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Award Abstract #0944141

COLLABORATIVE: Adelie Penguin Response to Climate Change at the Individual, Colony and Metapopulation Levels

Division Of Polar Programs
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Initial Amendment Date: September 8, 2010
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Latest Amendment Date: September 8, 2010
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Award Number: 0944141
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Christian Fritsen
PLR Division Of Polar Programs
GEO Directorate For Geosciences
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Start Date: September 15, 2010
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End Date: August 31, 2015 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $550,862.00
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Investigator(s): Grant Ballard gballard@pointblue.org (Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: Point Reyes Bird Observatory
3820 Cypress Drive #11
Petaluma, CA 94954-6964 (707)781-2555
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Program Reference Code(s): 9169, EGCH
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Program Element Code(s): 5111


While changes in populations typically are tracked to gauge the impact of climate or habitat change, the process involves the response of individuals as each copes with an altered environment. In a study of Adelie penguins that spans 13 breeding seasons, results indicate that only 20% of individuals within a colony successfully raise offspring, and that they do so because of their exemplary foraging proficiency. Moreover, foraging appears to require more effort at the largest colony, where intraspecific competition is higher than at small colonies, and also requires more proficiency during periods of environmental stress. When conditions are particularly daunting, emigration dramatically increases, countering the long-standing assumption that Adélie penguins are highly philopatric. The research project will 1) determine the effect of age, experience and physiology on individual foraging efficiency; 2) determine the effect of age, experience, and individual quality on breeding success and survival in varying environmental and competitive conditions at the colony level; and 3) develop a comprehensive model for the Ross-Beaufort Island metapopulation dynamics. Broader impacts include training of interns, continuation of public outreach through the highly successful project website penguinscience.com, development of classroom materials and other standards-based instructional resources.


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inley, D. G., & G. Ballard. "Non-consumptive factors affecting patterns in Antarctic penguins: a review and synthesis," Polar Biology, 2011. 

Ainley, D. G., & G. Ballard. "Trophic interactions and population trends of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Southern Ross Sea," Aquatic Mammals, v.38, 2012, p. 153. 

Ainley, D.G., N. Nur, J. T. Eastman, G. Ballard, C. L. Parkinson, C. W. Evans, A. L. Devries. "Decadal trends in abundance, size and condition of Antarctic toothfish in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, 1972-2011," Fish and Fisheries, 2012. 

Ainley, D. G., D. Jongsomjit, G. Ballard, D. Thiele, W. R. Fraser, and C. T. Tynan. "Modeling the relationship of Antarctic minke whales to major ocean boundaries," Polar Biology, 2011. 

LaRue, M.A., D.G. Ainley, M. Swanson, K.M. Dugger, P. O?B. Lyver, K. Barton, G. Ballard. "Climate change winners: receding ice fields facilitate colony expansion and altered dynamics in an Adélie penguin metapopulation.," PLoS One, v.8, 2013.

LaRue, M., H.J. Lynch, P. O?B Lyver, K. Barton, D.G. Ainley, A. Pollard, G. Ballard. "Establishing a method for estimating populations of Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) using remote sensing imagery.," Polar Biology, 2014. 

Lescroël, A., G. Ballard, D. Grémillet, M. Authier, D. G. Ainley. "Antarctic climate change: extreme events disrupt plastic response in Adélie penguins..," PLoS One, v.9, 2014, p. e85291. 

Lyver PO, Barron M, Barton KJ, Ainley DG, Pollard A, Gordon S., McNeill S., Ballard G, Wilson P.R.. "Trends in the Breeding Population of Adélie Penguins in the Ross Sea, 1981?2012: A Coincidence of Climate and Resource Extraction Effects.," PLOS One, v.9, 2014, p. e91188. 

Varsani, A., S. Kraberger, S. Jennings, E. Porzig, L. Julian, M. Massaro, A. Pollard, G. Ballard, D. Ainley. "A novel papillomavirus in Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) faeces sampled at the Cape Crozier colony, Antarctica," Journal of General Virology, 2014. 

Dugger, K.M., G. Ballard, D.G. Ainley, P.O?B. Lyver, C. Schine. "Adélie penguins coping with environmental change: results from a natural experiment at the edge of their breeding range," Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 2014. 

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