Studying how penguins respond to ecosystem change in Antarctica
Biologist David Ainley of H. T. Harvey & Associates has been studying Adélie penguins in Antarctica for more than 25 years. These resilient, charismatic birds, adapted to survive one of the harshest environments on earth, are now being threatened by fisheries depletion and by global warming that affects the sea ice and ocean ecosystems on which they depend. David led a team of biologists who collected data about the changing demographics of Adélies breeding at four colonies, asking how resource availability affects whether or not birds emigrate from one colony to another. Studying how penguins respond to environmental changes—which are happening more dramatically at the poles than anywhere else on earth—will help scientists shed light on how species and ecosystems across the globe will be affected by climate and resource changes.
David Ainley and his team spread out to three different Adélie breeding colonies on the Ross Sea, Antarctica, in November 2008, and visited a fourth periodically. Learn more about the team’s research into Adélie breeding colonies—Cape Crozier, Cape Bird, and Cape Royds—through archived blogs and Webcasts from the team.