ScienceDaily (Mar. 21, 2012)
— Three penguin species that share the Western Antarctic Peninsula for
breeding grounds have been affected in different ways by the higher
temperatures brought on by global warming, according to Stony Brook
University Ecology and Evolution Assistant Professor Heather Lynch and
colleagues. The work by Lynch and her team is contained in three papers
that have been published online in Polar Biology, Ecology and Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS).
Lynch and her colleagues used a combination of field work and,
increasingly, satellite imagery to track colonies of three penguin
species -- Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo. The Adélie and chinstrap
migrate to the peninsula to breed, while the gentoo are year-round
The Antarctic is considered one of the world's most rapidly warming
regions. Warmer temperatures move up the breeding cycle, causing the
penguins to lay their eggs earlier. The resident gentoo population is
able to adapt more quickly and advance their "clutch initiation" by
almost twice as much as the other species. Lynch believes this may allow
them to better compete for the best nesting space. The Adélie and
chinstrap are unaware of the local conditions until they arrive to breed
and have not been able to advance their breeding cycles as rapidly.
In addition, the gentoo prefer areas with less sea ice, and have been
able to migrate further south into the Antarctic as the sea ice
shrinks. The chinstrap and Adélie species rely more heavily on the
abundance of Antarctic krill, which require sea ice for their lifecycle.
The result -- the gentoo numbers are increasing while the other two
species have noticeably dwindling populations on the Antarctic
Professor Lynch will speak about her research and advances in the use
of satellite imagery to track penguin populations as part of "Polar
Climate Change Research: A Workshop for Educators" at the Charles B.
Wang Center at Stony Brook University on April 10-11, 2012. The
workshop, sponsored by the joint BNL-SBU Center for Impacts of Regional
Climate Change (CIRCC), is designed to give high school science teachers
the tools they need to teach about climate change in the Polar regions.
Heather J. Lynch, Ron Naveen, Philip N. Trathan, William F. Fagan. Spatially integrated assessment reveals widespread changes in penguin populations on the Antarctic Peninsula. Ecology, 2012; : 120117073021007 DOI: 10.1890/11-1588.1
HJ Lynch, WF Fagan, R Naveen, SG Trivelpiece, WZ Trivelpiece. Differential
advancement of breeding phenology in response to climate may alter
staggered breeding among sympatric pygoscelid penguins. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 2011; DOI: 10.3354/meps09252
Heather J. Lynch, Richard White, Andrew D. Black, Ron Naveen. Detection, differentiation, and abundance estimation of penguin species by high-resolution satellite imagery. Polar Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s00300-011-1138-3
Stony Brook University (2012, March 21). Warming Antarctic brings changes to penguin breeding cycles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 22, 2012, fromsource