2022-2023 Science Planning Summary
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2022-2023 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Collaborative Research: Individual based approaches to understanding krill distributions and aggregations

Antarctic Krill. Photo by Dan Costa. Image courtesy of NSF/USAP Photo Library. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
B-198-L/N/P Research Location(s): ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station


Event Number:

Program Manager:
Dr. Maria Vernet

ASC POC/Implementer:
David Rivera / Jamee Johnson

Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. Marc Joel Weissburg
Georgia Institute of Technology
Department of Biology


Supporting Stations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer, Palmer Station
Research Locations: ARSV Laurence M. Gould, Palmer Station


Antarctic krill are an important component of the Southern Ocean’s food web, yet little is known about their behavior in response to relevant environmental conditions. This project will examine individual responses to light, flow, and attractive and repulsive chemical cues. Analysis of the data will be used to better understand krill swimming and schooling, predict preferred environments, define the capacity of krill to detect and move toward or away from chemical cues. These data will establish better parameters for models of krill energetics. Linking individual behavior to aggregations will also improve assessments of krill acoustic data. The project will increase our understanding of high latitude ecosystems and their capacity to respond to environmental perturbations, as well as provide information for krill fisheries management.

Field Season Overview

In early October, four participants will conduct net tows for krill from ARSV Laurence M. Gould to begin experiments at Palmer Station. Additional tows may be conducted as needed in November via the RV/IB Nathaniel B. Palmer to supplement existing krill stocks. Additional net tows for krill will be conducted from Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) at Palmer Station. Krill will be stored at ambient ocean temperature in two of the indoor aquarium tanks. Flume experiments will occur inside a dedicated environmental room with access to sea water and a sink. Penguin guano will be collected in both seasons from nearby colonies for predator avoidance experiments. The guano collection can be conducted in collaboration with the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research birding team.

Deploying Team Members

  • David Fields (Co-PI)
  • Sanjib Gurung
  • Nicole Hellessey
  • Carlyn Scott
  • Marc Weissburg (PI)