Press Releases

March 3, 2005

Southampton College Professor Returns to Count Krill in Antarctica
Dr. Joseph Warren Braves the Southern Ocean in a Rubber Boat for Third Year

Amanda Olsen (

Southampton, NY — While most people on Long Island were dreaming of tropical breezes and sandy beaches, Southampton College Professor Joe Warren was suiting up for long days on the icy waters surrounding Livingston Island, Antarctica to count near-shore krill populations. Again.

"Krill are a key link in the Antarctic food chain," said Warren. "Penguins, fur seals, even whales rely on it as a food source."

Warren and his colleagues made measurements from a 19’ inflatable boat and a 300' research vessel, and deployed several instrumented buoys to collect long term data. They are the only group conducting this research on the productivity of the nearshore waters.

While offshore krill populations have been studied and surveyed extensively, the area around Livingston Island, where Warren has based his research, is less understood.

"We and other researchers have observed penguins and fur seals foraging around this island, so we know that the krill are there. We just want to understand why this area is so productive."

Research has revealed that two marine canyons surround the island, which they believe provide nutrient-rich water which feed microscopic marine plants, which in turn feed the krill.

"We are trying to quantify how productive these areas are, so fisheries managers can set realistic limits on the harvesting of krill. It’s crucial to maintain the quality of this ecosystem."

Krill is fished commercially and used as animal feed, including fish farms. Because of the delicate and remote nature of the ecosystem, the fishery is highly regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a committee comprised of 24 member nations.