Mr Rob King — BSc (Hons)

Research interests

I study the keystone species of the Southern Ocean ecosystem — the Antarctic krill. My fascination for the sea developed through years of surfing and spear fishing in Tasmania during my youth. I trained in marine biology at James Cook University in northern Queensland and returned to Tasmania to begin a PhD examining feeding in Antarctic krill. I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time, and in 1995 I was employed by the Antarctic Division to design and operate a new aquarium, specifically built for research on Antarctic krill.

This work extended to developing the aquarium on the RSV Aurora Australis and the design of research systems for use both at sea and in the shore-based aquarium at Kingston. My role now includes the design and operation of bespoke aquarium systems, to meet the needs of national and international collaborators seeking to undertake research on Antarctic krill, either at sea or in our unique shore-based aquarium. I participate in marine science voyages to characterise the population and distribution of Antarctic krill and examine their physiological responses, particularly to ocean acidification and temperature.

I am currently the biology lead in the design of Australia’s new ice breaker, RSV Nuyina. This design includes new sampling techniques and a containerised aquarium system, which will interface with proposed shore-based aquarium infrastructure, to create a seamless pathway from specimen capture through to long-term land based aquarium research.

Current projects

Key outcome areas

  • Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)

Related links


Bellini N., Cox M.J., Harper D.J., Stott S.R., Ashok P.C.,Dholakia K., Kawaguchi S, King R., Horton T., and Brown C.T.A. (2014). Making light of observing aquaria treatments: an application of optical coherence tomography to image subsurface tissue structure of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba. PloS One 9(10), e110367.

Letessier T.B., Kawaguchi S., King R., Meeuwig J.J., Harcourt R., Cox M.J. (2013). A robust and economical underwater stereo video system to observe Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Open Journal of Marine Science 3:148–153. doi:10.4236/ojms.2013.33016.

Kawaguchi S., Ishida A., King R., Raymond B., Waller N., Constable A., Nicol S., Wakita M., Ishimatsu A. (2013). Risk maps for Antarctic krill under projected Southern Ocean acidification. Nature Climate Change 3:843–847. doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1937.