"Super colony" of Adelie penguins discovered in Antarctica

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. It's locked up in sea ice most of the year, and even in summer it's hard to reach.

"Not exclusively do the Danger Islands hold the biggest populace of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they likewise seem to have not endured the populace decreases found along the western side of Antarctic Peninsula that are related with late environmental change", says Polito. And it's unlikely that birds from the nests on the western side of the peninsula have added to that stability by migrating to the safer environment, he said.

To confirm it, a combined team of researchers arranged an expedition to the islands.

Biologists believed that the Adélie penguin population on the Antarctic Peninsula had been slowly declining for the past four decades, but it turns out the little fellas were just better at hiding than anyone imagined. Is it linked to the extended sea ice condition over there?

Ice melting reduces krill, the penguins' main food, and allows for more detrimental human activity, especially fisheries.

What this revealed was that 751,527 pairs of Adelie penguins live on the islands.

"You can then stitch them together into a huge collage that shows the entire land mass in 2D and 3D", said Hanumant Singh, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusett, who developed the drone's imaging and navigation system.

However, in 2014, while analysing Nasa's existing satellite images of the islands, Lynch and Nasa's Mathew Schwaller found tell-tale poop stains, indicating the presence of a mysteriously large number of penguins in the area.

Danger Islands expedition team members on Heroina Island, Danger Islands, Antarctica. The population was detected by satellite images of the region and researchers are totally surprised by the discovery. They say as climate change gets worse and melts parts of the Antarctic, the Danger Islands could become a critical penguin breeding ground. The researchers also used a software to do the counting.

An accurate update on the size of the population of this supercolony also provides an invaluable benchmark for future change, noted Jenouvrier.

"Even though the tiny island chain is only about 10 kilometers across, researchers hadn't realized the extent of the pengube.com/embed/EWtvsWSwmrs" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen /iframe in population, says study coauthor Heather Lynch, an ecologist at Stony Brook University in NY.

"We use the same techniques to estimate how much energy blue crabs get from salt marsh grasses versus phytoplankton", he said, including recent research attempting to address the effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on crabs and other species.

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