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Business as usual for Antarctic krill despite increasing ocean acidification

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A new Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)-led study has found that Antarctic krill are resilient to the increasing acidification of the ocean as it absorbs more C02 from the atmosphere due to anthropogenic carbon emissions.

Krill are one of the most abundant organisms on Earth and a critical part of the Southern Ocean marine ecosystem.

While previous studies indicate some life stages of Antarctic krill may be vulnerable to ocean acidification, the research published in the Nature journal Communications Biology found that adult krill were largely unaffected by ocean acidification levels predicted within the next 100-300 years.

The study’s lead author, IMAS PhD student Jess Ericson, said the long-term laboratory study was the first of its kind.

“Our study found that adult krill can survive, grow and mature when exposed for up to one year to ocean acidification levels that can be expected this century,” Ms Ericson said.

“We reared adult krill in laboratory tanks for 46 weeks in seawater with a range of pH levels, including those in the present day, levels predicted within 100-300 years, and up to an extreme level.

“We measured a suite of physiological and biochemical variables to investigate how future ocean acidification may affect the survival, size, lipid stores, reproduction, metabolism and extracellular fluid of...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.