Antarctic krill at risk from CO2 (video)

Tasmanian scientists have released ground-breaking research which shows increasing ocean acidification is deadly for Antarctica’s main food source.

The team at the Antarctic Division has studied the impacts of increased levels of carbon dioxide on the shrimp-like krill.

Scientists exposed the laboratory krill embryos to varying levels of carbon dioxide; from as little as 380 parts per million which is the current surface level, to 2,000 parts per million.

The embryos exposed to the highest level did not survive.

Krill Biologist Rob King says with carbon dioxide levels predicted to double by the end of the century, the next step is to find the exact tipping point.

“No one had done this before, especially for Antarctic krill, and we really were shooting in the dark a bit to find and guess what levels to try,” he said.

“We certainly were surprised to see such a big response and it made us realise just how much attention we have to pay on this in the future if we are going to find where that tipping point lies.”

The early results have just been published in an international science journal.

ABC News, 13 October 2010. Article and Video.

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