Antarctic land-fast sea-ice as habitat for grazers

Supervisory Team:

Dr Emiliano Cimoli

Dr Christine Weldrick

Associate Professor Vanessa Lucieer

Brief project description:

Sea ice is an important habitat located along the coast of Antarctica and high latitude Southern Ocean. Over the coming decades, the extent and duration of sea ice is expected to change. Within and adjacent to the sea ice a diversity of organisms, ranging from microbes to top predators, use the ice for food, shelter, and as nursery grounds. For instance, Antarctic krill uses sea ice during the early stages of its life cycle, while some zooplankton live within an internal network of brine channels to graze on algae and avoid predators. At present, there remains limited knowledge in this field, including whether any correlations can be found between algae densities on the sea ice and their plankton consumers, and whether these patterns can be linked to ecological behaviours. In this project we will explore the relationship between krill and other zooplankton and the patterns of their occurrence with microstructures in the ice and densities of sea ice algae collected on campaigns in 2016 and 2019 at Cape Evans in Antarctica.

Skills students will develop during this research project:

  • Some zooplankton taxonomy and ecology
  • Image processing
  • Spatial analysis/GIS skills
Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
December 1, 2022