Trust Magazine

Antarctic Krill

The big picture

In this Issue:

  • Fall 2022
  • Antarctic Krill
  • Follow The Facts
  • From Research Comes Change
  • How the American Middle Class Has Changed
  • How to Translate Questions for International Surveys
  • Robert Anderson “Andy” Pew
  • Land and River Conservation Can Be a Rallying Point for Our Divided Nation
  • The "Sandwich Generation"
  • Nonprofits Fill the Gap in Statehouse News Coverage
  • Follow the Facts
  • Noteworthy
  • Private Lands Are the Next Battleground
  • The Complexities of Race and Identity
  • Return on Investment
  • The FDA Needs More Information on Supplements
  • Tracking Marine Megafauna to Guide Ocean Conservation
  • When the Water Rises
  • View All Other Issues
Antarctic Krill
Justin Hofman Alamy

Through a microscope, an Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) resembles an alien creature from a science fiction movie. But in real-life size, these pink and semitransparent crustaceans are really small—measuring just 2 inches long on average. Their size belies their enormous role in the health of the Southern Ocean’s ecosystem, where krill are the undisputed center of the Antarctic marine food web. They travel in swarms—tens of thousands in a square yard—and are a main food source for a variety of the region’s best-known animals, from whales and seals to penguins. Even animals that don’t eat them directly, such as leopard seals and orcas, subsist on creatures that do. These relatives of shrimp also feed on carbon-capturing algae at the ocean’s surface, dropping their carbon-filled waste near the seafloor, which reduces carbon in the atmosphere and helps to reduce the effects of climate change. For all of these reasons, The Pew Charitable Trusts has worked for years to safeguard krill and their environment.

Krill
Krill
Quiz

Test Your Knowledge on Krill

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Quiz

The total weight of all Antarctic krill—a tiny yet mighty zooplankton--is greater than the cumulative weight of any other animal species on the planet except for humans. Krill provide 96% of the calories for seabirds and mammals in the Antarctic Peninsula, and the krill fishery is the largest in Antarctica, providing roughly 450,000 metric tonnes in 2020 alone.

Podcast

Event Rebroadcast: The Southern Ocean—Where Sport, Diplomacy, and Marine Protected Areas Meet

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Podcast

They include Adélie and emperor penguins that depend on the nutrient-rich waters that surround the continent. In 2016, 24 countries and the European Union created the world’s largest marine protected area—encompassing 1.9 million square miles—in the Ross Sea. In this rebroadcast of a Pew event, the former president of Costa Rica and other ocean conservationists discuss the need to give other Antarctic waters this same protection.

Robert Anderson “Andy” Pew Follow the Facts