Sensitivity analysis identifies high influence sites for estimates of penguin krill consumption on the Antarctic Peninsula
Krill consumption by natural predators represents a critical link between surveys and models of
standing krill biomass and the design of a sustainable krill fishery for the Scotia Sea. Antarctic krill
(Euphausia superba) is a significant component of diet for penguins breeding in this region and, consequently,
uncertainties regarding penguin population abundances contribute to uncertainties in krill predation estimates.
We use a comprehensive database of Antarctic penguin abundances to identify 14 breeding colonies that
contribute most significantly to uncertainty regarding the total number of pygoscelid penguins breeding in this
region. We find that a high quality survey of Zavodovski Island alone would decrease uncertainty in total
population by 24.8%, whereas high quality surveys of all 14 ‘‘high-influence’’ locations would decrease
uncertainty by almost 72%. Updated population estimates at these sites should be considered top priority for
future fieldwork in the region. Our results are based on a robust quantitative method for assessing data
priorities in estimating krill consumption that is easily extended to other groups of krill predators.
Authors: Lynch, Heather J., Ratcliffe, Norman, Passmore, Jennifer, Foster, Emma, Trathan, Philip N.