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THE ANTARCTIC ECOSYSTEM


Antarctic seas are extremely productive because phytoplankton grows abundantly during the extended daylight of summer and feeds huge populations of krill. Krill are a key animal in this ecosystem, as food for top predators: whales, penguins, and seals. Winters have little light, no phytoplankton growth, and extremely cold temperatures, but a complex food web links a great variety of ocean animals.  (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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