Volcanic Eruptions Repeatedly Decimate Antarctic Penguin Colony

One of the largest colonies of gentoo penguins in Antarctica was decimated by volcanic eruptions several times during the last 7,000 years according to a new study.

One of the largest colonies of gentoo penguins in Antarctica was decimated by volcanic eruptions several times during the last 7,000 years according to a new study. An international team of researchers, led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), studied ancient penguin guano and found the colony came close to extinction several times due to ash fall from the nearby Deception Island volcano. Their results are published this week in Nature Communications.

Ardley Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula, is currently home to a population of around 5,000 pairs of gentoo penguins. Using new chemical analyses of penguin guano extracted in sediment cores from a lake on the island, the researchers unraveled the history of the penguin colony. Climate conditions around Ardley Island have been generally favourable for penguins over the last 7,000 years and the team had expected the local population to show minor fluctuations in response to changes in climate or sea ice. The surprising result was that the nearby Deception Island volcano had a far greater impact than originally anticipated.

Originally posted to The Daily Catch : www.theterramarproject.org/thedailycatch

Photo: Liam Quinn/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Comments
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Jordan
Jordan

Thank you for sharing this. I never would have been aware of such issues.

GuestUser3
GuestUser3

This makes me sad!

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