Scientists gauge foraging success by spying with time-lapse video
Date: May 2, 2018
Source: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
For Emperor penguins waddling around a warming Antarctic, diminishing sea ice means less fish to eat. How the diets of these tuxedoed birds will hold up in the face of climate change is a big question scientists are grappling with.
Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have developed a way to help determine the foraging success of Emperor penguins by using time-lapse video observations relayed to scientists thousands of miles away. The new remote sensing method is described in the May 2, 2018, issue of the Journal of Applied Physics.
"Global warming may be cutting in on food availability for Emperor penguins," said Dan Zitterbart, a scientist at WHOI and co-author of the study. "And if their diets change significantly, it could have implications on the health and longevity of these animals -- which are already expected to be highly threatened or close to extinct by the end of this century. With this new approach, we now have a logistically viable way to determine the foraging success of these animals by taking images of their behavior once they return back to the colony from their foraging trips."