In the plankton samples, collected with a Nansen net in three water layers downwards to a depth of 500 m, larvae and eggs of Euphausia superba were found as well as the larvae of E. crystallorophias and E. frigida. Eggs of the species E. superba predominated and among the larvae most numerous were calyptopis I and metanauplius stages. Eggs and larvae of E. superba occurred in small quantities, mainly in Bransfield Strait. Larvae of E. crystallorophias were found in the southeastern part of Bransfield Strait. Metanauplius, calyptopis I and II stages were predominant. Larvae of E. frigida, mostly calyptopis I stage, were very scarce and occurred only at the stations located in Drake Passage.
On the basis of measurements of the depth of occurrence of 11000 krill aggregations and the biological analyses of these animals and measurements of some environmental factors the diurnal vertical distribution of aggregations is presented against the background of various environmental conditions. Vertical distribution of aggregations is closely related to the feeding rhythm of krill. Active vertical migrations have been recorded at civil twilight. The increasing and decreasing rate of aggregations in those periods is described.
In the plankton samples collected with a Bongo net besides Euphausia superba the following species of the Euphausiacea were found:. £. frigida, crystallorophias, E. triacantha and T. macrura. The most aboundant and most frequently caught species was T. macrura equally distributed throughout the research area. The species E. frigida also occurred regularly though in much smaller numbers. E. triacantha occurred sporadically, mainly in the western part of the research region, and E. crystallorophias only at two stations in the Bransfield Strait. Some aspects of the biology and ecology of the mentioned above species are presented in this study.
Distribution and population age structure of krill Euphausia superba larvae is presented for four consequent years on the basis of the summer materials from 1976 to 1979. An approximate rate of growth of krill larvae was calculated on the basis of the above observations and the literature data on the occurrence of particular larval stages. This allowed to determine the main period of krill breeding in particular years. Intense breeding of krill took place from January to middle of March in summers 1976/1977 and 1977/1978, but much earlier — mid November to mid January in 1975/1976. In summer of 1978/1979 the breeding of krill was poor till March.
In the investigated area krill occured in low abundance. It was recorded mainly above the shelf and above the continental slope close to the Palmer Archipelago and near the northern shores of Elephant Island. In the central part of the Bransfield Strait E. superba was caught in especially small quantities. In general krill of small size occurred, the size decreasing from the west to the east. Mature krill was dominan in the western part of the investigated area, whereas juveniles in the eastern part. Gravid females were caught very rarely.
Macrozooplankton was collected at 63 stations by means of a Bongo sampler in the layer from the surface to a depth of 200 m. Wet formalin volume of siphonophors, polychaetes, pteropods, copepods, amphipods, euphausiids, chaetognaths, salps, and the remaining animals was determined; the distribution of major species was presented. Low diversity in macrozooplankton composition was observed in the study area. As far as biomass was concerned, salps predominated in the whole area; they occurred in exceptionally large quantities Large amounts of krill were also observed in some areas. Besides salps and krill, other euphausiids had the greatest share in the zooplankton; they were more abundant than copepods. Macrozooplankton biomass without salps and krill was low when compared with the values known from literature.