Seabird Ecologist — Dr Louise Emmerson
The purpose of this work was to bring together various elements of research to try and identify what pressures or threats there were on the Antarctic breeding seabirds. For this work, we were particularly focusing on the terrestrial environment where the birds were breeding, as well as the marine environment where the birds were foraging.
We used a long term 25-year mark re-sight program to try and estimate how many non-breeders there were in the population, and how this number related to the number of breeders.
So we estimate that the total population, which comprises of the breeders and the non-breeders, is around 5.9 million birds in East Antarctica. When we extrapolate that out to the entire continent, that’s between 14 to 16 million birds.
In East Antarctica, the Adélie penguins are primarily eating krill but they also eat some fish as well, and we're trying to understand exactly how much of that has any overlap with potential fishing industry.
There were a lot of breeding Adélie penguins within very close proximity to the Antarctic stations. The Adélie penguins are trying to find locations to breed, which are ice-free and they're very close to open water. Our results can be used to identify areas which may need enhanced protection in the future.