Share on FacebookShare on TwitterPin it on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare via email

There is a tiny creature that lives in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica. It weighs about the same as a big pinch of salt (two grams). It is so numerous that it has been called the biggest living mass on our planet. Huge swarms can be seen from space! These swarms are so tightly packed together that if you had a glass box that was one metre tall, one metre wide and one metre deep you could fit 30,000 of these tiny creatures into it.

These tiny creatures are called krill!

They look like a miniature prawn. They form the basis of the food web in Antarctica. All animals depend on krill for their survival.

Krill eat phytoplankton (tiny ocean plants) and zooplankton (tiny ocean creatures), squid eat krill, penguins eat krill and squid, fish eat krill and other fish, seals eat krill, fish and squid, Leopard seals eat krill, squid, fish and penguins.

Humpback whales eat krill, Skuas (birds) eat krill, fish, penguin eggs and penguin chicks, Petrels (birds) eat fish, squid, krill and penguins. Albatross eat fish an

d squid, Killer whales eat squid, fish, penguins, seals and other whales. So without krill in the Southern ocean life would be very different.

Recent reports have shown that the warming of the ocean is causing changes to the food web, weather and land. There is more moisture in the air. This is bringing more snow. Rain has been recorded for the very first time by the Australian scientists.

More snow falls affects, ‘nesting birds when it falls during their incubation period, burying their eggs in the cold snow.’ 

Click here to return to the Arctic & Antarctic Toolbox