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Antarctic penguin response to habitat change as Earth's troposphere reaches 2°C above preindustrial levels


Ainley, D and Russell, J and Jenouvrier, S and Woehler, E and Lyver, PO and Fraser, WR and Kooyman, GL, Antarctic penguin response to habitat change as Earth's troposphere reaches 2°C above preindustrial levels, Ecological Monographs, 80, (1) pp. 49-66. ISSN 0012-9615 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright © 2010 Ecological Society of America

DOI: doi:10.1890/08-2289.1


We assess the response of pack ice penguins, Emperor (Aptenodytes forsteri) and AdeŽlie (Pygoscelis adeliae), to habitat variability and, then, by modeling habitat alterations, the qualitative changes to their populations, size and distribution, as Earth’s average tropospheric temperature reaches 28C above preindustrial levels (ca. 1860), the benchmark set by the European Union in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. First, we assessed models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) on penguin performance duplicating existing conditions in the Southern Ocean. We chose four models appropriate for gauging changes to penguin habitat: GFDL-CM2.1, GFDL-CM2.0, MIROC3.2(hi-res), and MRI-CGCM2.3.2a. Second, we analyzed the composited model ENSEMBLE to estimate the point of 28C warming (2025–2052) and the projected changes to sea ice coverage (extent, persistence, and concentration), sea ice thickness, wind speeds, precipitation, and air temperatures. Third, we considered studies of ancient colonies and sediment cores and some recent modeling, which indicate the (space/time) large/centennial- scale penguin response to habitat limits of all ice or no ice. Then we considered results of statistical modeling at the temporal interannual-decadal scale in regard to penguin response over a continuum of rather complex, meso- to large-scale habitat conditions, some of which have opposing and others interacting effects. The ENSEMBLE meso/decadal-scale output projects a marked narrowing of penguins’ zoogeographic range at the 28C point. Colonies north of 708 S are projected to decrease or disappear: ;50% of Emperor colonies (40% of breeding population) and ;75% of AdeŽlie colonies (70% of breeding population), but limited growth might occur south of 738 S. Net change would result largely from positive responses to increase in polynya persistence at high latitudes, overcome by decreases in pack ice cover at lower latitudes and, particularly for Emperors, ice thickness. AdeŽlie Penguins might colonize new breeding habitat where concentrated pack ice diverges and/or disintegrating ice shelves expose coastline. Limiting increase will be decreased persistence of pack ice north of the Antarctic Circle, as this species requires daylight in its wintering areas. AdeŽlies would be affected negatively by increasing snowfall, predicted to increase in certain areas owing to intrusions of warm, moist marine air due to changes in the Polar Jet Stream.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:AdeŽlie Penguin; Antarctica; climate change; climate modeling; Emperor Penguin; habitat
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Evolutionary impacts of climate change
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Woehler, E (Dr Eric Woehler)
ID Code:63738
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:122
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2010-05-26
Last Modified:2011-04-12
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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