A Lost 'Supercolony' Of Penguins Was Discovered In The Antarctic

Posted March 05, 2018

"Governments need to seize the historic opportunity before them to put penguins like these ones on the Danger Islands out of harm's way". It would be the biggest populace of Adelie penguins on the Antarctica promontory, and recommends that this species is completing a great deal superior to anything scientists expected in spite of decreases on the western side of the Antarctic landmass because of environmental change.

"Not exclusively do the Danger Islands hold the biggest populace of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they likewise seem to have not endured the populace decreases found along the western side of Antarctic Peninsula that are related with late environmental change", says Polito. They tallied up the numbers by hand and used a modified quadcopter drone to capture images of the entire island from above. The number of Adelie penguins discovered on the Danger Islands represents more than all the recorded populations in the rest of the Antarctic Peninsula region combined.

The photos were then stitched together to give a comprehensive picture. Co-author Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University said. Researchers think climate change and the melting of thick layers of ice have negatively impacted penguin populations, and the finding adds weight to this hypothesis because it "shows how robust penguin populations are where the ice is intact", Dr. Hart said.

This may have been due to their remoteness and the hard waters that surround them: even in the summer, anyone trying to reach the islands can expect to deal with thick sea ice. One of the most common species of penguin on the Antarctic Peninsula, they play a vital role in the Antarctic food chain, states the WWF, feeding on tiny creatures like small fish and krill, and providing a source of food for leopard seals, killer whales and other predators. It's also the middle of the breeding season for penguins, which helped in counting them.

After heading to the remote island in December 2015 to investigate, the professors, along with a seabird ecologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in MA and other experts, said they found hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil. "If what we see is true, it will be one of the largest colonies of Adelie penguins in the world and it will be worth it, so we sent an expedition there in order to correctly count".

"We want to understand why". Is it connected to the expanded ocean ice condition over yonder?

Rod Downie at WWF said, "This exciting discovery shows us just how much more there still is to learn about this wonderful and iconic species of the ice". The existence of the supercolony could bolster support for Marine Protected Areas around Antarctica.