Long-term breeding phenology shift in royal penguins
To resolve this problem, we sequenced five introns from 11 species relationship between climate change and penguin evolution. . Beyond phylogeny: pelecaniform and ciconiiform birds, and long-term niche stability. Mol. There are 16 to 19 species of penguins, depending on the tools used in classification. time among species, the evolutionary relationship can be shown as Like many other seabirds, penguins are long-lived, lay one or two. The Fiordland penguin, or Tawaki, the only crested penguin species breeding on the In , a long-term study was launched to investigate the species' marine To account for incomplete data sets, two different density.
They are roughly Royal Eudyptes schlegeli - The royal penguin differs from other crested penguins in its orange plumage instead of yellow and white face. Some still argue that it is a white-faced variant of the Macaroni penguin due to genetic similarities but others point to distinct ecological differences and breeding isolation.
Chicks take 35 days to hatch and become reproductively mature themselves after 5 to 6 years. Individuals can live between 15 and 20 years. They mostly eat krill but supplement their diet with small fish.
Royal penguins stand at 28 inches 70 cm and 8. Fiordland Eudyptes pachyrhynchus — Fiordland penguins have the characteristic yellow tufts of feathers like other crested penguins and live along the temperate rainforests of South Island and Stewart Island of New Zealand. Unlike many penguin species, they prefer to nest isolated from other mating couples.
The birds nest under forest canopy, in caves, under boulders and shrubbery, and in nests made of brush and grass. They eat fish larvae, crustaceans and squid. Breeding season begins mid-winter in July and egg incubation ranges between 4 and 6 weeks. Adults stand 22 inches 55 cm at between 5. Flickr User Liam Quinn Rockhopper Eudyptes chrysocome - The rockhopper penguin is further divided into three subspecies, the Northern, Southern and Eastern rockhoppers, and is the source for much of the debate surrounding the total number of penguin species.
- Smithsonian Ocean
They live on small, isolated islands in the sub-Antarctic regions of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Rockhopper nesting grounds are on rugged terrain requiring the penguins to hop from rock to rock, the inspiration for their name. The birds can congregate in colonies containing up toindividuals. Breeding season begins in October, eggs are laid by November and chicks hatch 33 days later.
The average rockhopper lives 10 years, but they may live as long as 30 years. They feed on krill, small fish and squid. Rockhopper penguins are the only species to jump feet first into the water when they dive. They stand at 18 inches 46 cm and weigh 5 to 10 pounds 2. Snares Crested Eudyptes robustus -Snares crested penguins live on the isolated and densely forested Snares Islands, a group of small islands roughly 60 miles km south of New Zealand. They inhabit the most restricted area out of all the penguins and eat squid and small fish.
The birds breed under the protection of the Olearia forests in nests of peat, pebbles, and brush beginning in September. Two eggs are laid a few days apart and hatch between 31 and 37 days later.
Snares crested penguins reach sexual maturity at age 6 and may live up to their early 20s. They stand at 22 inches 56 cm and weigh between 6 and 10 pounds 2. Male competition for breeding sites in September is fierce and penguins commonly resort to biting and beating each other with flippers. The diet of erect-crested penguins is not well known, though it is suspected they eat krill, small fish, and squid like other crested penguins.
They stand at 26 inches 67 cmweigh up to 14 pounds 6. Banded Group Spheniscus Humboldt Spheniscus humboldti - Native to the hot climate of the Atacama Desert on the coast of South America, Humboldt penguins have large, bare skin patches around their eyes, an adaptation to help keep them cool.
Humboldt penguins dig nests in sand or penguin poop guano where they incubate the eggs for 40 to 42 days. Breeding season is either March to April or September to October depending on the location of the colony. Humboldt penguins rely on the nutrient rich Humboldt Current to support the anchovy and sardine populations they prey upon.
The Humboldt is one of the most popular zoo penguins due to its ability to withstand warmer climates. They stand at an average height of Every breeding season, someMagellanic penguins come to Punta Tombo, Argentina to nest on the shore. Their breast plumage consists of two black stripes that differentiate them from the geographically nearby Humboldt penguin.
