Krill is a small shrimplike planktonic crustacean of the open seas. It is eaten by a number of larger animals, particularly the baleen whales, but also seals and penguins. They may be small, but they play a significant role in the food chain of Antarctic. A new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds that as the climate change warms the Southern Ocean and changes sea ice patterns, the suitability for the krill to hatch could drop quickly.

The krill population in the Antarctic waters has over the last 40 years dropped by 70 to 80 percent, and therefore scientists are very concerned about the impact future climate change might have because of its key role in the food chain.

Another threat to the population is the fishing of Krill. The International Union of Nature said that 300,000 tons of krill is caught every year and used for famed fish and Omega-3 oil supplements.

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Add this to the fact that sea temperature has risen by three degrees in the past 50 years, you understand the threat to the krill population in the Antarctic and what the consequences can be for the biodiversity in the area. Penguins, seals and whales in the Southern Ocean are already threatened by a declining krill population!

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