Living Data

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

Living Data

Krill dance


Krill dance 02 2013
Data (krill): Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)
Music: SophieGreen, piano improvisation 2012
Dance, animation, video: Lisa Roberts
Production manager: Jason Benedek,
Executive producer: Ken Wilson


Dance, drawing and music echo gestures and sounds gleaned from wilderness and urban habitats. Choreography symbolises co-dependence of animal behaviour and ocean circulation. Living data are Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill) collected by scientists to study their responses to changes happening in the Southern Ocean. Changes include an alarming increase in acid water due to our massive burning of fossil fuels. Humans are part of the evolving biosphere. We are also living data. Choreography designed to visualise human dependence on the Ocean relates biological and physical systems to a human scale.

Lisa Roberts 24 Jan 2013


The Antarctic Division is currently running experiments to find out exactly what the "tipping point" is in the pCO2 range between 1000 and 2000 μatm and to better assess the impacts of ocean acidification on krill. Ocean acidification studies on other krill life stages are ongoing. The research team's ultimate goal is to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of rising CO2 levels on the lifecycle of Antarctic krill for the next 100 years.

ACCESS 4 EU:Information on the Australian science landscape for European researchers, 2011


We measure the chemistry of air in bubbles trapped in ice cores. The concentration of carbon dioxide is now higher than at any other time in the last 850,000 years. We know that absolutely for a fact because we can measure the trapped bubbles in the ice.

Dominic Hodgson,British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK 2008


Putting all the data together, it became apparent that the factors that were controlling the distribution of the living organisms were also probably controlling the distribution of the physical variables too. So rather than the sea ice determining the level of biological production, it is the circulation that determines both the biological productivity and the location where the sea ice is most extensive - they co-vary rather than one causing the other.

Steve NicholAntarctic Marine Living Resources Program Leader, Australian Antarctic Division, 2001