Magellanic penguins nest in ground dugouts, when possible, or under brush. Both parents share sitting on the egg for the 39 to 42 day incubation period. During the winter months, between May and August, Magellanic penguins migrate along the coast of Chile, and as far north as Brazil on the East Coast, chasing anchovies. Adults stand at 28 inches 70 cm and weigh up to roughly 15 pounds 6. African Spheniscus demersus - The African penguin is sometimes referred to as the jackass penguin for its shrill braying that sounds like a donkey.
They inhabit the southern shores of Africa from Namibia to South Africa and feed on pilchard, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel. Their nesting colonies are large and noisy. Each breeding couple lays two eggs in a shallow dugout in the ground. Eggs are incubated between 38 to 40 days by both parents.
Long-term breeding phenology shift in royal penguins
They have a lifespan between 10 and 15 years. At 23 to 25 inches tall Galapagos Spheniscus mendiculus - Galapagos penguins are the most northerly penguins, living along the Galapagos Islands on the equator. These penguins have special adaptations and behaviors that help them deal with the tropical heat.
Galapagos penguins actively seek out shade, pant, stand with wings spread, and hunch over on land to shade their feet, an area of heat loss. Galapagos penguin breeding is completely dependent upon the Cromwell Current and they may breed during any month of the year depending upon seasonal climate conditions. When the Cromwell Current fails to upwell and bring colder, nutrient rich water to the surface, penguins delay breeding presumably because of low food availability.
Once the penguins are able to breed, egg incubation is roughly 40 days. The Galapagos are the smallest of the banded penguins at 21 inches 53 cm and weigh up to 5. Brush-tailed Group Pygoscelis Chinstrap Pygoscelis antarcticus - Chinstrap penguins are distinguishable by their white face and a thin black band that runs across the chin. Unlike many other penguin species, the chinstrap usually rears both chicks to adulthood when environmental conditions are favorable.
Beginning in November, adults incubate the eggs in shallow pebble nests for up to five to six weeks. They prey upon Antarctic krill, Euphasia supurba, almost exclusively but will also eat small fish. At a maximum size of 30 inches 76 and weighing 10 pounds 4. Gentoo penguin mother with her chick in Antarctica. Brian Skerry, National Geographic Gentoo Pygoscelis papua - The largest of the brush-tailed penguins, this bird is further distinguished by its red beak.Penguins: Their Personalities and Problems
The gentoo nests on both the Antarctic Peninsula and on sub-Antarctic islands. They construct nests with tussock grass and moss when available but will also use pebbles in rockier environments. Both eggs are incubated for 31 to 39 days. Loyal birds, they not only return to the same nesting site every year but will also form lasting bonds with breeding partners.
Adults subsist on mostly Antarctic krill but will also eat other crustaceans, squid, and fish. Gentoo penguins reach sizes up to 32 inches 81 cm and 15 pounds 6. An ice-dependent species, they rely on the ice for foraging, often trapping prey under ice floes sheets of ice that jigsaw the ocean surface and resting on top of them to avoid predators. Populations are on the decline on the northern Antarctic Peninsula, where air temperatures significantly increased in the latter half of the 20th century due to climate change.
Breeding season begins in October, with eggs hatching after 35 days of incubation. They rely heavily on Antarctic krill but also eat fish, crustaceans, and other krill species.
The birds stand at 27 inches 70 cm and weigh up to 12 pounds 6. Breeding season begins at the end of March with couples congregating in one of 45 different colonies along the Antarctic sheet ice.
After a quick courtship, females lay a single egg and transfer it to a nest between the feet of the father. Father emperors battle harsh temperature and wind conditions while incubating the egg. They often lose as much as half their body weight during the process. At a maximum size of 51 inches cm and 88 pounds 40 kg they are the largest penguin species.
The penguins capture their prey, typically lanternfish, by diving at speeds of 12 miles per hour. Adult couples can only afford to raise two chicks every three years because of the extensive time needed to rear one chick. Breeding may begin anywhere from November to April so colonies have a mix of chicks of various ages. King penguins breed on sub-Antarctic islands within the Southern Atlantic. Standing they can reach heights up to 38 inches 95 cm with weights as high as 35 pounds 16 kg.
Yellow-Eyed Megadyptes antipodes - Yellow-eyed penguins are the most private of all penguins, preferring to nest out of sight from other penguins. They often forgo parental duties if they are within eyesight of other nesting couples. For this reason they often nest among the tree trunks of the dwarf rata forests on the islands off of New Zealand where they are native. The breeding season is particularly long, lasting from August to February.
