Biologists Count Penguins By Satellite

Emperor Penguins in Ross Sea, Antarctica

Emperor Penguins in Ross Sea, Antarctica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I like penguins 🙂  Glad there is good news to report!

Using space technology to sniff out a telltale trail of penguin poop strewn about the edges of Antarctica, scientists have completed the first-ever census of an animal population taken with satellite imagery.

The collaboration of British and American researchers was able to identify 44 emperor penguin colonies, including seven that were previously unknown. They counted 595,000 birds — twice as many as they expected to see.

“Now that we have this baseline information, we can start asking new questions” about the Antarctic ecosystem, said Michelle LaRue, a doctoral student in conservation biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and coauthor of a paper about the discovery, published Friday in the journal PLoS One.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-penguins-20120414,0,6965187.story

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