Warming Oceans May Threaten Krill

Warming Oceans May Threaten Krill, a Cornerstone of the Antarctic Ecosystem



Some scientists worry that krill, one of the most abundant animal species on earth, may not be able to adapt to global warming. Credit Rob King/Australian Antarctic Division

SYDNEY, Australia — Every day for a week, So Kawaguchi peered intently into the jars of cold water holding harvested krill eggs. None were hatching. In his laboratory in Hobart, Tasmania, on the edge of the Southern Ocean, he could see that the carbon dioxide he had pumped into the icy seawater had killed the eggs.

“We thought the krill might be more robust,” said Dr. Kawaguchi, a biologist who works for the Australian government’s Antarctic Division. “We were not expecting such a clear result.”

Those key moments in his laboratory more than seven years ago were pivotal in the career of Dr. Kawaguchi, who has been studying krill for 25 years. His recent research has led to dire predictions about how global carbon emissions will significantly reduce the hatch rates of Antarctic krill over the next 100 years. Read more.