Egg incubation alone can take up to two months. They weigh between 5 and 5. Little Penguins Eudyptula Little or Fairy Eudyptula minor — The smallest of the penguins, the little penguin claims the rocky island coasts around New Zealand and Australia as home. Colonies are usually at the base of sandy dunes or cliffs.
The penguins that have stayed faithful for 16 years
They eat mostly small fish, but occasionally will consume krill and small squid. Little penguins live an average of 6. Breeding season begins in August and lasts until December. Chicks take roughly 36 days to hatch and then another 3 to 4 weeks where they depend on their parents for food. Juveniles reach sexual maturity at age three.
Penguin - Wikipedia
They weigh in at a mere 2 to 3 pounds. Evolution The first penguins evolved roughly 60 million years ago in temperate latitudes around 50 degrees South, close to where New Zealand is now.
An area devoid of land predators, the location lent itself to the survival of flightless birds. While many birds nest in trees or cliffs to protect their chicks from wild mammals, penguins historically have been able to nest on the ground without the threat of large predators.
Without the constraints of flight, namely the weight and wing surface area necessary for lift-off, penguins could claim a new domain—the ocean. An illustration of two extinct great auks.
The great auk was the first bird to be called a penguin, but the bird is in no way related to modern penguins, instead claiming membership in the Alcidae family, same as puffins, other auks, and murres. John Gerrard Keulemans Penguins are Southern Hemisphere birds, though many people confuse them with the black and white birds of the north, the puffins. The first bird to go by the name was actually the now extinct great auk which was a black and white flightless bird in the northern Atlantic.
The great auk is in no way related to modern penguins, instead claiming membership in the Alcidae family, same as puffins, other auks, and murres. In the s, fishers and whalers slaughtered the flightless great auks by the thousands to supply food aboard ships, and by the species was extinct.
Their memory seemed to stick with seamen, for when explorers traveled to the southern seas and encountered new tuxedoed birds they repurposed the name. Scientists of the early twentieth century believed penguins were a living link between birds and dinosaurs. This belief spurred the famous Worst Journey in the World, a scientific expedition led by Dr. Edward Wilson in that aimed to retrieve emperor penguin eggs for the purpose of studying the embryos.
At the time it was still believed that early developmental stages directly reflected attributes of previous ancestral stages; in the case of penguins, reptilian scales in the embryo could be evidence of dinosaur lineages. This connection has since been disproven, although all birds are indeed now recognized as having evolved from dinosaurs. The earliest known penguins evolved shortly after the demise of the dinosaurs in the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction.
Roughly 66 million years ago species from the genus Waimanu lived in the waters off of New Zealand. The two species of Waimanu penguins are currently considered the basal ancestors, meaning they are considered the earliest common ancestor of all penguins. Flightless like modern penguins, Waimanu penguins still maintained anatomical similarities to flying birds and may have had swimming capabilities similar to a loon or cormorant.
Their beaks were long and slender and their legs were slightly larger than the modern penguins. The discovery of these ancient penguins was based on an analysis of four separate specimens from North Canterbury, New Zealand that are some of the best-preserved avian fossils from that era. It was these specimens that supplied evidence for the theory that penguins split from other birds before the end of the Cretaceous epoch.
By 55 million years ago penguins were well adapted to life at sea, and from 40 to 25 million years ago they were the dominant predators of squid, fish, and krill. Not only were there roughly 40 species, more than twice the number today, but they also grew to much larger sizes.
Roughly 37 million years ago, the largest of these giant penguinsPalaeeudyptes klekowskii, measured 6 feet 6 inches 2 meters from beak tip to toe and would measure close to the average height of an adult woman at 5 foot 3 inches 1.
Described in by an Argentinian research team, P. This giant supported a unique 7-inch beak that is theorized to have been helpful in spearing fish. The slightly shorter extinct Perudyptes devriesi is on the left, and the living Humboldt penguin is in-between. Illustration by Kristin Lamm Around the same time period—but farther north—the Peruvian giant, Icadyptes salasistood at a slightly shorter 5 feet.
This giant supported a unique 7 inch beak that is theorized to have been helpful in spearing fish. The discovery of this fossil upended previous conceptions about the equatorial migration of penguins. It was thought that penguins migrated north towards the equator after periods of Earth cooling like that which occurred during the Eocene-Oligocene around 34 million years ago and a later cooling period 15 million years ago.
