Email Print Share

Majestic line of emperor penguins, Antarctica.

A majestic line of emperor penguins, Antarctica.

A majestic line of emperor penguins, Antarctica.

Emperor penguins are the largest of all penguins, standing up to 42 inches (115 centimeters) tall and weighing 84 pounds (38 kilograms). They are majestic birds, walking with stately purpose at speeds of around 5 miles per hour (7.5 kilometers per hour). Emperors can dive as deep as 1,800 feet (550 meters) on a single breath of air, lasting up to 20 minutes. Emperor penguins are rarely found north of the Antarctic Circle.

Studies of emperor penguins are just one of the vast numbers of ongoing research projects that take place continually in Antarctica under the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), supported and managed by the National Science Foundation. For example, one study by researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography focused on emperor penguins' diving. Emperors routinely dive to depths of 500-meters. Scripps researchers examined the emperors pressure tolerance, management of oxygen stores, end-organ tolerance of diving hypoxemia/ischemia, and deep-dive foraging behavior. This information provided insight into human diving physiology and has medical applications for patients whose organs or tissues have been deprived of oxygen due to heart attack, stroke, transplant, etc.

Other Antarctic study areas are aeronomy and astrophysics, biology and medicine, geology and geophysics, glaciology, and ocean and climate systems. Outreach such as the Antarctic Artists and Writers program and education programs are also supported. To learn more, visit the USAP website. (Date of Image: October 2007)

Credit: Glenn Grant, National Science Foundation
See other images like this in NSF's Science360 for iPad app. To download the Science360 for iPad application for free, visit the Apple iTunes store.

General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (3.1 MB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.