Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-5lzww Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-25T20:25:30.885Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Penguin population dynamics for the past 8500 years at Gardner Island, Vestfold Hills

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 August 2009

Tao Huang
Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China
Liguang Sun*
Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China
Yuhong Wang
Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China National Institute of Health, MD 20892, USA
Xiaodong Liu
Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China
Renbin Zhu
Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China


In order to reconstruct past changes in penguin populations we performed geochemical analyses on a penguin ornithogenic sediment core DG4 retrieved from a lake catchment on Gardner Island, Vestfold Hills. P, Se, F, S, As, Sr and Cu in DG4 were identified as the bio-element assemblage by R-clustering analyses on the elemental concentrations and comparisons with those in bedrock and fresh penguin guano. Factor analysis on the levels of these bio-elements in the core permitted a reconstruction of variations in historical penguin populations at Gardner Island spanning the past 8500 years. The penguin population showed significant fluctuations, reaching its highest density between 4700–2400 calibrated years before present. This coincides with evidence for a late Holocene warm period in the Vestfold Hills, similar to that associated with the late Holocene penguin optimum recorded in the Ross Sea and Antarctic Peninsula regions.

Biological Sciences
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Adamson, D.A.Pickard, J. 1986. Cainozoic history of the Vestfold Hills. In Pickard, J., ed. Antarctic oasis: terrestrial environments and history of the Vestfold Hills. Sydney: Academic Press, 6397.Google Scholar
Baroni, C.Orombelli, G. 1994. Abandoned penguin rookeries as Holocene paleoclimatic indicators in Antarctica. Geology, 22, 2326.2.3.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Björck, S., Håkansson, H., Olsson, S., Ellis-Evans, C., Humlum, O.Lirio, J.M. 1996. Late Holocene palaeoclimatic records from lake sediments on James Ross Island, Antarctica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 113, 195220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Domack, E.W., Jull, A.T.J.Nakao, S. 1991. Advance of East Antarctic outlet glaciers during the Hypsithermal: implications for the volume state of the Antarctic ice sheet under global warming. Geology, 19, 10591062.2.3.CO;2>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emslie, S.D. 2001. Radiocarbon dates from abandoned penguin colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Antarctic Science, 13, 289295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emslie, S.D.McDaniel, J.D. 2002. Adélie penguin diet and climate change during the middle to late Holocene in northern Marguerite Bay, Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology, 25, 222229.Google Scholar
Emslie, S.D.Woehler, E.J. 2005. A 9000-year record of Adélie penguin occupation and diet in the Windmill Islands, East Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 17, 5766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Emslie, S.D., Coats, L.Licht, K. 2007. A 45,000 yr record of Adélie penguins and climate change in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Geology, 35, 6164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gregory-Eaves, I., Smol, J.P., Douglas, M.S.V.Finney, B.P. 2003. Diatoms and sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) population dynamics: reconstructions of salmon-derived nutrients over the past 2,200 years in two lakes from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Journal of Paleolimnology, 30, 3553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hodgson, D.A.Johnston, N.M. 1997. Inferring seal populations from lake sediments. Nature, 387, 3031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hodgson, D.A., Doran, P.T., Roberts, D.McMinn, A. 2004. Paleolimnological studies from the Antarctic and subantarctic islands. In Pienitz, R., Douglas, M.S.V.&Smol, J.P., eds. Long term environmental change in Arctic and Antarctic lakes. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 419474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hodgson, D.A., Roberts, D., McMinn, A., Verleyen, E., Terry, B., Corbett, C.Vyverman, W. 2006. Recent rapid salinity rise in three East Antarctic lakes. Journal of Paleolimnology, 36, 385406.Google Scholar
Huang, T., Sun, L.G., Wang, Y.H.Zhu, R.B. 2009. Penguin occupation in the Vestfold Hills. Antarctic Science, 21, 131134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ingólfsson, Ó. 2004. The Quaternary glacial and climate history of Antarctica. In Ehlers, J. & Gibbard, P.L., ed. Quaternary glaciations of the World, Part III. New York: Elsevier, 343.Google Scholar