By 23 million years ago, during the early Miocene, most of the giant penguins had long died off, all except Anthropodyptes gilli.
This giant was still thriving in Australia until 18 million years ago. After the fall of the giant penguins, it is believed that the crested penguins, the ancestors of all modern day penguins, radiated from a common Antarctic ancestor.
Genetic analysis of four penguins and recent discovery of penguin fossils indicate a common ancestor as early as 20 million years ago with individual modern species diverging between 11 and 16 million years ago.
Scientists still debate the evolutionary origins of modern penguins and this is an ongoing area of research. Most penguins will stay within 36 miles 60 km of shore. After fasting for months while incubating the egg, a male emperor may need an entire month to regain its body fat, possibly traveling up to miles 1, km. Once penguins leave breeding colonies after the breeding season, our understanding of their behavior and ecology drops precipitously.
Tags often lose satellite connection mid-migration, possibly due to batteries losing power or tags falling off. But certain case studies reveal that penguins regularly make long migrations to feed in the winter and thus recondition their bodies post-breeding. Magellanic penguins, native to Argentina and Chile, have been spotted as far north as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. One study tracked ten Magellanic penguins as they swam up the Argentine coast and recorded traveling distances over 1, miles 1, km from the nest.
When total swimming distance was calculated the penguins swam more than 1, miles 2, km. In another study a chinstrap penguin was logged traveling 2, miles 3, km in three weeks in the Southern Atlantic from Bouvetoya to Montagu Island in the South Sandwich Islands, a cluster of islands between Antarctica and Argentina.
Macaroni penguins from the Kerguelen Islands in the Indian Ocean traveled an average of 1, miles 2, km to foraging grounds in the middle of the ocean. Beyond isolated studies of a few individuals it is still unclear what an average penguin migration distance or destination may be. Flickr User David Cook Every year penguins assemble in loud, crowded and smelly colonies for one reason—to mate. Most penguin species gather once a year, with the exception of the Galapagos and king penguins, in order to breed and raise chicks.
The male usually arrives first in order to reclaim prime nesting sites from years past or establish a new one. A shallow dugout in the ground or a pile of stones serves to protect eggs and chicks from the elements, whether that is the sun, wind, snow or rain. Dominant chinstrap penguins will often steal scarce pebbles from less experienced males to build up their nest, which is important considering one study found that 14 percent of chicks drowned in flooded nests after a storm, with the majority of the deaths occurring in smaller nests.
When a nest works, penguins remember and return to tested and proven nests in later years. Emperor penguins and king penguins are notably different than all other penguins; they forgo a nest altogether and instead carry a single egg on the tops of their feet.
A female arriving at the colony has a few decisions to make. She can either return to her mate from previous years or shop for a new one. Females want the most physically fit mate in order to give their offspring the best chance of survival.
Penguins as Marine Sentinels | BioScience | Oxford Academic
Most returning mates arrived only a few days after the other parent deserted the chicks and the loss could have been avoided if the parent could hold out for a little longer. Emperor penguins that breed on the Ross Ice Shelf have a bit of an advantage since they are within close distance to the ocean and males have been observed making ventures for a quick snack during the courting period.
Beyond obvious physical appearance, a female penguin will also look for low and deep vocal calls since a deep voice usually means the male is larger. Feather color is another indicator of male health. Birds in general display the health of their immune systems in what is called an honest signal. Color for feathers is costly since the yellow orange pigments, carotenoids, are also used within the immune system to fight infection.
Bright plumage means a healthy bird. However, historically this principle was found in sexually dimorphic birds, where males and females are physically different. Even so, experiments where king penguin plumage was altered showed that the altered feather colors significantly reduced the ability of males to pair with a mate but not females.
Once a pair decides to mate, a series of courting behaviors follow, cementing the bond that will carry them through the trying months of parenthood. Vocal duets of screeching calls create an ear-splitting chorus at colonies during this time. The Antarctic Treaty protects living resources in Antarctica; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora regulates trade in endangered species, including the Peruvian or Humboldt penguin Spheniscus humboldti and African or black-footed penguin Spheniscus demersus ; and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature www.
