Plans are now underway to establish a new laboratory that will provide a platform to understand the future impacts of climate change on the species to meet a key Australian Government commitment from the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.
The AAD, in cooperation with the University of Tasmania is working to establish a Southern Ocean research aquarium at the existing Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) site in Taroona.
Plans for the facility’s external structure or ‘cold shell’ were recently approved by the Commonwealth Public Works Committee.
More approvals are still required for the internal fit-out of the facility to provide the research capabilities.
AAD marine scientist Rob King said Antarctic krill are critical to the Southern Ocean food chain and marine life.
“Antarctic Krill biomass is the greatest of any wild animal species on earth and accounts for one fortieth of the collective biomass of all animal life on earth,” Mr King said.
“Antarctic krill play a huge role as the primary diet for whales, penguins and seals.
“Our work is to understand krill biology in a rapidly changing environment due to climate change.
“This aquarium will extend our knowledge on the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on krill reproduction.”