Circumpolar connections between Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana) populations: investigating the roles of ocean and sea ice transport

Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba Dana, has a heterogeneous circumpolar distribution in the Southern Ocean. Krill have a close association with sea ice which provides access to a critical food source and shelter, particularly in the early life stages. Advective modelling of transport pathways of krill have until now been on regional scales and have not taken explicit account of sea ice. Here we present Lagrangian modelling studies at the circumpolar scale that include interaction with sea ice. The advection scheme uses ocean velocity output from the Ocean Circulation and Climate Advanced Modelling (OCCAM) project model together with satellite-derived sea ice motion vectors to examine the potential roles of the ocean and sea ice in maintaining the observed circumpolar krill distribution. We show that the Antarctic Coastal Current is likely to be important in generating the large-scale distribution and that sea ice motion can substantially modify the ocean transport pathways, enhancing retention or dispersal depending upon location. Within the major krill region of the Scotia Sea, the effect of temporal variability in both the ocean and sea ice velocity fields is examined. Variability in sea ice motion increases variability of influx to South Georgia, at times concentrating the influx into pulses of arrival. This variability has implications for the ecosystem around the island. The inclusion of sea ice motion leads to the identification of source regions for the South Georgia krill populations additional to those identified when only ocean motion is considered. This study indicates that the circumpolar oceanic circulation and interaction with sea ice is important in determining the large-scale distribution of krill and its associated variability.


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Authors: Thorpe, S.E. ORCIDORCID record for S.E. Thorpe, Murphy, E.J. ORCIDORCID record for E.J. Murphy, Watkins, J.L.

On this site: Eugene Murphy, Jonathan Watkins, Sally Thorpe
1 February, 2007
Deep Sea Research I / 54
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