Legal protections have been insufficient to halt penguins' decline, however. Penguins face a gauntlet of environmental challenges, from climate change to human take. The erect-crested penguins Eudyptes sclateri that breed on the Antipodes Islands, located over kilometers km from the South Island of New Zealand, numbered 50, breeding pairs in —only half of what they were in Peat Temperate penguins and those that are inshore foragers, such as the yellow-eyed Megadyptes antipodes and African penguins, are in decline because they are the most likely to come into conflict with human activities such as commercial fishing, guano mining, and oil and gas development Boersma and StokesDavis and Renner Nonetheless, there are success stories.
In New Zealand, penguin populations are growing in some areas after the removal of introduced predators. For example, rats were removed from more than 11, hectares of Campbell Island, the largest island in the world to be successfully cleared of rats. The island, declared rat free inis an important breeding ground for the rare endemic yellow-eyed penguin Peat Erect-crested penguins, which used to breed on Campbell Island, may recolonize now that rats are gone. On New Zealand's South Island and in Australia, populations of the little blue penguin Eudyptula minor grew after nesting boxes were placed and predators trapped, resulting in new ecotourism businesses focused on penguins.
There are no safeguards to protect large breeding colonies of penguins, however, and it is these aggregations that people most wish to visit. Large colonies are important for the survival and health of each penguin species. Determining the status and trends of penguin populations at these 43 sites would provide insight into ocean ecosystem variability and viability, but these sites are rarely, and some almost never, counted.
Population surveys twice every decade when penguins have eggs could reliably convey the state of the Southern Ocean. Ideally, each colony should be visited annually to determine six sentinel parameters: Unfortunately, most of these colonies have not been counted even once a decade.
When colonies have been counted more than once, it has been at different times in the breeding cycle, so the population trends of most of the large colonies remain unknown. Indeed, most of the sentinel parameters remain unknown. These are the penguin hotspots of the world. Penguins of the world Many people think of penguins as existing only in icy parts of the Southern Hemisphere, but only two species of penguins are restricted to Antarctica: There are 16 to 19 species of penguins, depending on the tools used in classification.
The oldest penguin fossil dates to about 55 million years before the present Fordyce and Jones Population genetic tools can distinguish differences that are not easily visible, thereby increasing the number of species recognized Banks et al. Using both genetic and morphological tools, and estimating divergence time among species, the evolutionary relationship can be shown as a family tree with five distinct branches Davis and Renner One of these branches depicts the recent radiation of four species of penguins of the genus Spheniscus that occupy mid- to low-latitude temperate areas.
These species breed in coastal deserts on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans where they are relatively easily studied. People travel from all over the world to spend a few hours with penguins. Each year, aboutpeople visit Phillip Island, Australia, to see little blue penguins; overtourists visit Punta Tombo, Argentina, the world's largest colony of Patagonian or Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus ; and about 50 cruise boats ply the waters in Antarctica, bringing 35, people to penguin colonies.
I use the location name, rather than the more widely used common name, for penguin species [e. Immersion in a colony of hundreds of thousands of penguins is a profound experience. Emperor penguins on ice, or king penguins Aptenodytes patagonicus on bare ground, often stand nearly foot to foot among thousands of neighbors when incubating their one egg. To be surrounded by the expanse of their colony, the air filled with their strident calls and with the pungent odor of guano, leaves a lasting impression.
In contrast, some species, such as yellow-eyed penguins, breed in forests or among large flax plants and never form dense aggregations. Although they may not be able to see their neighbors because of the vegetation, these penguins are in vocal communication. Their raucous yells and squeaks in the evenings are haunting. Penguins are highly specialized for swimming and diving, and therefore reflect regional oceanic variation more completely than other seabirds Boersma et al.
They reflect changes in oceanographic productivity and human-induced changes in the environment, including fishing pressure, climate variation, and oil pollution. Like many other seabirds, penguins are long-lived, lay one or two eggs, and take months to rear their young. Penguins are central-place foragers. Some penguins, such as kings, take 14 to 16 months to successfully reproduce Williams King penguins require 10 months to rear one chick because they may leave their chick for more than five months in the winter to forage Davis and Renner The chicks overwinter on land, are fed frequently in the spring September and Octoberand then fledge when food is abundant.
In the Northern Hemisphere, some butterflies Parmesan and Yohe and intertidal invertebrates Barry et al. Plants bloom earlier as the climate warms Stenseth et al.