Combatting Climate Issues Facing the Macaroni Penguins

Author: Anjali Paye

Caption: The macaroni penguins are a species of penguin that reside in the sub-Antarctic waters near UK and French overseas territories. These penguins have been the focus of recent conservation efforts due to the threats that they are facing as a result of climate change. Along with challenges such as invasive species and industrial fishing, the macaroni penguins are facing a decreasing food supply due to climate change. The marine species that these avian consumers feed on are decreasing in abundance and are being driven away from coastal areas due to rising sea-surface temperatures. Because of this, scientists have begun GPS and satellite tracking the macaroni penguins in an attempt to identify the areas of high density for the species. Based on this information, researchers have created maps and organized workshops to present this data to key authorities in hopes that the ocean areas of high utility to these penguins will be designated as marine protected areas. In addition, the researchers are also looking at regional variations in sea-surface temperature to gather data on the impacts of climate change on the penguin population. The results have demonstrated that certain areas of the ocean surrounding South Georgia are particularly important in the incubation period of the species and must be protected by international law. This project will create policy changes that will help the currently vulnerable macaroni penguins to recover. While it does not directly attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change, it hopes to identify and reduce the other environmental stressors that the macaroni penguins are facing to give them a better chance of adapting as a species to a rapidly changing climate.

Tags: Climate Change and Oceans

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