Population dynamics of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Penguin species
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Penguins are one of the most recognizable of all birds and are used extensively as symbols of Antarctica. There are 17 species of penguin, of which eight breed in the Antarctic region (the Antarctic continent and other areas within and around the Antarctic convergence) (Woehler 1993). These eight species comprise the Adelie (Pygoscelis adelie), the Emperor (Aptenodytes forsteri), the Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) the Gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), the King (Aptenodytes patagonica), the Macaroni (Eudyptes chrysolophus), the Rockhopper (Eudyptes crestatus) and the Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli), although some regard the Royal Penguin as a sub-species of the Macaroni (Woehler 1993). Of these eight species, only the Adelie and the Emperor breed on the Antarctic continent, with all others breeding either on the Antarctic Peninsula or on sub-Antarctic islands (see Figure 1 for distribution information). Penguins are highly adapted for living in the cold environment of the Antarctic region. They have very dense plumage, made up of overlapping individual feathers, as well as a layer of down (Allen et al. 1985). Underneath the feathers and down is a thick layer of fat providing excellent insulation from the cold conditions they experience. Penguins are flightless, with their wings modified into flippers for swimming. They also possess a short stubby tail and a torpedo shaped body, all of which assist them in the water (Allen et al. 1985). Penguins feed on zooplankton, squid and fish, and feed their chicks by regurgitation (Young 1994).
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