2018-2019 Science Planning Summaries
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2018-2019 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

The omnivore’s dilemma: The effect of autumn diet on winter physiology and condition of juvenile Antarctic krill

no photo available
B-459-L/P Research Location(s): Palmer Station / Bransfield or Gerlache Straits


Event Number:
NSF/OPP Award 1753101

Program Manager:
Dr. Jennifer Burns / Dr. Christian Fritsen

ASC POC/Implementer:
Rachel Shackelford / Jamee Johnson

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Kim Sarah Bernard
Oregon State University
College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences
Corvallis, Oregon


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
Research Locations: Palmer Station / Bransfield or Gerlache Straits


Antarctic krill are essential in the Southern Ocean for supporting marine mammals, seabirds, and fishes. Antarctic krill are also a target species for industrial fisheries. The success of Antarctic krill populations is largely determined by the ability of their young to survive the long, dark winter when food is scarce. To survive the winter, young krill must have a high-quality diet in autumn. However, warming in certain parts of Antarctica is changing the dynamics and quality of the polar food web, resulting in a shift in the available food type. This project will study how warming is affecting young krill survival. The results derived from this work will contribute to the development of improved bioenergetic, population, and ecosystem models and will advance current scientific understanding of this critical Antarctic species.

Field Season Overview

A team of three will sail to Palmer Station on the ARSV Laurence M. Gould. While underway, they will collect krill with an Isaacs-Kidd Midwater Trawl (IKMT). The krill will be held in two large tanks. The tanks will be transferred to the aquarium room at Palmer Station, where they will be subjected to four different feeding treatments. The tanks will be stocked with cultured diatoms, maintained in an incubator in the lab, or with copepods, collected using a ring net from the Palmer Station pier or from a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB). At set time intervals, researchers will remove subsamples of actively swimming krill to make bioenergetics and biochemistry measurements.

Deploying Team Members

  • Kim Bernard (PI)
  • Kirsten Steinke