Emperor Penguin on the verge of Extinction, Antarctica ice melting continues

New Delhi, Fri, 22 Jun 2012 NI Wire

Continuous ice melting of Antarctica is threatening extinction of many species. One such specie is of Emperor penguins who are on the verge of extinctions according to a new study carried on by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Stephanie Jenouvrier is the lead researcher. The study has been published in journal Global Change Biology. He said, "Over the last century, we have already observed the disappearance of the Dion Islets penguin colony, close to the West Antarctic Peninsula".

"In 1948 and the 1970s, scientists recorded more than 150 breeding pairs there. By 1999, the population was down to just 20 pairs, and in 2009, it had vanished entirely", he added

If global temperatures continue to rise four-feet tall Emperor penguins may eventually disappear. Melting is affecting their food source and is causing imbalance. Penguins feed on fish, squid, and krill that feed on zooplankton and phytoplankton that grow on the underside of the ice.

If the melting of ice continues this food web will be broken causing various species penguins to starve to death.

Not only this, the largest sea birds breeds and raise their young solely on sea ice and massive breeding failure can happen if the ice breaks up early in the breeding season.

Jenouvrier said, "Our best projections show roughly 500 to 600 breeding pairs remaining by the year 2100. Today, the population size is around 3000 breeding pairs".



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