Seabird Research Program
Watch Dr. Wayne Trivelpiece on CBS' 60 Minutes as he discusses chinstrap penguins at King George Island
(A text version of the show is also available).
As part of the AMLR Program’s predator studies, seabird research at both field stations concentrates on the interactions between seabirds, their primary prey (Antarctic krill) and fishing activities. Researchers monitor aspects of the breeding biology and foraging ecology of Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins. This directed research is used to detect, monitor and predict changes in the krill resource upon which these penguins depend and to provide advice to CCAMLR regarding fisheries impacts on krill and krill-dependent predators. Data arising from these studies are contributed to the international CEMP (CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program) database in Hobart, Australia. Details regarding the CEMP Data, including descriptions of and access to these results, is provided here.
Results from data collected in our study areas indicate that Adélie and chinstrap penguin populations have fallen to about one-half of the population numbers seen in the 1970/80s. Evidence is beginning to show that changes in the demography of the penguin populations is responsible for the declines, especially survival rates of young penguins, which are approximately 50% lower than rates in the earlier decades.
Over the next five to 10 years, the AMLR Program hopes to implement an annual, inshore survey that examines the prey distributions and biomass within the penguin foraging ranges within 10K of the colonies. We also hope to deploy oceanographic sensors that can detect and predict changes in marine conditions over much of the breeding season. In addition, little is known about the non-breeding winter distributions of penguins; use of satellite tags and other remote sensing techniques can be used to document the behaviors of penguins during that critical period.
The seabird predator program of the AERD is directed by Dr. Wayne Trivelpiece.