Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 727–732 | Cite as

Behavioural responses of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) to CO2-induced ocean acidification: would krill really notice?

  • Guang Yang
  • Robert A. King
  • So Kawaguchi
Short Note


The Southern Ocean is expected to be significantly affected by future ocean acidification. Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is the key species of the Southern Ocean ecosystem. Understanding their behavioural responses to acidification is critical for assessing the impacts of ocean acidification on the ecosystem. Adult Antarctic krill reared in different holding tanks with various CO2 levels for 6 months prior to the experiments were tested for their behavioural responses to different carbon dioxide partial pressures (pCO2) (400, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 4000 μatm pCO2) in a two-channel flume. The time krill occupied either of the flume channels (with high or ambient CO2 levels) was highly variable in all tests. In most cases no significant preference to either side of the flume was found. The krill did not display any systematic discrimination to the sea water with different CO2 levels regardless of the CO2 levels that krill were acclimated for in the 6 months prior to the experiment. Poor ability to discriminate high CO2 waters may have an important implication to their life history in the future as ocean acidification rapidly progresses in parts of Southern Ocean.


Antarctic krill Ocean acidification Behavioural response Southern Ocean 



We thank Ashley Cooper, Tasha Waller and Blair Smith for their help during the experiment. This research was supported by Australian Antarctic Science Project #4037 “Experimental krill biology: Response of krill to environmental change”.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Marine Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental SciencesQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Australian Antarctic DivisionKingston TasmaniaAustralia
  4. 4.Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research CentreHobartAustralia

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