Tracking Antarctic penguins:

What can we learn from one species’ growing numbers, while others are declining?

For more than two decades, Oceanites has collected data on penguin and seabird species on the Antarctic Peninsula in order to learn more about climate change andto protect the Antarctic environment. Supporting Oceanites is part of Hurtigruten Foundation’s continued tracking of climate-related changes in the Antarctic.

In their last report on the five Antarctic penguin species from 2020, Oceanites underlines an interesting development for three of the species in the Antarctic Peninsula. While the Adélie and the Chinstrap penguins are declining more andmore, the Gentoo penguins are in fact increasing in numbers. With this data, Oceanites wants to increase the awareness of climate change, its potential impacts onhumans and how we might adapt to it through the lens of the penguins.

There is much we can learn from how the different penguin species tackle the current climate change in the Antarctic Peninsula. The severe decline in two of the species may be the result of several issues, ranging from krill availability and potential shrinking in stock size to rising temperatures and retreating sea ice due to global warming. The Gentoo penguins, on the other hand, are showing impressive ways of adapting to the rapid change. ”With funding from the Hurtigruten Foundation we can continue to track these developments and hopefully see adaptations that can be used in our own battle with climate change as well.” says David W. Lippy, Oceanites’ Director of Development.

 

Antarctic penguins h ave existed for 60 million years. Can they survive climate change?

 

Oceanites will continue to collect and report on the significant changes in the Antarctic environment and its penguin species, as well as kickstarting several new projects that you can read about at their website. They were awarded a multi-year grant from Hurtigruten Foundation in 2020 and are receiving funding on projects related to research and to raise awareness around the Changes in the Vastly Warmed Antarctic Peninsula. So far, the organisation has received $20,000 to help with the projects. Oceanites hope to travel with Hurtigruten during the forthcoming and future Antarctic seasons.

Where can I find out more?

Would you like to help count the Antarctic penguins? As a passenger at Hurtigruten, you have a chance to explore the Antarctic Peninsula through our expedition cruises with MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Fram. You can also read more about the organisation and their continued work at their webpage.

About Oceanites

Oceanites is a non-profit organisation based in Washington, D.C that operates internationally with the central mission of assisting science-based conservation recommendations in Antarctica and increasing the awareness of climate change worldwide. Over the past 27 years, the organisation has made more than 2,100 site visits and collected data from more than 250 different Antarctic locations.