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Long-term trends in the population size and breeding success of emperor penguins at the Taylor Glacier colony, Antarctica


Robertson, G and Wienecke, B and Emmerson, L and Fraser, AD, Long-term trends in the population size and breeding success of emperor penguins at the Taylor Glacier colony, Antarctica, Polar Biology, 37, (2) pp. 251-259. ISSN 0722-4060 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Springer Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00300-013-1428-z


The population size of emperor penguins at the land-based Taylor Glacier colony was monitored over 54 years from 1957 to 2010 by intermittent ground counts from 1957 to 1975 and annual photographic counts from 1988 to 2010 of males attending the colony in winter and chicks in early summer. The breeding population in the early years averaged 3,684 ± 492 pairs compared with 2,927 ± 320 pairs from 1988-2010, a reduction of 20.5 %. The exact timing and magnitude of the change is unknown because there was a 13-year gap between the end of the historical counts and start of the contemporary counts. From 1954 to 2010 no real or inferred warming event that may have been linked to the decrease was evident at Australia's Mawson station, 95 km from Taylor Glacier colony. From 1988 to 2010, variation in breeding population size and breeding success were not related to variation in the distance between the colony and open water. In this period, the number of pairs breeding fluctuated annually and overall showed signs of a gradual decrease. The Taylor Glacier colony is one of only three emperor penguin colonies where populations have been monitored in winter over the long term. Given the threat of climate warming to the future of this ice-dependent species it is imperative that the annual monitoring programme at Taylor Glacier continues well into the future. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Emperor penguins, Population trends, Breeding success, Distance to open water, Climate warming
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Wildlife and habitat management
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
UTAS Author:Fraser, AD (Dr Alex Fraser)
ID Code:92777
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2014-06-27
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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