Thursday, 30 December 2010

Penguins hop on scales in Antarctic climate study

Specially designed measuring scales have been built to allow experts to gain vital information about the feeding habits of the Adelie penguin.


Three sets of scales have been disguised and strategically placed on the routes popular with the birds at a colony in the Antarctic.

The scales are triggered when the penguins waddle over them after returning from fishing trips out at sea.

The Adelie penguin, named after the wife of French explorer Admiral Durmont d'Urville, is relatively small with the typical black and white markings of the penguin family.

The bird, which can dive to a depth of 500ft, sports a striking white eye ring which makes it appear as though it is wearing goggles.

Scientists working at the Dumont d'Urville base on Pointe Geologie archipelago in the Antarctic can then monitor the data to gain detailed information about the colony.

Weighing the birds gives scientists an indication of the amount of food they have eaten, which is crucial for finding out how the species are adapting to changes in their habitat.

Penguins have suffered as a result of climate change with 11 of the world's 18 species decreasing in numbers, according to the 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/antarctica/8228565/Penguins-hop-on-scales-in-Antarctic-climate-study.html

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