Author Topic: The Complicated Calculus of Counting Emperor Penguins  (Read 334 times)

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The Complicated Calculus of Counting Emperor Penguins
« on: January 29, 2019, 11:40:39 AM »
The Complicated Calculus of Counting Emperor Penguins

Scientists journey to the icy bottom of the Earth to see if satellite imagery can determine how many Emperor penguins are left in the world


By Joan Meiners
smithsonian.com
January 23, 2019


From above they resemble tiny black and white figurines, frozen in place and belonging to some past world. Emperor penguins are, in many ways, other-worldly, having evolved to survive the harshest winters on Earth. Through a 400-millimeter zoom lens positioned out a helicopter window, the mated pairs appear as antique porcelain salt shakers peppered with snow on a dusty shelf of ice.

Antarctica is not for the faint of heart. For a hundred years, explorers and biologists have been mesmerized by its brutality. It makes sense, then, that we would be captivated by the only species that attempts to breed through the continent’s unforgiving winters. We've followed the marches, triumphs and egg breakthroughs of the Cape Crozier Emperor penguin colony on the silver screen. For ten years our satellites have snapped photos of the 53 other known colonies, when cloudless days and orbits align. Now, an international effort is bundling up to see whether these images from space can tell us, for the first time, how many Emperor penguins are left in the world.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/antarctic-expedition-returns-mission-fix-population-emperor-penguins-180971324/#VIdVh30TmDoH6jCg.99
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