The newest diet: P-NED

Carl, ready dressed for poo work. Picture courtesy of  Irene Quaile, see her Ice blog here:

Carl, ready dressed for poop work. Picture courtesy of Irene Quaile. Visit her Ice blog, link in right panel (“Marine Night in DW”)

It’s that time again where everyone has finished with the indulging of the Christmas food, the fridges are getting empty and the gyms are getting full with people trying to loose their extra Christmas pounds. In association with new gym memberships the newest diets are also being posted in almost every media form showing how to achieve the perfect body size and shape, yet those that know me know that “diet” is not really in my vocabulary. Yet on this research cruise I really think I have found one diet that I have to spread the word about, and may even try myself. It’s the “Polar Night Euphausiid Diet” or P-NED, for those who like acronyms. The background to this diet is based upon the results from numerous faecal pellet (krill shit) experiments conducted on different euphausiid (krill) species caught in Kongsfjord at this time of year. The experiments are firstly run for one hour and then the water in which they have been swimming is checked under a microscope to see if they have expelled their bowels, if not they are kept for 12 hours and checked again. Upon checking many samples I have found no signs of them excreting and when I was giving up hope I found something in one of them. I was super excited thinking I had finally found a small bit of poop, sounds very strange to write that I was excited about some poop, but I honestly was! This excitement however was short lived as I was told that it was in fact not that at all but just a bit of detritus. After these negative results from this experiment, I have come up with this new diet in which the slogan will be “Winter is coming”. The diet follows what I believe is the way of these euphausiids, which consists of eating as much as you can in order to put on fat over the short summer period followed by fasting when food abundance is scarce during the long Polar Night lasting only on your fat reserves. Of course I am still hopeful to prove that these organisms are opportunistic and will feed if they get the chance (so to try and relieve the worries about missing the festive indulgence), so I will continue with the poop experiments. Yet if all else fails we can either move Christmas to a summer holiday or alternatively just alter the fasting period to spring.

Text: Carl Ballantine

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