Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 193–210, 2017
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 193–210, 2017

Review article 16 Mar 2017

Review article | 16 Mar 2017

KRILLBASE: a circumpolar database of Antarctic krill and salp numerical densities, 1926–2016

Angus Atkinson1, Simeon L. Hill2, Evgeny A. Pakhomov3,4, Volker Siegel5, Ricardo Anadon6, Sanae Chiba7, Kendra L. Daly8, Rod Downie9, Sophie Fielding2, Peter Fretwell2, Laura Gerrish2, Graham W. Hosie10, Mark J. Jessopp11, So Kawaguchi12, Bjørn A. Krafft13, Valerie Loeb14, Jun Nishikawa15, Helen J. Peat2, Christian S. Reiss16, Robin M. Ross17, Langdon B. Quetin17, Katrin Schmidt10, Deborah K. Steinberg18, Roshni C. Subramaniam19, Geraint A. Tarling2, and Peter Ward2 Angus Atkinson et al.
  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth, Pl13DH, UK
  • 2British Antarctic Survey, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 OET, UK
  • 3Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2207-2020 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • 4Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (IOF), AERL, 231-2202 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • 5Thünen Institute of Sea Fisheries, Palmaille 9, 22767 Hamburg, Germany
  • 6Department Biology of Organisms and Systems, University of Oviedo, C/ Catedrático Rodrigo Uría s/n, 33071 Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
  • 7JAMSTEC, 3173-25 Showamachi, Kanazawaku, Yokohama 2360001, Japan
  • 8College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
  • 9World Wildlife Fund, The Living Planet Centre, Rufford House, Brewery Road, Woking, Surrey, GU214LL, UK
  • 10Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Sciences, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK
  • 11MaREI Centre, Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Haulbowline Rd, Cork, Ireland
  • 12Australian Antarctic Division, Channel Highway, Kingston, TAS 7050, Australia
  • 13Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870, 5817 Nordnes, Bergen, Norway
  • 14Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA
  • 15Tokai University, 3-20-1, Orido, Shimizu, Shizuoka 424-8610, Japan
  • 16NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, 8901 La Jolla Shores Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
  • 17Marine Science Institute, University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6150, USA
  • 18Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Gloucester Pt., VA 23062, USA
  • 19Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia

Abstract. Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and salps are major macroplankton contributors to Southern Ocean food webs and krill are also fished commercially. Managing this fishery sustainably, against a backdrop of rapid regional climate change, requires information on distribution and time trends. Many data on the abundance of both taxa have been obtained from net sampling surveys since 1926, but much of this is stored in national archives, sometimes only in notebooks. In order to make these important data accessible we have collated available abundance data (numerical density, no. m−2) of postlarval E. superba and salp individual (multiple species, and whether singly or in chains). These were combined into a central database, KRILLBASE, together with environmental information, standardisation and metadata. The aim is to provide a temporal-spatial data resource to support a variety of research such as biogeochemistry, autecology, higher predator foraging and food web modelling in addition to fisheries management and conservation. Previous versions of KRILLBASE have led to a series of papers since 2004 which illustrate some of the potential uses of this database. With increasing numbers of requests for these data we here provide an updated version of KRILLBASE that contains data from 15 194 net hauls, including 12 758 with krill abundance data and 9726 with salp abundance data. These data were collected by 10 nations and span 56 seasons in two epochs (1926–1939 and 1976–2016). Here, we illustrate the seasonal, inter-annual, regional and depth coverage of sampling, and provide both circumpolar- and regional-scale distribution maps. Krill abundance data have been standardised to accommodate variation in sampling methods, and we have presented these as well as the raw data. Information is provided on how to screen, interpret and use KRILLBASE to reduce artefacts in interpretation, with contact points for the main data providers.

The DOI for the published data set is doi:10.5285/8b00a915-94e3-4a04-a903-dd4956346439.

Short summary
KRILLBASE is a data rescue and compilation project to improve the availability of information on two key Southern Ocean zooplankton: Antarctic krill and salps. We provide a circumpolar database that combines 15 194 scientific net hauls (1926 to 2016) from 10 countries. These data provide a resource for analysing the distribution and abundance of krill and salps throughout the Southern Ocean to support ecological and biogeochemical research as well as fisheries management and conservation.