02 Apr '12, 3pm

Penguin Poop as seen from space

Penguin Poop as seen from space

Despite being the world’s biggest penguins, Antarctica’s emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) are in some ways the most vulnerable. Unlike their littler cousins, such as Adélie penguins that breed on land, emperor penguins breed almost entirely on sea ice. If the spring thaw comes early to the birds’ nesting platform, stranded penguin chicks may starve. The vulnerability of emperor penguins to natural variability in the timing of the spring thaw makes them important research subjects for wildlife biologists, but they breed in some of the coldest, darkest, remotest parts of the world, often in colonies far too big for scientists to manually count. Researchers at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), however, found an ingenious solution. Rather than looking for penguins, the BAS team used satellite imagery to find what penguins leave behind. This true-color image, acquired ...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=38868

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