Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, is a keystone species of the Antarctic ecosystem. A fishery for krill may compete with land-based predators (penguins and seals), particularly during the breeding season. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is moving towards management in small scale units. The management models specify predation and fishing mortality as space and time dependent but do not yet include non-predation natural mortality. Krill are known to be highly susceptible to ultraviolet radiation (UV) but there are limited empirical data. We develop a model for krill mortality caused by UV and parameterize and assess it by comparison with experimental data. The analysis allows us to identify key parameters that should be measured in future experiments and also leads to suggestions about modification of experimental procedure. We illustrate the method for krill found in the Livingston Island area and show that (a) it is possible to estimate the component of natural mortality due to UV-induced damage and (b) that cohorts born in 1979, 1984, or 1997 have different survival in the first 5 years of life, associated with differential UV exposure. In particular, those born in 1997 may have experienced as much as 10% lower survival than those born in 1979. The method developed here allows a potentially important source of krill mortality to be incorporated into the management models and suggests key experiments and field work in the future.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecological Modeling
- Fishery management
- Ultraviolet radiation