The role of krill for the Benguela ecosystem

Euphausiids, commonly known as krill, are shrimps-like crustacean and represent an important part of the zooplankton community in the Benguela Upwelling System. They are an important food source for many fish species and serve as an indicator for ecosystem assessments. Up to now at least eight different krill species have been identified off Namibia. They live in different water depths and show a distinct day-night cycle depending on the influence of light. The GENUS project aims to clarify how krill can adapt with regard to changing oxygen, temperature and nutrient conditions.

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Universität Hamburg
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GENUS (Geochemistry and Ecology of the Namibian Upwelling System) aims to clarify relationships between climate change, biogeochemical cycles, and ecosystem structure in the large marine ecosystem of the northern Benguela/Namibian Coast (sout-west Africa). The coastal upwelling system has high seasonal and interannual variability in atmospheric forcing, in properties of water masses on the shelf offshore the Republic of Namibia, and in oxygen supply and demand on the shelf. In consequence, concentrations and ratios of nutrients in upwelling water and their CO2-content have steep gradients in space and time. In the past, significant and economically severe changes in ecosystem structure have occurred which are in part attributed to changes in physical forcing, translated to the ecosystem by oxygen dynamics.

The GENUS project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is an endorsed project of the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER)

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