Zooplankton Research Program
Zooplankton research in the US AMLR Program focuses on the link between prey production, availability, and climate variability in relation to predator and fishery demands. Annual studies include estimates of krill abundance, and experiments to develop and enhance hydro-acoustic methodologies. Long-term objectives include quantifying the inter-annual and decadal meso‑scale (10's to 100's of kilometers) variability in water mass structure, phytoplankton biomass and productivity, and zooplankton (especially krill) associated with potential basin scale climate forcing. Conversely, the micro‑scale (1 to 10's of kilometers) features of the distribution and abundance of krill within the foraging range of krill predators breeding at Cape Shirreff and Admiralty Bay is also studied to resolve local and remote forcing effects on predator foraging success.
Transect surveys (see also Field Surveys) are conducted using hydro-acoustic methodologies to map the meso-scale dispersion of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) in the vicinity of the South Shetlands. A multi-frequency echo sounder is configured wtih down-looking 38, 70, 120 and 200kHz split-beam transducers. Data are processed using SonarData Echoview software (shown at left).
The zooplankton studies are directed by Dr. Christian Reiss of the AERD.