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Dynamic fine-scale sea icescape shapes adult emperor penguin foraging habitat in East Antarctica

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Labrousse, S, Fraser, AD ORCID: 0000-0003-1924-0015, Sumner, M, Tamura, T, Pinaud, D, Wienecke, B, Kirkwood, R, Ropert-Coudert, Y, Reisinger, R, Jonsen, I, Porter-Smith, R, Barbraud, C, Bost, C-A, Ji, R and Jenouvrier, S 2019 , 'Dynamic fine-scale sea icescape shapes adult emperor penguin foraging habitat in East Antarctica' , Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 46, no. 20 , pp. 11206-11218 , doi: 10.1029/2019GL084347.

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Abstract

The emperor penguin, an iconic species threatened by projected sea ice loss in Antarctica, has long been considered to forage at the fast ice edge, presumably relying on large/yearly persistent polynyas as their main foraging habitat during the breeding season. Using newly developed fine-scale sea icescape data and historical penguin tracking data, this study for the first time suggests the importance of less recognized small openings, including cracks, flaw leads and ephemeral short-term polynyas, as foraging habitats for emperor penguins. The tracking data retrieved from 47 emperor penguins in two different colonies in East Antarctica suggest that those penguins spent 23% of their time in ephemeral polynyas and did not use the large/yearly persistent, well-studied polynyas, even if they occur much more regularly with predictable locations. These findings challenge our previous understanding of emperor penguin breeding habitats, highlighting the need for incorporating fine-scale seascape features when assessing the population persistence in a rapidly changing polar environment.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Labrousse, S and Fraser, AD and Sumner, M and Tamura, T and Pinaud, D and Wienecke, B and Kirkwood, R and Ropert-Coudert, Y and Reisinger, R and Jonsen, I and Porter-Smith, R and Barbraud, C and Bost, C-A and Ji, R and Jenouvrier, S
Keywords: emperor penguin, sea ice, iceberg, fast ice, polynya, foraging ecology
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher: Amer Geophysical Union
ISSN: 0094-8276
DOI / ID Number: 10.1029/2019GL084347
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 American Geophysical Union

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