Scientists have discovered that the melting of ice in Antarctica greatly improves the life of the local penguins.
The polar ice is rapidly melting, which causes an increased concern of scientists and conservationists calling on all to fight greenhouse gases and global warming. However the most famous inhabitants of Antarctica — the penguins — would be unlikely to support these alarmist sentiments.
Biologists have long noticed that the population of Adelie penguins — the most common in Antarctica species of these birds increases along with the melting of coastal ice, and decreases in those years when ice cover increases again. The reason for this phenomenon was still unclear, but now scientists from the Institute of polar research in Tokyo was able to fill this gap.
The authors of the study with the help of electronic means — the GPS sensors, accelerometers and video cameras in the past four seasons has followed closely the life of penguins 175 — where they go, where to swim, and even how much production eat at one time.
“it became Clear that without ice that the penguins live better – says who led the research Yuuki Watanabi. – This may seem counterintuitive, but explains everything quite simple.”
According to the scientist, in the absence of ice, the penguins have less to walk and swim, and swim they are much better than go.
In the “ice” of the season, the penguins have to go quite a long way to the nearest rift in the ice, in which you can dive in and get their food. But when the ice retreats, they can start hunting literally “from a threshold” of the nest, which is significantly less energy. And what is also important, so water availability reduces competition between the penguins for krill — their main food. The krill, in turn, also multiplies well in warm seasons, because the algae on which it feeds, get more sunlight, and therefore, grow better.
However, all this is only true for those penguins that live on the mainland of Antarctica. Penguins on the island and those who live on the Antarctic Peninsula, ice melting produces the opposite effect. Why scientists do not yet understand, and this, apparently, will be the subject of their next study.