Penguin super-colony spotted from space

Penguin super-colony spotted from space

Penguin super-colony spotted from space

A thriving "hotspot" of some 1.5 million Adelie penguins has been discovered on the remote Danger Islands in the east Antarctic, surprised scientists announced on March 2, 2018.

Michael Polito, one of the researchers from Louisiana State University, said he was amazed by the number of penguins he saw.

The first bird census there found around 750,000 breeding pairs.

Once the research team got confirmation via Landsat that the penguins likely populate the islands, they chose to try to make the trip and count the birds by hand. Well, the Danger Islands are fairly remote, even by Antarctica standards.

"We were. very lucky to have a window of time where the sea ice moved out and we could get a yacht in", said Lynch.

Lynch and NASA's Matthew Schwaller initially found telltale signs of guano in NASA satellite imagery of Danger Islands in 2014.

Dr Tom Hart, of Oxford University, one of the expedition party, told The Daily Telegraph: "This is the biggest colony discovered recently". Lynch said in the news release.

At the point when the gathering landed in December 2015, they discovered countless winged animals settling in the rough soil, and promptly began to count up their numbers by hand. While a previous geological expedition30 noted the presence of Adélie penguins on all of the Dangers Islands (with the exception of Darwin Island, which was not visited), the presence of Adélie penguins on several of these islands went largely unrecognized until a recent Landsat satellite survey of the Antarctic identified several large penguin colonies supporting what appeared to be almost 200,000 Adélie penguin nests. "We had massive penguin colonies that had not been known to exist".

University  Louisiana State University shows an Adelie penguin on the Danger Islands
University Louisiana State University shows an Adelie penguin on the Danger Islands

Poilito believes the year-round icy conditions is a key reason that the penguins were overlooked. The researchers also used a software to do the counting.

The photos were then stitched together to give a comprehensive picture.

If you ever find yourself hanging out on Antarctica's Danger Islands, we hope you like penguins.

The results, Polito said, indicate that the size of the nests have been stable during that period.

Scientists had thought that this type of penguin species was declining.

Now it turns out, the area may need stronger protection from overfishing.

"We want to understand why". Indeed, even in the austral summer, the close-by sea is loaded with thick ocean ice, making it to a great degree hard to get to.

After heading to the remote island in December 2015 to investigate, the professors, along with a seabird ecologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in MA and other experts, said they found hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil. Polito said the publication of their study comes at just the right time to assist in that effort, as an global body that oversees Antarctica's wildlife resources is expected to review new refuge proposals in October. The existence of the supercolony could bolster support for Marine Protected Areas around Antarctica.

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