 3) than those previously reported for eastern Antarctica. This result highlights regional differences related to atmospheric transport and deposition, and also probable regional sources due to human activities. Bioaccumulation and biomagnification factors for PCBs in krill were estimated using previously reported phytoplankton and seawater concentrations for this region.

These suggested a near water-krill equilibrium for PCBs, which was not observed for water-phytoplankton partitioning. The estimated removal settling fluxes of PCBs due to the biological pump were several orders of magnitude higher than the estimated fluxes of PCBs transferred from phytoplankton to krill.

Ross Sea area, McMurdo Station, Ross Island, etc.                                 

Ross Sea area, McMurdo Station, Ross Island, etc.                                 

ANTARCTIC KRILL: Potential Climate Change Effects on the Habitat of Antarctic Krill in the Weddell Quadrant of the Southern Ocean
Simeon L. Hill , Tony Phillips,  Angus Atkinson / Published: August 21, 2013

Antarctic krill is a cold water species, an increasingly important fishery resource and a major prey item for many fish, birds and mammals in the Southern Ocean. The fishery and the summer foraging sites of many of these predators are concentrated between 0° and 90°W. Parts of this quadrant have experienced recent localised sea surface warming of up to 0.2°C per decade, and projections suggest that further widespread warming of 0.27° to 1.08°C will occur by the late 21st century.

We assessed the potential influence of this projected warming on Antarctic krill habitat with a statistical model that links growth to temperature and chlorophyll concentration. The results divide the quadrant into two zones: a band around the Antarctic Circumpolar Current in which habitat quality is particularly vulnerable to warming, and a southern area which is relatively insensitive.

Our analysis suggests that the direct effects of warming could reduce the area of growth habitat by up to 20%. The reduction in growth habitat within the range of predators, such as Antarctic fur seals, that forage from breeding sites on South Georgia could be up to 55%, and the habitat’s ability to support Antarctic krill biomass production within this range could be reduced by up to 68%.

Sensitivity analysis suggests that the effects of a 50% change in summer chlorophyll concentration could be more significant than the direct effects of warming. A reduction in primary production could lead to further habitat degradation but, even if chlorophyll increased by 50%, projected warming would still cause some degradation of the habitat accessible to predators. While there is considerable uncertainty in these projections, they suggest that future climate change could have a significant negative effect on Antarctic krill growth habitat and, consequently, on Southern Ocean biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The projected effects of plausible SST warming on Antarctic krill growth habitat are mainly negative. Under all RCPs that we considered, the projections imply a decrease in habitat quality over the 21st century, particularly in the ACC. Our analysis suggests that these effects could be mitigated to some extent if warming leads to an overall increase in chlorophyll production. Habitat quality could improve in some marine areas close to the Antarctic continent even under the most extreme warming scenario. However this is unlikely to mitigate the negative impacts within the foraging ranges of birds and seals breeding at South Georgia.

… Any degradation of Antarctic krill growth habitat in the ACC is likely to have consequences for predators at South Georgia. Analysis of foodweb models suggests that predators able to take advantage of copepod production might be relatively unaffected by a severe reduction in Antarctic krill availability, but that the majority of air-breathing predator populations at South Georgia would probably experience significant declines [15].

The Antarctic krill fishery took 68% of its total catch between 1980 and 2011 from the area of projected severe habitat degradation [18]. Future climate change could therefore have a significant negative effect on Southern Ocean ecosystem services as well as biodiversity. A recommendation that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which is responsible for managing the Antarctic krill fishery, should increase consideration of climate change impacts in its management decisions was made in 1992 [61] but it was not until 2009 that the Commission resolved to do so (

We suggest that there is a need for more rapid progress in developing methods for evaluating climate change impacts in parallel with improved regional climate projections, and for adaptation to and management of the risks to the Southern Ocean ecosystem that climate change implies.


An interesting vortex above the Russian Station MIRNYY in the Shackleton Ice Shelf area
unusual strange pink with contrast enhancement…


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