Antarctic video gallery
Dr So Kawaguchi: This is very exciting. Knowing the age of krill is a very very long research questions - more than 50 years, because krill doesn't have any hard parts that record their age. To find out their age, we used eye stalks.
What we did was to slice those eye stalks into really thin slices and then polish it, and then count the annual bands that have been created. The concept is the same as the annual tree rings.
Krill is the fundamental food source for most of the higher predators, like whales, penguins, seals, in the Antarctic Ocean.
If there's any change in krill populations, that will certainly have a fundamental impact in the structure of the ecosystem itself. So it's really important to know how old the krill are, because that will be used for the fisheries management. We can actually retrospectively go in to preserve samples, like about a hundred years ago, and then compare with the recent krill - we'll be able to better predict what may happen in this changing environment into the future.
Australia Day 2017 - Casey research station
Davis research station 60th anniversary
Under the sea ice in Antarctica
Glenn Johnstone - biologist
We’re diving under the sea ice in O’Brien Bay, south of Casey research station in East Antarctica.
This is a thriving, colourful world filled with sponges, sea cucumbers, sea spiders, worms, algae and starfish.
Here we are at 30 m below the surface, where the water temperature is a chilly −1.5°C year round, and the sea is covered by ice that is a metre and a half thick for more than 10 months of the year. This ice provides protection from Antarctica’s harsh weather conditions and a stable marine environment that allows biodiversity to flourish.
It is important biodiversity like you see here that is the focus of our research into the effects of climate change and ocean acidification.
Here at the Australian Antarctic Division, we are working hard to ensure the continent remains valued, protected and understood.
Work and live in Antarctica. Apply today!
Deep-field air drop supports Antarctic science
Eye in the sky - Drone footage from Voyage 1 2016/17
Flying Krill video
Rob King – krill biologist
The research we’re doing is all about understanding what’s actually happening in the Southern Ocean. While we have closed the life cycle in the lab, and we can rear the eggs and the offspring in the lab, it could be different using eggs from the actual Southern Ocean that have received the nutrition that the animals are receiving in the Southern Ocean as opposed to the lab population.
If we can catch krill going into Casey station on the Aurora Australis, we’ll unload them into IBCs which are 1,000-litre bulk liquid carriers. When the flight comes in, they’ll be taken out of here, loaded onto sleds, and then wrapped in a thermal blanket so that they won’t freeze on the way up to the airport. They’ve got to make a three-hour drive on a sled up into temperatures that are minus-20 or minus-30, so this is going way out of the comfort zone for krill, and then try and fly those back using the C-17. We return krill to Australia from the Southern Ocean within about a day-and-a-half of being caught. That’ll bring perfect quality eggs to the laboratory in Hobart, which is something we’ve never had before; wild reared eggs.
We need to study these krill because they’re the principal part of the Antarctic ecosystem. They’re like the keystone species. They feed on 250 species of plants in the ocean, the phytoplankton, and then they pass that energy up to all the charismatic megafauna; the things like whales and seals and penguins. If something happens to the krill population and they’re not there, all of these vertebrate predators are affected, so it’s very important to understand it, especially with climate change occurring now.