Kirkup, H., Melles, M.Gore, D.B. 2002. Late Quaternary environment of southern Windmill Islands, East Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 14, 385394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Liu, X.D., Sun, L.G., Xie, Z.Q., Yin, X.B., Zhu, R.B.Wang, Y.H. 2007. A preliminary record of the historical seabird population in the Larsemann Hills, East Antarctica, from geochemical analyses of Mochou Lake sediments. Boreas, 36, 182197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Liu, X.D., Zhao, S.P., Sun, L.G., Luo, H.H., Yin, X.B., Xie, Z.Q., Wang, Y.H., Liu, K.X., Wu, X.H., Ding, X.F.Fu, D.P. 2006. Geochemical evidence for the variation of historical seabird population on Dongdao Island of the South China Sea. Journal of Paleolimnology, 36, 259279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McMinn, A., Hejnis, H., Harle, K.McOrist, G. 2001. Late-Holocene climate change recorded in sediment cores from Ellis Fjord, eastern Antarctica. The Holocene, 11, 291300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pickard, J., Adamson, D.A.Heath, C.W. 1986. The evolution of Watts Lake, Vestfold Hills, East Antarctica, from marine inlet to freshwater lake. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 53, 271288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roberts, D.McMinn, A. 1996. Relationships between surface sediment diatom assemblages and water chemistry gradients in saline lakes of Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. Antarctic Science, 8, 331341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roberts, D.McMinn, A. 1998. A weighted-averaging regression and calibration model for inferring lake water salinity from fossil diatom assemblages in saline lakes of the Vestfold Hills: implications for interpreting Holocene lake histories in Antarctica. Journal of Paleolimnology, 19, 99113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roberts, D.McMinn, A. 1999. A diatom-based palaeosalinity history of Ace Lake, Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. The Holocene, 9, 401408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roos-Barraclough, F., Martinez-Cortizas, A., Garcia-Rodeja, E.Shotyk, W. 2002. A 14500 year record of the accumulation of atmospheric mercury in peat: volcanic signals, anthropogenic influences and a correlation to bromine accumulation. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 202, 435451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sun, L.G.Xie, Z.Q. 2001. Relics: penguin population programs. Science Progress, 84, 3144.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sun, L.G., Xie, Z.Q.Zhao, J.L. 2000. Palaeoecology - a 3,000-year record of penguin populations. Nature, 407, 858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sun, L.G., Liu, X.D., Yin, X.B., Zhu, R.B., Xie, Z.Q.Wang, Y.H. 2004a. A 1,500-year record of Antarctic seal populations in response to climate change. Polar Biology, 27, 495501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sun, L.G., Zhu, R.B., Yin, X.B., Liu, X.D., Xie, Z.Q.Wang, Y.H. 2004b. A geochemical method for reconstruction of the occupation history of penguin colony in the maritime Antarctic. Polar Biology, 27, 670678.Google Scholar
Sun, L.G., Zhu, R.B., Liu, X.D., Xie, Z.Q., Yin, X.B., Zhao, S.P.Wang, Y.H. 2005. HCI-soluble Sr-87/Sr-86 ratio in sediments impacted by penguin or seal excreta as a proxy for historical population size in the maritime Antarctic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 303, 4350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Verleyen, E., Hodgson, D.A., Sabbe, K.Vyverman, W. 2004. Late Quaternary deglaciation and climate history of the Larsemann Hills (East Antarctica). Journal of Quaternary Science, 19, 361375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wang, J.J., Wang, Y.H., Wang, X.M.Sun, L.G. 2007. Penguins and vegetations on Ardley Island, Antarctica: evolution in the past 2,400 years. Polar Biology, 30, 14751481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilson, P.R., Ainley, D.G., Nur, N., Jacobs, S.S., Barton, K.J., Ballard, G.Comiso, J.C. 2001. Adélie penguin population change in the pacific sector of Antarctica: relation to sea-ice extent and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 213, 301309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Xie, Z.Q.Sun, L.G. 2008. A 1,800-year record of arsenic concentration in the penguin dropping sediment, Antarctic. Environmental Geology, 55, 10551059.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhang, Q.S. 1992. Late Quaternary environmental changes in the Antarctic and their correlation with global change. In Yoshida, Y., Kaminuma, K.&Shiraishi, K., eds. Recent progress in Antarctic earth science. Tokyo: Terra Scientific Publishing Company, 781785.Google Scholar