Climate Change Affecting Penguins

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Climate change affecting Penguins Penguins are a flightless bird that predominately lives in the southern hemisphere of the world, from the tropical Galapagos Islands to the Antarctic continent. They vary in sizes, the biggest being the emperor penguin which stand approximately 3 feet in height; and the smallest being the little penguin standing approximately 16 to 18 inches tall. All penguins are counter shaded, which means they have a white coloration in the front (ventral) surface and a dark coloration in the back (dorsal) surface. Penguins are specialized to withstand harsh cold temperatures of the Antarctic continent, but also be able to adapt to the aquatic environment in order to obtain their food. Due to the decline in temperature…show more content…
This data correlates with the decrease in temperature of the Antarctic continent which began approximately about 12 million years ago (Subramanian et al. 2013). This conveys the relationship between the evolutions of the penguin with the change in climate in the southern hemisphere. Although most penguins are being affected directly by the decrease in temperature in the southern hemisphere, not all penguins are dramatically decreasing in population sizes. For example, the Gentoo penguins which may be found in the South Orkney Islands of Antarctica seem better adapted to free ice condition than its closest relative which is the Adelie and Chinstrap penguins. These two other classes of penguins which may also be found in the Orkney Islands have declined dramatically in the past 26 years since climate has been warming (Forcada and Trathan 2006). If these trends continue to occur at the same rate at which they are happening, soon there will be no more ice sheets for penguins to live in and some repercussions for penguins will be food supply shortages and competition for resources will be more vigorously competed for. An example of new competition that may arise from ice sheets decline can be seen through the Gentoo penguin and the Adelie penguin. Since the Gentoo penguin is moving southward to where the Adelie penguins live this…show more content…
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