undergroundnewsroom.com March 23, 2018

'Supercolony' of 1.5 million Adelie penguins found in Antarctica

04 March 2018, 02:05 | Clyde Nash

Amazing drone pics reveal MILLIONS of penguins in Antarctic 'mega-colonies'

Danger Islands Expedition Image

Megacolonies of more than 1.5 million penguins have been discovered on remote islands in the Antarctic after their excrement was spotted from space.

The scientists used an algorithm to search images from the American Landsat spacecraft for sites of possible penguin activity.

Their goal was to count the numbers of the bird by hand. Researchers think climate change and the melting of thick layers of ice have negatively impacted penguin populations, and the finding adds weight to this hypothesis because it "shows how robust penguin populations are where the ice is intact", Dr. Hart said. It also offers a valuable benchmark for future change in the species, and it will lend valuable evidence for supporting Marine Protected Areas near the Antarctic Peninsula. Well, the Danger Islands are fairly remote, even by Antarctica standards.

But a boatload of researchers managed to get to the islands in December 2015, and they counted the penguins by manually counting individual nests and also counting nests using panoramic photos taken by drones.

"The automaton gives you a chance to fly in a lattice over the island, taking pictures once every second". "The water around the island boiled with penguins. You can then stitch them together into a huge collage that shows the entire landmass in 2D and 3D", said the research's co-author Hanumant Singh, Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University.

Scientists, including one LSU Professor, discovered a super-colony of more than one and a half million penguins during an expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. There is no motivation behind why that couldn't occur to those on the east side also, and scientists will watch those penguins intently in the coming years.

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Adélie penguins only exist in Antarctica, and their populations have seen a marked decline along most of the western side of the peninsula, where rising temperatures tied to man-made climate change have melted sea ice.

"We want to understand why".

A team led by researchers from the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported their discovery in the journal Scientific Reports.

The authors highlighted that the area inhabited by this large group of penguins seems not to be affected by climate change and the human presence has been non-existent until now.

The islands, which lie at the tip of Antarctica nearest South America, have rarely been visited, and the new discovery was thanks to Earth-monitoring satellites, the team from America, Britain and France, said.

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