Impacts of climatic changes driving morenegative influence in Chinstrap penguins population

Chinstrap penguinsBasing on the data research and analysis that was partly funded by the National science foundation (NSF) concerning the dramatic population changes of chinstrap penguins in Peninsula. Statistics shows that due to the high temperatures that are experienced on the Antarctic Peninsula, the population of chinstrap penguins has drastically declined due to rapid temperature changes.

Studies also indicate that tourism and the rapid change in climate conditions have the most effective impacts on the population of chinstrap. Ron Naveen who is also the founder of conversation organization the oceanites and a nonprofit science including other organizations such as Chevy Chase among others, was responsible for documentation and decline for a paper that was then published by the journal polar biology.

Ron Naveen and Heather Lynch who is also the coauthor are both researchers and work with the Antarctic Site Inventory (ASI), most of the findings are mainly based on data collection analysis that was obtained through fieldwork and was conducted in December 2011. These processes were conducted at Deception Island which is also one of the major Antarctica’s tourist locations.

For the past 60 years, peninsula has been experiencing slight changes in temperature conditions since the region inclines annually by 3 degrees Celsius and during winter the temperatures rises by 5 degrees Celsius. This has really affected the chinstrap and the Adelie penguin species which are among the three penguin species found in the peninsula. The third species are the Gentoo penguins which have not been affected and instead they are expanding their ranges and numbers.

The Antarctic Site Inventory has been conducting data collection and analysis on Antarctic Peninsula penguin population since 1994. Due to inventory work efforts, the ASI has been able to generate new findings that have brought very important information and implications for advancement and improvement of Antarctic science and the management by Antarctic treaty nations. The inventory is firmly supported by the NSF and the public contributions, assistance during field work at Deception Island was granted by the Tinker Foundation.

NSF has been able to carry out its presidential mandate and now fully dedicated to manage the U.S. Antarctic program through the polar programs. This also coordinates to all the U.S research on the southern part of the continent and also around the south ocean. Antarctic Site Inventory has been known to be the only science project that is responsible for tracking penguin’s population changes in the whole parts of Antarctic Peninsula region. Island work deceptions mainly occur under harsh conditions and therefore the whole process requires a lot of patience in order to achieve the best and accurate results.

Tourism has also been known to have negative impacts on chinstrap penguin breeding especially at Deception Island which is the major chinstrap colony and is also known as the Baily Head. According to lynch who is the inventory’s chief scientist, the analysis and results at the Deception Island brought massive changes and new lights according to this region. Inventory team found 79,849 different breeding pairs of chinstrap at deception. Compared to the early statistics, this shows that the population of chinstrap penguins has gone down by over 50 percent of their population.

Decline of chinstrap penguins at Deception Island is therefore consistent and chinstrap species are the most affected throughout the region including those parts that receive no tourism. This also indicates that rapid decline of chinstrap penguins is as a result of regional environmental change that is influencing the non-existence of these species. According to the data analysis taken in Baily Head, studies shows that there is no solid evidence or any links between tourism and the decline of chinstrap penguins. In 2002-03 and 2009-10 lynch’s analyses took satellite images that suggests that chinstrap penguins have declined by 39 percent in a period of seven years.

The Antarctic Site Inventory (ASI) continues to demonstrate the important uses of satellite imagery in analyzing and explaining environmental changes mostly in sensitive habitats. This has been successful through the support and help from NSF and the University of Minnesota’s Polar Geospatial centre. Even thou their have been claims of tourism affecting the population of penguins, research and studies shows that climate is the major element that is responsible for these dramatic population changes that are experienced in peninsula. If there are any impacts of tourism on these populations, then they may be too small to be detected unlike the climatic changes.

Share on digg

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.