Antarctic penguin breeding spied on with timelapse cameras
Antarctic researchers are being a bit creepy in the name of science.
They’ve been using remote timelapse cameras to keep track of the mating habits of Adélie penguins, which helps to map out their breeding cycles.
Cameras take up to 12 pictures a day of the nests, which will tell researchers when eggs are laid, when they hatch, and if the chicks survive.
That data derived from the cameras was then compared to direct observations, and it was discovered that breeding timings were the same. The findings of the project have been detailed in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
Given how challenging and remote these places are, remote cameras provide an opportunity for scientists to see how the birds are going.
The Adélie penguins are considered crucial to the health of the Southern Ocean ecosystem, with a population ten times larger than the Emperor penguin, at 7.5 million breeding adults.
The study will help researchers better manage fisheries in the region, as the penguins’ food supplies are threatened by climate change.