The Antarctic Peninsula is a spit of land that extends off the continent toward South America. Its western side is, on average, warming five times faster than any other place on Earth. The warming is disintegrating the massive ice shelves that extend from the peninsula's land into the sea. As a result, a number species that depend on ice to survive are declining locally, including Antarctic krill and Adélie penguins, which eat krill. A new study led by Martin Montes-Hugo at the Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Science has uncovered that the local climate changes are also dramatically affecting the base of this food web: marine phytoplankton. Using satellite data and field research, Montes-Hugo and his colleagues have noted a dramatic 30-year drop in phytoplankton off the northwestern shore of the peninsula. The phytoplankton loss is likely contributing to the observed declines. Furthermore, some species that do not depend on ice moving into the region, flourishing, and further disrupting the food webs that have existed there historically.