HOUSTON, March 2 (Xinhua)-- Researchers announced Friday they had discovered a breeding colony of over 1.5 million Adelie penguins, which are threatened by climate change, on the Antarctic Peninsula.
A paper published in the journal Scientific Reports disclosed that a scientific expedition used new technologies to discover and observe the "super colony" of penguins in the Danger Islands, a remote group of tiny islands along the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula.
"The results of our study indicate that not only do the Danger Islands hold the largest population of Adelie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula,they also appear to have not suffered the population declines found along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula that are associated with recent climate change," said Michael Polito, an assistant professor at the U.S. Louisiana State University, who co-authored the paper.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, in areas where climate change has taken effect, Adelie populations have fallen by more than 65 percent in the past 25 years.
The first ever count of the population of penguins on the Danger Islands offered a valuable benchmark for future change, said Stephanie Jenouvrier, a seabird ecologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and also a co-author of the study.
"The population of Adelie penguins on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula is different from what we see on the west side," said Jenouvrier. "Is it linked to the extended sea ice condition over there? Food availability? That's something we don't know."