Going with the floe: Sea-ice movement affects distance and destination during Adélie penguin winter movements is an open access article from the journal Ecology, published by the Ecological Society of America. It was first published on 26 October 2023. The article is about how sea-ice movement influences the winter foraging behavior of Adélie penguins in Antarctica. The article has the following sections:
Seasonal migration is a crucial aspect of the life history of various species, with external factors like wind and ocean currents influencing movement patterns. The energetic cost of migration is linked to individual survival, breeding productivity, and population dynamics. While wildlife movements in connection with wind and ocean currents have been extensively studied, movements within sea-ice fields, integral to polar ecology, have received less attention. Adélie penguins, key mesopredators in the Southern Ocean, undergo significant migrations influenced by sea ice, providing a unique opportunity to understand the interaction between species and their dynamic environment.
This study focuses on understanding Adélie penguin migration strategies, particularly in relation to sea-ice circulation patterns, and how changes in sea-ice movement may impact their ecology. The Ross Gyre, driven by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, plays a role in the penguins' wintering range, influencing their migration paths.
The study concentrated on two Adélie penguin breeding colonies on Ross Island in the Southern Ocean. Geolocating dive recorders were deployed on penguins during three consecutive breeding seasons, providing data on their movements. The geolocation estimation involved using light data and a Bayesian framework to refine location estimates. Penguin movements were analyzed based on speed, distance, and migration routes, considering the influence of sea-ice movement.
The study revealed two broad migration patterns among Adélie penguins: a western route and an eastern route. Penguin speed and arrival dates were assessed, showing differences between the two migration routes. The study suggests that penguins might use sea-ice movement to travel more efficiently at times, aligning with or against the sea-ice circulation pattern.
Understanding Adélie penguin migration strategies in relation to sea-ice dynamics provides insights into the ecological consequences of a changing icescape. The study highlights the importance of considering sea-ice movements in the context of wildlife migration, especially in polar regions facing the impacts of climate change.
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