An worldwide team led by scientists from the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) has discovered a colony formed by more than 1.5 million penguins in the Danger Islands, in the Weddell Sea, in the Eastern Antarctica Peninsula. It now calls the Danger Islands a "seabird hotspot". It should stay that way.
A total of 1.5 million penguins are living on "The Danger Islands", which are surrounded by icy waters packed with thick sea icea that makes them extremely hard to access.
The proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has been submitted by the European Union and will be considered when the Antarctic Ocean Commission next convenes, in October 2018. "You would then be able to line them together into an huge arrangement that demonstrates the whole landmass in 2D and 3D", says co-PI Hanumant Singh, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, who built up the automaton's imaging and route framework.
Alas, when these penguins were first discovered, they did not initially say to the researchers, "Hello from the other side". It's also the middle of the breeding season for penguins, which helped in counting them.
Scientists have reported the discovery of a supercolony of Adelie penguins in Antarctica which host more than 1.5 million birds.
"Not only do the Danger Islands hold the largest population of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they also appear to have not suffered the population declines found along the western side of [the] Antarctic Peninsula that are associated with recent climate change", Michael Polito, another co-author, said in the statement.
The documented global population of Adélie penguins just grew by 20 per cent.
The team now want to get a better understanding of exactly what's causing the difference between the two populations, as well as set up policies to keep the Danger Islands protected. Using neural network analysis of drone images they took of the colony, the scientists were able to determine the size of the population, as well as how changing temperatures and sea ice are impacting the island ecosystem. Nevertheless, the penguins that nest on the western side of the peninsula are protected by the effects of the climate changes, thanks to the Waddell Sea, which is an icy area, which is another contributor to the difficulty in accessing the islands.
"We were.very lucky to have a window of time where the sea ice moved out and we could get a yacht in".
"And the sheer scale of what we saw, gasped, said Dr". "We all knew there would be a lot penguins there, but I think none of us knew there would be this many".