2020-2021 Science Planning Summaries
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2020-2021 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

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B-459-L/P Research Location(s): Palmer Station, Bransfeld or Gerlache Straits


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Maria Vernet

ASC POC/Implementer:
Rachel Shackelford / Jamee Johnson

Principal Investigator(s)

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


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station
Research Locations: Palmer Station, Bransfeld 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 the current scientific understanding of this critical Antarctic species.

Field Season Overview

Three team members will deploy people to Palmer Station on the station turnover cruise this season, to be joined by a fourth team member at a later date. They will collect krill from the waters off Palmer Station and will conduct in situ sampling of local krill populations. Sampling may be conducted from the ARSV Laurence M. Gould, from a SOLAS skiff using small dipnets to scrape the underside of ice floes or, if the sea ice has formed and is safe to work on, they may also collect samples through holes cut in the ice.

Deploying Team Members

  • Kim Bernard (PI)
  • Victor Escalona
  • Kristen Steinke