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penguins in Antarctica

By Their Chinstraps

Penguins are like the proverbial canaries in coal mines for the Antarctic region—they are highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change on their food and habitat. Over the past half-century, climate change has caused a dramatic increase in air and sea temperatures in the region, significant decreases in winter sea ice on which penguins breed, and reductions in krill, penguins' main food source. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed 60 percent of the 18 penguin species as vulnerable or endangered. WHOI scientists have conducted studies on chinstrap penguins (above), Adélie penguins, and Emperor penguins, as well as seabirds such as albatrosses. (Photo by Michael Polito, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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