This species is “Krilling” it! On August 11, 2022, non-governmental organizations and scientists joined together to commemorate the inaugural World Krill Day. They have allowed us to enjoy all species of this arthropod, particularly the Antarctic krill.
What exactly are krill, and why are they so vital that they require their own day? Krill are an important resource that helps to maintain different ecosystems together. They may be little, but they are quite powerful in their food chain. Many marine creatures, including blue, fin, and humpback whales, seals, and others, feed primarily on krill. Even those that do not actively feed on krill are dependent on those who do. Krill devour phytoplankton, transforming these primary producers into a food source for species that cannot eat minuscule organisms. Krill also migrates vertically, feeding both surface and deep-sea predators.
According to the PEW, scientists believe that the total weight of all Antarctic krill is greater than the cumulative weight of any animal species on Earth except for human. Krill consumes carbon-capture algae and deposit their carbon-rich excrement on the bottom. Conserving krill species is critical to mitigating the effects of climate change. These organisms are said to store the equivalent of carbon produced by 35 million cars.
Krill are threatened by overfishing and a rising climate. According to PEW, krill populations are projected to lose about 30% of their suitable habitat this century because of the negative effects of human-driven climate change. Without these species, ecosystems throughout the planet might suffer catastrophic consequences.