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Status and trends of Adélie penguin populations in the Ross Sea region

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

R. H. Taylor
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Land Resources, Private Bag, Nelson, New Zealand
P. R. Wilson
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Land Resources, Private Bag, Nelson, New Zealand
B. W. Thomas
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Land Resources, Private Bag, Nelson, New Zealand


Aerial reconnaissance and photography were used in the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica to determine the breeding locations of Adelie penguins Pygoscelis adeliae, and to count the numbers of nests occupied during the early incubation period. From 1981 to 1987, all islands and sea coasts between 158°E and 175°E were searched, and 11 previously unreported breeding rookeries were discovered. Thirty-eight Adé1ie rookeries are now known from the region, with a total of about 1,082,000 breeding pairs — almost half the world population. Some rookeries were photographed in all, or most, of the seven seasons to study the pattern of natural fluctuations in Adelie populations, and comparisons have been made with earlier counts. Populations at nearly all rookeries have increased in size over the last 10–20 years. Possible reasons for this, and for annual fluctuations in numbers breeding, include seasonal variations in. sea ice and weather conditions, and longer-term climatic change.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1990

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