Amid global concern about the impact of climate change on biodiversity, new research has found that Adelie penguins in East Antarctica could be one of few known species that benefits from shrinking Antarctic glaciers.
The study looked at the DNA of Adelie penguins to identify population trends over the last 22,000 years. The findings show the penguin population in East Antarctica is now 135 times larger than it was when the last ice age ended around 19,000 years ago.
Adelie penguins nest on ice-free land along the Antarctic coastline and therefore benefit from deglaciation. The foraging for food for their chicks becomes easier for the penguins as a result of the reduction in sea ice.
Lead Author Jane Younger said the research showed that when considering the effects of climate change, it is important to consider the long-term impact over millennia as well as the immediate effects.
[img source] Mary Bomford (CCA2.0).
The above story is based on materials provided by the University of Tasmania.