Penguins Adjusting to Climate Change


As the climate changes, emperor penguins are becoming more adaptive at adjusting for breeding in different areas. As a result of global warming and an increase in temperature, the penguin is evolving to warmer weather conditions. New research shows that the penguin is no longer restricting itself to one breeding ground. Considering that change in environment is one of the factors that contribute to a species’ extinction, this is great news for all penguin lovers.

According to a recent study by scientists of University of Minnesota, the emperor penguin has been behaving in ways that help them adapt to the change in climate. The penguin is no longer returning to the same location to breed. Migrating to different locations over the span of three years, penguins are becoming more aware of their environmental changes. This behavior is unusual for the species, but shows that the bird recognizes that the previous geographical breeding area is no longer safe for mating.

Following emperor penguins over the years, scientists have used satellite images to track the breeding patterns of the cold-weathered avian. Scientists have noticed that the penguin has relocated over six times in the span of the three years. This type of migration from breeding ground to the next, changes the historical research of many previous watchers of the species. The penguin is still noticeably moving within colonies, but is not returning to the same breeding grounds as before.

This new research also dispels the ideology that the emperor penguin species is declining in number. In the past, researchers that followed the penguins would notice a decline in numbers as they returned to their respective breeding grounds. Well known for their selective breeding and pattern of moving in colonies, the emperor penguin is known to many researchers as a creature of habit. It never accrued to scientists that the emperor penguin could adjust to new climate changes. Now that scientists from the University of Minnesota have delved deeper into the mating patterns of the penguin species, they noticed that the previous research was only a myth.

Assuming that the birds return to the same location every year, the fluctuations in colony size and recorded number of the species is bias. As more research was conducted, the fear that climate change was negatively affecting the survival of the species was debunked. Fortunately as more research proved, the penguin is able to realize that the previous breeding grounds in the Antarctic seacoast are not the same. This new discovery also causes scientists to form a new procedure and hypothesis as to why the penguin colonies vary in structure and size.

Although this news focuses mainly on the migration patterns of the penguin species, it opens the possibility that other species are becoming more aware of their changing environment. With the recent melting of the polar ice caps, many species’ sizes have been recorded as falling under the line of endangerment. Though this news is unsettling to many animal lovers, the recent discovery of the migration pattern of the emperor penguin could be a deterrent from popular misconception of nature’s inability to adjust to climate change.

By Tyler Cole

The Escapist
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