Penguin niche-partitioning resilient to climate change

Competition for limited food resources can be particularly fierce where similarly-related species overlap. Harriet L. Clewlow is a PhD student based at the British Antarctic Survey and linked with University of Exeter and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Her research investigates how climate change is altering interactions between sympatric Antarctic penguin species and predicting their responses to future climate scenarios. Competition is a widely studied … Continue reading Penguin niche-partitioning resilient to climate change

Penguins on Parade: Conflict in South Georgia – A Slideshow

The Sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is home to some of the world’s largest breeding aggregations of penguins. Long-term monitoring studies reveal that the local population trends are complex. Some species and colonies have rapidly declined, but others have increased or remained stable. For example, the local population of macaroni penguins rapidly declined between the 1970s and early 2000s. During the same period of time, the local king penguin population increased. Within each of these species, individual colonies changed at different rates and a small number changed in opposite directions. Thus, it appears that the penguin species and colonies of South Georgia have responded differently to climate change and anthropogenic pressures such as fisheries, and historic sealing and whaling activities that changed the community structure. Unravelling these processes is considered an important challenge and has been the focus of extensive research [1][2][3]. Recent work [4] on the macaroni penguin indicated that their survival rates are controlled by trophic levels both above and below them, highlighting the need to consider multiple drivers simultaneously. The population of penguins on South Georgia currently represents around 15% of the global macaroni penguin population, 26% of the global gentoo penguin population, 28% of the global king penguin population, and less than 1% of the global chinstrap penguin population. Continue reading “Penguins on Parade: Conflict in South Georgia – A Slideshow”