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Penguin Science.com (Image 14)

Researchers round up Adelie penguin chicks at Cape Royds and coral them before tagging

Researchers round up Adelie penguin chicks at Cape Royds and coral them before affixing metal rings around their "arm pits." The rings are imprinted with a number that helps researchers identify them when viewing from a distance. Cape Royds on Ross Island in Antarctica is a giant living laboratory where thousands of Adelie penguins converge in raucous crowds during Antarctica's warmer months to breed and rear their young.

Jean Pennycook, who has a background in education and is currently an Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation, works on Ainley's penguin research team. Pennycook observes and tracks Adelie penguin families for her outreach project that she posts on the website penguinscience.com. She brings the science and research of penguins and the adventure and beauty of Antarctica to classrooms around the world. Pennycook makes the science accessible to people of all ages through an interactive webpage, daily pictures from the field and classroom activities for teachers to engage their students in the lives of these remarkable birds.

Ainley's team is researching how penguins are coping with a rapidly changing climate and changes caused by commercial fishing. The team monitors the birds with an array of high tech equipment including computerized weigh bridges, satellite telemetry and microchips to identify individual penguins. With these tools the team is examining how penguin resources (prey and habitat), competition (among themselves and with other species such as whales) and climate factors (wind and sea ice conditions) are affecting their populations. In addition to advanced technology, 55 years of long-term research conducted at these colonies has made the Adelie penguin one of the world's best-studied wild birds, and, lately, a harbinger of environmental change.

Ainley's research is funded by the National Science Foundation. (Date of Image: unknown) [Image 14 of 24 related images. See Image 15.]

Credit: penguinscience.com

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