, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 57-62

Growth of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba at South Georgia

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Abstract

 Antarctic krill Euphausia superba has a central role in the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean and knowledge of its growth rate is central to determining the factors influencing population dynamics. The length of Antarctic krill in the diet of Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella at South Georgia revealed a consistent increase in size between ca. 42 and ca. 54 mm over the period October–March, indicating growth rates much higher than predicted by existing models. Geographical variation in growth rate may result in 2-year-old krill at South Georgia attaining the same size as 3-year-old krill in the Antarctic Peninsula region. The effect of geographical variation in growth rate on the population structure of krill has important implications for comparing the fate of individual cohorts over large scales and in the interpretation of krill life-cycles.

Received: 20 May 2000 / Accepted: 11 August 2000