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Earth Science

Climate Change Prompts Emperor Penguins To Find New Breeding Grounds 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the moving-to-better-quarters-on-campus dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers have discovered that emperor penguins may not be faithful to their previous nesting locations, as previously thought. Scientists have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, returning to the same location to nest each year. However, a new research study showed that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment. Lead author Michelle LaRue said,"Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins. If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn't make any sense. These birds didn't just appear out of thin air—they had to have come from somewhere else. This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes."
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Climate Change Prompts Emperor Penguins To Find New Breeding Grounds

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  • HUH? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NetNed (955141) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @05:20PM (#47294631)
    OK, and this is part of climate change how? They have done it for years, but now it's part of "climate change"?
  • No Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @05:26PM (#47294645)
    Any connection to "climate change" was purely speculative on the part of the article writer.

    The research actually suggested that Emperor Penguins always had changed locations periodically. There is no evidence that modern times are in any way different.

    The only thing this is "evidence" of is that lots of people today will try to blame anything and everything on "climate change".
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @05:59PM (#47294751)

    Without a doubt. The question is: is the environment changing faster than the species can adapt to it? We, the most adaptable species the earth has ever produced (if measured by how fast we can move into previously inhospitable environments) are still feeling significant effects from global climate change. The pine borer beetle, with its expanded range of warmer temperatures, is impacting whole chunks of communities that will have to adapt to brand new realities. What do you think is going to happen to species without opposable thumbs, a huge brain, and the ability to modify the environment on massive scales?

  • Re:No Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:01PM (#47294759) Homepage Journal

    If anything, this research actually weakens any argument that recent relocations are due to climate change, because it suggests that that they always have done it, long into the past.

    It does no such thing. It neither strengthens or weakens that argument. The climate has changed before. This particular change is projected to be more severe than prior changes which these penguins have been through, which is why it's interesting.

  • Re:No Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:03PM (#47294771)

    Actually, it used to be speculated that changes in nesting populations of Emperor Penguins might have been due to Climate Change. Instead, this particular research indicates that those changes might be fairly normal migrations between nesting sites.

    What we have here is science using new data to falsify an old assumption. Science to the rescue! As is article-reading.

  • by Wycliffe (116160) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:03PM (#47294773) Homepage

    *ALL* Species, without exception, adapt to their environment or go extinct. That is how they survive.

    FTFY

  • Re:HUH? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:11PM (#47294805)

    Haven't you heard, everything is the result of climate change and anything that contradicts this is a lie cooked up by deniers.

  • Re:No Evidence (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:18PM (#47294831)

    It does no such thing.

    Yes, it does. The argument was thus: the Emporer Penguins are changing locations, and they were not known to do that before. Therefore a possible cause is "climate change".

    However, this research says that they did, in fact, do it before. Therefore the explanation of man-driven climate change as a probable cause IS weakened, because it has occurred in the past due to other causes. Q.E.D.

    This particular change is projected to be more severe than prior changes which these penguins have been through, which is why it's interesting.

    Projected by whom? Please be specific. History says otherwise. It has been both warmer and colder before, in the Antarctic. In recorded history, even. In fact, even in just the last century. Look up 1937.

  • They thought decreasing numbers were due to birds dying, but they were actually due to birds changing breeding locations (for unknown reasons).

    Basically, and contrary to the headline, the article says they don't know enough about penguin breeding behavior to draw any conclusions.

    "Over five years in the late 1970s, the Southern Ocean warmed and at the same time the penguin colony at Pointe Géologie, declined by half (6,000 breeding pairs to 3,000 breeding pairs). The decline was thought to be due to decreased survival rates. In other words, researchers thought that the warming temperatures were negatively impacting the survival of the species...'It’s possible that birds have moved away from Pointe Géologie to these other spots and that means that maybe those banded birds didn’t die,' LaRue said. 'If we want to accurately conserve the species, we really need to know the basics. We’ve just learned something unexpected, and we should rethink how we interpret colony fluctuations.'”

    P.S. Want to know why people are skeptical about climate change "science" and advocacy? It's because of blurbs like this one that say one thing in the headline and something else in the linked-to article.
  • Re:No Evidence (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2014 @08:00PM (#47295175)

    The current climate change is man-driven.

    We don't know this. We can't conduct any experiment with any type of control. Given how badly recent climate projections have seriously overestimated temperature increases, how much do we really know?

    I've seen way too many warnings of a coming apocalypse because CO2 levels in the world's atmosphere are approaching 400 ppm, which is high, right? Well, it's high only by recent levels - CO2 levels in the Earth's atmosphere over the past few million years have been at all-time lows. CO2 levels on Earth have averaged probably about 2,000 ppm when measured over tens or hundreds of millions of years, and have probably peaked at over 6,000 ppm.

    If climate change caused them to change locations in the past, then the argument for the penguins relocating due to man-driven climate change is strengthened, not weakened.

    And how would we know why the penguins did anything as a group in the past? We don't have anywhere near enough data to even guess why.

    The real question you should be asking is why it's so important to YOU that penguins moving from one nesting area to another be blamed on human-caused climate change.

    Why is that so important to YOU?

  • Re:HUH? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @08:31PM (#47295301)

    If you apply for a grant to study penguin breeding grounds . . . you won't get it approved.

    If you apply for a grant to study penguin breeding grounds . . . affected by global climate change . . . you can have all the money you want.

  • Re:No Evidence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2014 @08:31PM (#47295303) Homepage Journal

    We don't know this.

    You don't know this. The rest of us are counting on physics to still work today like it did yesterday.

    I've seen way too many warnings of a coming apocalypse because CO2 levels in the world's atmosphere are approaching 400 ppm, which is high, right? Well, it's high only by recent levels - CO2 levels in the Earth's atmosphere over the past few million years

    We don't care what it was like outside the past few million years, the only time the planet has been hospitable for beings like us for any lengthy period of time.

    And how would we know why the penguins did anything as a group in the past? We don't have anywhere near enough data to even guess why.

    Yes, and that's why this finding doesn't actually tell us anything about that. But it doesn't condemn the idea, either.

    The real question you should be asking is why it's so important to YOU that penguins moving from one nesting area to another be blamed on human-caused climate change.

    Why is that so important to YOU?

    Because I live here, and if it's true, it's another interesting data point. If you don't live here, by all means, don't worry about it.

  • Re:No Evidence (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @08:55PM (#47295385)

    The rest of us are counting on physics to still work today like it did yesterday.

    And if you had a clue what the physics was, you'd have a point. Earth is not a toy one-dimensional model, the atmospheric radiative model of Arrhenius.

    Because I live here, and if it's true, it's another interesting data point.

    No, he asked why was it so important that this "data point" (and many other such things) be blamed on human-caused climate change? I think I'll answer that question.

    It's because it fits the myth that humans are bad. The mechanics of the rationalizations and what is actually considered good and evil change from generation to generation, but the myth never does. I think people have psychological needs for such myths, perhaps to cope with the unpleasant aspects of reality.

  • Re:HUH? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sg_oneill (159032) on Monday June 23, 2014 @04:48AM (#47296591)

    Are you asserting that natural climate variation caused by factors other than human CO2 emissions never had an effect on animals or plants?

    No. I said we haven't observed those effects on Emporer penguins before.

    Natural climate variations other than human CO2 are a pretty small signal in the scheme of things. The cause of Climate change is overwhelmingly human caused. Why is this still a debate amongst the non scientitific community?

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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