Emperor Penguin Colony In Danger?

Results of research of scientists from Minnesota showed that emperor penguins do not always return to the places they were born. This means that global warming is not a serious threat to their colonies.Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) – are the largest members of the penguin family, existing at the moment. Along with the king penguins they belong to the genus of the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes).It was long thought that these individuals can produce an offspring only in places, located on the Antarctic coast. So ecologists claimed that the continued melting of Antarctic ice puts the future of their colonies under threat.At the end of 1970, another group of biologists made ​​a similar study on the Arctic archipelago of Geology and studies have shown that the number of breeding pairs dropped from six to three thousand. Then the researchers concluded that the decrease of penguins related to climate warming (warming of the Southern Ocean). Their conclusion was built on the fact that penguins must be returned for breeding to the places where they were born.

Authors of new studies have shown that their conclusion is wrong. They analyzed satellite images of the Antarctic coast for the last three years, and looking at the spots of litter on the ice traced the location of the colony.

It turned out that in most cases the penguins did not return to their former colonies, throwing them temporarily. In addition, scientists have fixed the emergence of at least one new colony. “Penguins cannot take out from the air, they had to sail from somewhere else, therefore, these birds move between colonies” – explained Michelle Lara, author of the study.

As noted by biologists, because penguins can choose a different place for the nestlings, it makes them less sensitive to climate change, which means that global warming is not a serious threat to the colonies of Emperor penguins.Results of research made by scientists from Minnesota will be published in the journal “Ecography”.

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Natalja Smirnova


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