Living Data

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned
that this program contains images and voices of deceased persons.

Living Data

Antarctic krill winter adventure


Zhongnan Jia (Molly) Antarctic winter krill adventure Animation 2012

Zhongnan Jia (Molly) is a PhD student of science at the University of Tasmania. Molly's animation explains something of her research into krill eating behaviour. In order to understand what krill eat in the Antarctic winter and early spring Molly examines the contents of their stomachs under a microscope and stable isotope machine. She also examines the DNA of the krill and matches the DNA sequence to the database.

But why I research on the diet? What and where krill eat in the winter can tell me where they spend the winter, therefore, I can evaluate which part of the ocean may be important for krill survival. This is very important information for us to develop strategy to manage the krill resource.

Zhongnan Jia (Molly)


Stable isotopes have been used in botanical and plant biological investigations for many years, and more and more ecological and biological studies are finding stable isotopes (mostly carbon, nitrogen and oxygen) to be extremely useful. Other workers have used oxygen isotopes to reconstruct historical atmospheric temperatures, making them important tools for climate research. Measurements of ratios of one naturally occurring stable isotope to another play an important role in radiometric dating and isotope geochemistry, and also helpful for determining patterns of rainfall and movements of elements through living organisms, helping sort out food web dynamics in ecosystems.

Ref. (accessed 14 March 2012)