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Sea Birds


A seabird symposium: emperor penguins

WHOI seabird biologist Stephanie Jenouvrier gives a virtual symposium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography about her work to model and predict the fate of emperor penguins in Antarctica during a time of rapid change

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Oases in Sea Ice Are Essential to Life in Antarctica

This video explains the key physical, biological and ecological processes in oases on the Antarctic icy coast — polynyas. Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Delaware are trying to unveil crucial connections among the physical and biological components in the polynyas and to understand how the Antarctic ecosystem responds to changes in the large-scale environment.

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March of the Penguins

Emperor penguins are some of the most striking and charismatic animals on Earth, but a new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has found that a warming climate may render them extinct by the end of this century. The study, which was part of an international collaboration between scientists, published Nov. 7, 2019, in the journal Global Change Biology.

The fate of the penguins is largely tied to the fate of sea ice, which the animals use as a home base for breeding, feeding and molting, she notes. Emperor penguins tend to build their colonies on ice with extremely specific conditions—it must be locked into the shoreline of the Antarctic continent, but close enough to open seawater to give the birds access to food for themselves and their young. As climate warms, however, that sea ice will gradually disappear, robbing the birds of their habitat, food sources, and ability to raise their chicks.

Jenouvrier and her team conducted the study by combining two existing computer models. The first, a global climate model created by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), offered projections of where and when sea ice would form under different climate scenarios. The second, a model of the penguin population itself, calculated how colonies might react to changes in that ice habitat.

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Unless warming is slowed, emperor penguins will be marching towards extinction

penguins

Emperor penguins are some of the most striking and charismatic animals on Earth, but a new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has found that a warming climate may render them extinct by the end of this century. The study, which was part of an international collaboration between scientists, published Nov. 7, 2019, in the journal Global Change Biology.

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Emperor Penguins’ First Journey to Sea

Emperor Penguins' First Journey to Sea

The paper, published Jan. 17, 2019, in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, also highlights the unique connection between juvenile diving behaviors and a layer of the ocean, known as the thermocline, where warmer surface waters meet cooler deep waters below and where their prey likely gather in groups.

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Penguins Go Through the Flow

Penguins Go Through the Flow

Colonies of breeding king penguins behave much like particles in liquids do, according to new study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and international colleagues. This “liquid ” organization and structure enables breeding colonies to protect themselves against predators while also keeping members together.

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Finding New Homes Won’t Help Emperor Penguins Cope with Climate Change

Finding New Homes Won't Help Emperor Penguins Cope with Climate Change

Unlike other species that migrate successfully to escape the wrath of climate change, a new study shows that dispersal may help sustain global Emperor penguin populations for a limited time, but, as sea ice conditions continue to deteriorate, the 54 colonies that exist today will face devastating declines by the end of this century.

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More Frequent Extreme Ocean Warming Could Further Endanger Albatross

More Frequent Extreme Ocean Warming Could Further Endanger Albatross

As scientists grapple with the behavioral, ecological and evolutionary impacts of extreme climatic events, the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B created a special June issue to explore what is known on the topic and pioneer new approaches to this challenging and rapidly expanding field of study. The issue, which was published online May 8, 2017, was co-edited by Wood Hole Oceanographic institution (WHOI) biologist Stephanie Jenouvrier.

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Shifting Winds, Ocean Currents Doubled Endangered Galapagos Penguin Population

New research suggests shifts in wind currents over the past three decades, possibly due to climate change and natural variability, have nudged the Equatorial Undercurrent north. The changing current expanded the nutrient-rich, cold water farther north along the coasts of the two islands, likely bolstering algae and fish numbers in the cold pool. This allowed the penguin population to double over the past 30 years, swelling to more than 1,000 birds by 2014, according to the new study.

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From Penguins to Polar Bears

From Penguins to Polar Bears

Polar ecosystems are especially vulnerable to climate change. They are also notably hard to study and to manage. Scientists came to WHOI recently for a Morss Colloquium to address the issues.

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