Mike is studying the diets and migration of penguins in the Southern Ocean using stable isotopes

From top: Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins

(Photo: www.expeditioncruising.com)

    This season I will be collecting feather samples from penguin all around the Antarctic Peninsula. Back at WHOI I will use stable isotope analysis (SIA), which is based on the principle that animals “are what and where they eat” to estimate the winter diets and migration of penguins by analyzing the isotopic composition of their feathers.

    This technique will provide us a first ever, regional scale analyses of the winter diets and distribution of Pygoscelis penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula. Understanding where penguin are during the winter and how much krill they consume during this time will allow international mangers to spatially and temporally allocate krill fishing to reduce competition between penguins and fisherman and help mitigate the impacts of recent climate change.

Antarctic Krill & “Krill Oil” Products

(Photo: www.ecoscope.com)