Location, environment influence when gentoo penguin chicks huddle
Date: February 3, 2016
Location and environmental conditions may influence when gentoo chicks huddle in cold, wet Antarctic conditions, according to a study published February 3, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Caitlin Black from the
and colleagues. University of Oxford
Many penguin species form aggregations for conserving heat, providing protection, and other purposes. Scientists have observed gentoo penguins aggregating during the post-guard period, a period when the parents leave the chicks without waterproof feathers daily to go find fish, but these aggregations have never been studied over a large spatial range in the Antarctic. The authors of this study observed the gentoo penguin aggregation behavior across four study sites along a latitudinal gradient. To examine the adaptive benefit of aggregations, they observed each colony during the post-guarding period of the 2012-2013 breeding season using time-lapse cameras.