Dr. Andrea Piñones is an oceanographer interested in understanding, describing and modeling physical and biological interactions in high latitude marine ecosystems. She is been studying the role of ocean dynamics in the transport, pathways and connectivity of marine organisms at different spatial and temporal scales, using numerical modeling as a tool. Her research interests also focus in individual base models and their coupling with ocean circulation models.
Her last project focused in understanding the effect of climate-induced changes in the environmental conditions of the Southern Ocean and determining the effect of these changes on the habitat of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Krill is a key species in the southern ocean food web, understanding the effects of global warming in their early development is crucial to understand the fate of their dependent predators. To accomplish this goal she implemented a circumpolar one-dimensional temperature dependent growth model for the embryos and early larval stages of Antarctic krill. Projections for the end of the 21st century from 19 coupled atmosphere-ocean circulation models have been obtained from CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) for the habitat of Antarctic krill and projected environmental conditions (water column temperature and density) have been used to force the krill model. Analysis of sea ice extension and duration of season complemented the simulations for krill early development. The study found a high likelihood of krill population decline by the end of this century with large implications for the productivity of the marine food webs of the Ross Sea and the western Weddell Sea.