Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Charles Morgan III, Lyon College

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Using Lipid Biomarkers to Determine the Diet History of Euphausiids in the Bering Sea


While it is known that krill are very important in the food web of the Bering Sea and that their transfer of lipids from organism to organism is paramount to a healthy ecosystem, it is unknown to what extent that this takes place. It was discovered that krill were eating phototrophic organisms by way of finding phytol, a chlorophyll breakdown product, in their bodies. It is also evident that the krill were eating assorted species of diatoms from the diatom-exclusive sterols found in the krill. While this work may have continued and produced more conclusive evidence, I was offered an opportunity to board a polar science research vessel manned by the United States Coast Guard in the Bering Sea. As this is a very valuable opportunity and not one to pass up, I accepted and spent the month of July performing genuine oceanographic field work with krill.