Krill or the importance of seemingly insignificant things

Antarctica is one of the six continents on Earth. Located at the South Pole is almost covered by ice. Representing 9% of land area and has 80% of the world’s fresh water.

Is influenced by the circumpolar front where cold surface water sinks beneath the warmer sub-Antarctic waters and moves from east to west. There is also an Antarctic coastal current clockwise. Both are involved in the homogeneous distribution of krill.

Krill is a small crustacean (Order Euphausiacea) living in the cold southern Atlantic and Pacific. This organisms are rich in vitamins and protein suitable for human consumption. They feed by filtering phytoplankton (tiny photosynthetic organisms).

There is evidence of some 90 different species. Antarctic krill is called Euphausia superba, different from the North Sea krill, Meganyctiphanes norvegica.

Despite not measuring more than 5 cm are the key species in the Antarctic ecosystem and in all trophic relationships existing for two main reasons. In one hand, suppose the mainstay of many Antarctic species, such as fish, whales, octopus, penguins and seals. In the other, they act as a biological pump (recycling of dead organic matter) and fixing carbon, preventing the renewal cycle of matter decoupling due to considerable depths of the Antarctic Ocean (up to 2,400 m).

The species that is behind an icy ecosystem, fits in the fingertip of our hand.



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