Emperor Penguins Disappearing Due to Climate Change

Emperor penguins enter the water in Antarctica (Image by StormPetrel1 via Flickr)

ScienceDaily reports that a study led by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, published in the June 20th, 2012 edition of the journal Global Change Biology, predicts that as global temperatures continue to rise, penguins in Terre Adelie, in East Antarctica, may eventually disappear. Emperor penguins are perhaps the best-known and most iconic of the Antarctic region and were featured in the popular film, March of the Penguins.

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Penguins Suffer as Antarctic Krill Declines

By Mark Kinver Science and environment reporter, BBC News

The study suggests krill availability affects the population trends of penguins, such as chinstraps

A number of penguin species found in western Antarctica are declining as a result of a fall in the availability of krill, a study has suggested.

Researchers, examining 30 years of data, said chinstrap and Adelie penguin numbers had been falling since 1986.

Warming waters, less sea-ice cover and more whale and seal numbers was cited as reducing the abundance of krill, the main food source for the penguins.

The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a shrimp-like creature that reach lengths of about 6cm (2in) and is considered to be one of the most abundant species on the planet, being found in densities of up to 30,000 creatures in a cubic-metre of seawater.

It is also one of the key species in the ecosystems in and around Antarctica, as it is the dominant prey of nearly all vertebrates in the region, including chinstrap and Adelie penguins.

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Scott’s Antarctic Samples Give Climate Clues

By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News

Samples of a marine creature collected during Captain Scott’s Antarctic trips are yielding data that may prove valuable in projecting climate change.

The expeditions in the early 1900s brought back many finds including samples of life from the sea floor.

Comparing these samples with modern ones, scientists have now shown that the growth of a bryozoan, a tiny animal, has increased in recent years.

They say this means more carbon dioxide is being locked away on the ocean bed.

The tiny bryozoan, Cellarinella nutti, looks like a branching twig that has been stuck into the sea floor.

It grows during the period in the year when it can feed, drawing plankton from the water with its tentacles.

The length of the feeding season is reflected in the size of the annual growth band – just as with tree rings

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