Thursday, June 28, 2018

Adelie Penguin Supercolony

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

It is still winter at one end of the planet and here on the northern end summer is slowly fading from view. As good a time as ever to think about penguins.

The following is an excerpt from an article published at Quartz by Lila MacLellan. Please read the full article for photographs and more information.  This is a journey to Planet Earth to learn what is there.

March 3, The story of how scientists discovered a massive “supercolony” of Adélie penguins in Antarctica—which they detailed in a study published Friday (March 2)—begins in 2014, with NASA satellite imagery.
Heather Lynch, a professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University, in New York, and Mathew Schwaller from NASA, spotted guano stains in images of the Danger Islands, off the northern tip of the continent. Where there are penguin droppings, there are most certainly penguins, and the stains, visible from space, suggested there were a large number of them. But only a trip to the rocky, remote chain of islands could confirm the suspicion.
The duo teamed with ecologists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and other universities in the US and UK for an expedition in 2015. They found penguins nesting at the landing site, and beyond that a colony of an estimated 1.5 million Adélie penguins, a “hidden metropolis,” writes Science Alert. This meant there were more Adélie penguins in the Danger Islands than in the rest of the Antartica Peninsula combined, as the researchers report in the study, which was published in Scientific Reports. They called the area “a major hotspot of Adélie penguin abundance.”

No comments:

Post a Comment