Click here to listen to this podcast
The list of species potentially imperiled by climate change is long, from polar bears
to certain types of pine trees
But there are also those species that will benefit from the changed climate conditions. And a new study
that uses data collection stretching back more than 50 years finds that the Adelie penguins of Beaufort Island near Antarctica may be one of the fortunate climate cases.
Aerial photographs and satellite images reveal that this colony nearly doubled in size between 1958 and 2010, swelling from 35,000 breeding pairs to 64,000 families.
The reason is an increase in the kind of nesting habitat Adelie penguins love: Rocky beaches revealed by the melting back of snow and ice. Such a melt back
is considered likely for many other locations in the Antarctic suggesting the penguins may find even more homeland soon.
The expansion may also be because other critters, like the krill and silverfish the penguins eat have been increasing, although census data is lacking. And more Adelies
might prove good news for leopard seals who dine on them. Of course, that’s only if the seals can stand the warmer waters.
Follow Scientific American on Twitter @SciAm and @SciamBlogs.
Visit ScientificAmerican.com for the latest in science, health and technology news.
© 2013 ScientificAmerican.com. All rights reserved.
- Nature & Environment