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Dynamic fine-scale sea icescape shapes adult emperor penguin foraging habitat in East Antarctica


Labrousse, S and Fraser, AD and Sumner, M and Tamura, T and Pinaud, D and Wienecke, B and Kirkwood, R and Ropert-Coudert, Y and Reisinger, R and Jonsen, I and Porter-Smith, R and Barbraud, C and Bost, C-A and Ji, R and Jenouvrier, S, Dynamic fine-scale sea icescape shapes adult emperor penguin foraging habitat in East Antarctica, Geophysical Research Letters, 46, (20) pp. 11206-11218. ISSN 0094-8276 (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1029/2019GL084347


The emperor penguin, an iconic species threatened by projected sea ice loss in Antarctica, has long been considered to forage at the fast ice edge, presumably relying on large/yearly persistent polynyas as their main foraging habitat during the breeding season. Using newly developed fine-scale sea icescape data and historical penguin tracking data, this study for the first time suggests the importance of less recognized small openings, including cracks, flaw leads and ephemeral short-term polynyas, as foraging habitats for emperor penguins. The tracking data retrieved from 47 emperor penguins in two different colonies in East Antarctica suggest that those penguins spent 23% of their time in ephemeral polynyas and did not use the large/yearly persistent, well-studied polynyas, even if they occur much more regularly with predictable locations. These findings challenge our previous understanding of emperor penguin breeding habitats, highlighting the need for incorporating fine-scale seascape features when assessing the population persistence in a rapidly changing polar environment.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:emperor penguin, sea ice, iceberg, fast ice, polynya, foraging ecology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Fraser, AD (Dr Alex Fraser)
UTAS Author:Sumner, M (Mr Michael Sumner)
UTAS Author:Tamura, T (Dr Takeshi Tamura)
ID Code:137266
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2020-02-06
Last Modified:2020-05-26
Downloads:11 View Download Statistics

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