Distribution and demography of Antarctic krill in the Southeast Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean during the austral summer 2008
Krafft, B.A.; Melle, W.; Knutsen, T.; Bagoien, E.; Broms, C.; Ellertsen, B.; Siegel, V.
Polar Biology: 957-968
This study documents horizontal distribution and demography of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) from the Southern Ocean during January-March 2008. The cruise predominantly occurred in CCAMLR Subarea 48.6, where knowledge about the ecosystem is limited. E. superba were not found north of 52deg. S. The biomass, estimated from trawl catches, was highest (63.09 g/m2) at a station 680 km southeast of Bouvetoya and at two stations 1,400 and 600 km southeast and southwest of Bouvetoya, 54.67 and 61.38 g/m2, respectively. Body length ranged from 19 to 61 mm (N = 8,538), with a mean of 42.0 plus or minus 6.4 mm (SD). The overall sex ratio was 1:1, 46.2% males (13.2% adults and 33.0% subadults), 46.1% females (33.6% adults and 12.5% subadults), while 7.5% were juveniles. Trawl stations dominated by adults were found west and north of Bouvetoya. Stations with high proportions of subadults and juveniles were mainly found southeast of the island. Four cluster groups were differentiated: analyzing data on krill sex proportions, maturity stages, hydrography, nutrients and chlorophyll concentrations. Two groups represented stations located in the northern part of the study area, where E. superba were absent; water temperatures were higher and the nutrient concentrations lower compared to the groups where E. superba were present. This study shows that bathymetric features like the North Weddell Ridge including Bouvetoya are important for concentrating krill probably due to water mass characteristics and advective processes which influence regional krill demography. The southern regions of CCAMLR sector 48.6 are essential for understanding regional krill recruitment and production.