Saturday, 21 July 2018

How Strange,

only yesterday Mark and myself were chatting,

and for some reason the subject of krill came up, and then today I have read that a book devoted to krill has been published, Stephen Nicol’s book The Curious Life of Krill gives 176 fascinating pages of all things krill—specifically the Antarctic krill, which is not microscopic and can be about the length of your thumb—bringing the biology and beauty of this animal to life. Called an ode to an underappreciated crustacean, Nicol’s book deftly explains the animal’s life history and critical place in marine ecosystems, 

the species’ adults are only 2.5 inches long, but represent one of the most abundant creatures on Earth by biomass, taking up 500 million metric tons. (Humans collectively weigh about 100 million.) They’re the main food source for blue whales and the confusingly named crabeater seal. Krill droppings are likely a major component of the carbon cycle. And though they’re not exactly convenient sustenance for humans, they’re an integral part of the multimillion-dollar fishing industry, humans are slowly raising the temperature of oceans where krill live. We also fishing 620,000 metric tons of them annually. Many researchers are worried that these factors will destroy krill, with drastic effects on other species. Others like Stephen Nicol, a mostly retired biologist at the University of Tasmania and one of the world’s foremost krill experts, are more optimistic. In his book Nicol postulates that perhaps krills’ bizarre biology combined with the complexity of the ecosystem will help them survive,

so apart from the fact that whales eat them and they block the seawater intakes of many ships at sea, what do we know about them? from the book,

$69.5 million: Average annual revenue from krill products over the last five years.
85: Number of krill species (focusing mainly on Antarctic krill)
2 grams: Weight of an adult krill
379 million: Metric tons of krill in the Southern Ocean
1.4: Depth in miles beneath the ocean surface where Antarctic krill larvae hatch
2.8: Miles the deepest diving krill was ever found
-1 to 5℃ : Temperature that Antarctic krill prefer
12.5 miles: Possible diameter of a typical krill swarm
20%: Proportion of their own body weight Antarctic krill eat daily
211: Days krill can survive without food
9: Number of years the oldest krill in captivity lived. (The experiment ended early when the krill in question fell down the drain while its tank was being cleaned), not from the book, should have called in professionals like Kingfisheries, well I had to get that in!
812: Krill-related US patents filed between 1976 and 2009.

so if you want to save penguins and seals and other marine megafauna, you need to save the krill, start painting those placards now, 'save the krill, kill the whales!' no hold on a second that does not sound right.

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