2012-2013 Science Planning Summaries
U.S. Antarctic Program - Science Support Section United States Antarctic Program United States Antarctic Program Logo National Science Foundation Logo
Euphausia superba feeding using DNA analysis of gut contents

Program Manager:
Dr. Charles Amsler


ASC POC/Implementer:

Dr. Edward G Durbin (Principal Investigator)
http://krillcruise.wordpress.com/External Non U.S. Government Site

University of Rhode Island
Graduate School of Oceanography
Narragansett, Rhode Island

Supporting Stations:  RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer
Research Locations:  

Project Description:
The overall goal of this project is to investigate krill (Euphausia superba) in-situ feeding and swimming behavior in the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) region during austral spring and early summer. This will cover the period when phytoplankton is likely to be the major prey. Researchers will also investigate whether alternative food resources, such as benthos or zooplankton, may form an important component of krill diets. Four specific objectives are proposed: (1) To determine how the oceanographic environment structures krill prey distributions and the associations of krill with these; (2) To use the DNA approach to determine the in-situ consumption of all prey by krill collected in the WAP during the spring phytoplankton bloom; (3) To determine the in-situ feeding rates of E. superba diet on abundant prey items; (4) To determine both the smaller- and larger-scale prey fields and how the distribution patterns of krill are related.

Field Season Overview:
Researchers will sail on NBP14-10 from Punta Arenas, Chile to their research sites off the Western Antarctic Peninsula. They will collect samples using a conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) sensor, a one-meter Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System (MOCNESS), and ring nets. Based on patterns of krill distribution they will then choose locations to carry out both day and night sampling to characterize phytoplankton, zooplankton, and krill in the water column, determine prey consumed in situ, and make in-situ swimming observations using an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) and camera, both in the water column and at the benthic-water column interface. In addition, krill will be captured and maintained in aquaria on board for shipboard digestion-rate experiments.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Richard Bell
  • Bonnie Blalock
  • David Casagrande
  • Maria Casas
  • Gang Chen
  • Alison Cleary
  • Samantha DeCuollo
  • Michelle Dennis
  • Edward Durbin (PI)
  • Rebecca Graham
  • Rachel Greene
  • Thomas Heath II
  • Gabrielle Inglis
  • Bethany Jenkins
  • Mary Kane
  • Iain McCoy
  • Susanne Menden-Deuer (Co-PI)
  • Michael Orchard
  • Christopher Roman (Co-PI)
  • Tatiana Rynearson (Co-PI)
  • Kerry Whittaker
  • Meng Zhou (Co-PI)
  • Xiaoshan Zhu
  • Yiwu Zhu

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Curator: Esther L. Hill PhD, Antarctic Support Contract   |   NSF Official: Alexandra Isern, Office of Polar Programs