Food chain in the seas of the South
The population of krill -a small crustacean that is the preferred food of whales, penguins, seals and sea birds- has dropped by 80% since the nineteen seventies on the Antarctic Continent
. Now, according to a scientific study by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), this special category of fauna "could be endangered".
The BAS study was published in the British scientific journal Nature
. Data collected in the Antarctic by nine countries over forty summers during the 1926-1939 and 1976-2003 periods, were compared. The likely cause of this reduction would be the drop in total ice volume
, probably caused by global warming
Most krill colonies are concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula that reaches up towards the South American Continent. This is precisely one of the areas of the planet where the temperature has changed the most
. "That peninsula is one of the areas of the planet where average temperature has increased most: over 2 degrees Celsius
. What has varied most is not the maximum, but the minimum temperature, which is what influences the forming of ice," as explained yesterday to Clarin
by Irene Schloss, a Doctor in Biology Science and a researcher at Conicet and at the Argentine Antarctic Institute.
Doctor Gustavo Gonzalez Bonorino, the Director of the Southern Center for Scientific Research (Cadic), is not able to explain with due "scientific rigor" why this should be happening on this particular peninsula. "One can only speculate that this is due to the influence of the warmer ocean current that touches the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, and has now changed course to follow the coast of the Antarctic Continent." However, it is a fact that this drop in ice formation has not been observed on every part of the continent.