Krill seekers: how Nuyina is revolutionising Antarctic research 20 May 2022

Australian Antarctic Division

Scientists and engineers at AAD have designed and built equipment that has revolutionised not only the capture of live Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean, but also world-leading research in a krill aquarium.

The project has been more than a decade in the making, fuelled by determination to understand a keystone species on our planet.

In 2012, krill biologist Rob King and the crew of icebreaker Aurora Australis found themselves stuck in thick sea ice.

Mr King’s team was on a mission to collect krill but they faced an obvious problem – how to reach the swarm beneath the frozen surface.

“It was just too difficult,” Mr King said.

“A whale punched a hole in the ice next to us and was breathing through it. It was having a wonderful time sucking up all of these krill that were under the sea ice.”

“I was sitting there thinking we’ve really got to be able to do something about this.”

The team tested a fish pump used in the prawn industry, bringing a handful of krill to the surface.

It encouraged Mr King to pursue a new idea.

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