Global warming effects on adelie penguins
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Global Warming Effects on Adelie Penguins Lizzy Plotkin Thomas Daigneau Amanda McCracken Presentation Outline “Based on various scientific evidence, we anticipate that on the Antarctic Peninsula, rapid climate change is leading to population decline of the Adelie Penguins.”

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Global warming effects on adelie penguins l.jpg

Global Warming Effects on Adelie Penguins

Lizzy Plotkin

Thomas Daigneau

Amanda McCracken

Presentation outline l.jpg
Presentation Outline

  • “Based on various scientific evidence, we anticipate that on the Antarctic Peninsula, rapid climate change is leading to population decline of the Adelie Penguins.”

  • Background Information

    • Meet the Penguins

    • Antarctica

  • Global Warming

    • The Consequences…

  • In the Future

Two Adelie penguins

Meet the adelie penguins l.jpg
Meet the Adelie Penguins

  • Pygoscelis adeliae

  • Smallest Antarctic Penguin species

  • Ice Dependent

  • Rapid Population Decline

A Group of Adelie Penguins

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Area of Study

Antarctic Peninsula Map

  • Antarctic Peninsula

  • Home of the Adelie

    • Mostly on the Peninsula

    • 177 colonies

  • Average Temperature:

    • 0 to -10°C

Adelie Penguin colonies in Antarctica

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Global Warming Basics

  • Starting at the Industrial Revolution

  • Increase in Greenhouse Gases

  • Many Possible Causes

Global warming trends from 1860 to 2001

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Effects on Antarctica

  • Winter Temperature has risen 9°F in last 50 years

  • Unpredictable yet dramatic

    • Ice Melting

    • Glacier Calving

    • Species Loss

Antarctic glacier calving

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The Consequences

Adelie Population as a Result of Sea Ice Extent and Air Temperature

Adelie Population and Sea Ice Extent (1978-2005)

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The Food Chain

A diagram of the bottom up food chain consisting of ice algae, krill and the Adelie Penguins.

So what’s the problem?

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Effects of Ice Melting

  • Decline in ice algae causes break in food chain

  • Blocks in usual forage paths

  • Destruction of nests

    • Glacier calving

    • Heavier snows

      • Slush vs. ice and rock

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STELLA model showing the effects of melting ice on the populations of the Ice Algae, Krill, and Adelie penguin species.

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A diagram comparing the populations of the Ice Algae, Krill and Adelie penguins with the temperature change in Antarctica.

Adelie penguin population with the temperature change in the Antarctic peninsula.

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Continuation of ice loss

Loss of nesting sites

More melting

Sun’s ray on dry ice vs. wet ice


Further break down of the food chain

Species adaptation to new niches


Less diverse speciation

Future Predictions

Larsen B ice shelf, 5th March 2002 (16 days later)

Larsen B ice shelf, 17th Feb 2002

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What You Can Do

  • Limit use of fossil fuels

  • Use less energy

  • Recycle

  • Spread the word

  • Sign up to help!

    • Greenpeace International

You’ll make the penguins much happier!

Sources l.jpg

  • Ainley, D.G., Ballard, G., Dugger, K.M., & Karl, B.J. (2005). Leopard seal predation rates at penguin colonies of different size. Antarctic Science, 17, 335-340.

  • Atkinson, A., Pakhomov, E., Rothery, P., & Siegel, V. (2004). Long-term decline in krill stock and increase in salps within the Southern Ocean. Nature, 432, 100-103.

  • British Antarctic Survey: Natural Environment Research Council. “The Antarctic ice sheet and rising sea levels”. 2006. <> (19 October 2006)

  • Broeke, M. (2005). Strong surface melting preceded collapse of Antarctic Peninsula ice shelf. Geophysical Research Letters, 32.

  • Clarke, J., Emmerson, L. M., & Otahal, P. (2006). Environmental conditions and life history constraints determine foraging range in breeding Adelie penguins. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 310, 247-261.

  • Croxall, J. P., Trathan, P. N., Murphy, E. J. 2002. Environmental change and Antarctic seabird populations. Science, 297: 1510-1414

  • Dieckmann, G., Maria, E., Poulin, M., Riaux-Gobin, C., Treguer, P., & Vetion, G. (2005). Land-fast ice off Adélie Land (Antarctica): Short-term variations in nutrients and chlorophyll just before ice break-up. Journal of Marine Systems, 55, 235-248.

  • Forcada, J., Trathan, P.N., Reid, K., Murphy, E.J., & Croxall, J.P. 2006. Contrasting population changes in sympatric penguin species in associate with climate warming. Global Change Biology, 12: 411.

  • Kling, George. (2006). “Paleoclimatology”. November 10, 2006.

  • Lean, Geoffrey. “Global warming: Antarctica becomes too hot for the penguins”. 2002. <> (October 17, 2006)

  • “Monthly mean surface temperature at Bellingshausen station”. (December 2, 2006) <>

  • Picard, G., & Fily, M. (2005). Surface melting observations in Antarctica by microwave radiometers: Correcting 26-year time series from changes in acquisition hours. Remote Sensing of Environment, 401, 325-336.

  • Rignot, E., & Thomas, R. H. (2002). Mass balance of polar ice sheets. Science (Washington), 297(5586), 1502-1506.

  • Roach, John. “Penguin decline due to global warming”. 2004. <> (October 16 2006)

  • Topping, John C. Jr. “Film sparks discussion of fate of penguins in the face of global warming”. 2005. (October 17 2006)