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Last Updated: Thursday November 04 2004 07:45 GMT

Antarctic food chain under threat

Scientists working in Antarctica have found that whales, penguins and seals could be facing a food shortage as their favourite snack is in decline.

The British Antarctic Survey discovered that numbers of a tiny shrimp like creature called krill are decreasing.

They say this is bad news for animals living on the frozen continent, as less food around means they are already having fewer babies each year.

Experts reckon that global warming may be affecting the krill population.

The crustacean feeds on algae that lives under ice.

Temperature rise

But the temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has gone up by around 2.5C in the last 50 years, meaning there is now less ice covering the sea.

Since the 1970s, numbers of the shrimp-like creatures have fallen by 80% in waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, UK scientists tell Nature magazine.

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