Discovery Metadata System

KRILLBASE: A database of Antarctic krill and salp densities in the Southern Ocean, 1926 to 2016


KRILLBASE is a data rescue and compilation project which aims to improve the availability of information on two of the Southern Ocean's most important zooplankton taxa: Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and salps (Family Salpidae). In 2016, the project released a database of information from 15,194 scientific net hauls, collected between 1926 and 2016 by scientists from ten countries. These data, on the density of Antarctic krill and salps, provide a resource for analysing the distribution and abundance of these taxa throughout the Southern Ocean, to support ecological and biogeochemical research as well as fisheries management and conservation.

The data are available as a downloadable csv files and via a seachable web interface.

Each row of the main data table represents either a net haul or a composite of several net hauls. The columns describe searchable and filterable sampling and environmental information as well as the krill and salp density. The krill data are presented as both the observed density (NUMBER_OF_KRILL_UNDER_1M2, no.m-2) and the density standardised to a single, relatively efficient sampling method (STANDARDISED_KRILL_UNDER_1M2, no.m-2). The salp data are presented as observed density for all species combined, where an individual can be either a solitary oozoid or a member of an aggregate chain (NUMBER_OF_SALPS_UNDER_1M2, no.m-2).

12,758 of the net hauls in the database include krill data, 9,726 include salp data. 7,295 of the net hauls include both krill and salp data. For hauls where data for either salps or krill were not available the relevant field is blank. The RECORD_TYPE column distinguishes between four types of record and we emphasise that every analysis of the data should first screen on this field to avoid using the same data twice. Most records are labelled "haul", and these result from a single net sampling the water column at a specific station. Others, labelled "stratified pooled haul", are the combined result of several (typically three) stratified hauls (labelled "stratified haul") sampling different parts of the water column. A small number of records, labelled "survey mean" represent the arithmetic mean densities from multiple stations as this was the only recoverable information from the relevant surveys, which were mainly conducted in the 1980s.

The dataset is fully described in the following publication which should be cited in published analyses of these data:

Atkinson A, Hill SL, Pakhomov E, Siegel V, Anadon R, Chiba S, Daly KL, Downie R, Fielding S, Fretwell P, Gerrish L, Hosie GW, Jessopp MJ, Kawaguchi S, Krafft BA, Loeb V, Nishikawa J, Peat HJ, Reiss CS, Ross RM, Langdon B Quetin, Schmidt K, Steinberg DK, Subramaniam RC, Tarling GA, Ward P (2017) KRILLBASE: a circumpolar database of Antarctic krill and salp numerical densities, 1926-2016.
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9: 193-210 (doi:10.5194/essd-9-193-2017)




Atkinson, A., Hill, S., Pakhomov, & Siegel, V. (2016). KRILLBASE: A database of Antarctic krill and salp densities in the Southern Ocean, 1926 to 2016. [Data set]. Polar Data Centre; British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council; Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK.


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