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Tuesday
Dec142010

Climate Change Wreaks Havoc on Penguins and Other Charismatics

Our two Zodiacs glided up to tiny Shortcut Island.  Disembarking, we walked up the island's craggy mixture of snow cover, exposed patches of ground moss, and rocks dusted with neon-orange lichen.  I imagined I was in Ireland...an Ireland just under half a mile long, featuring towering glaciers and floating sea ice, 0.7 miles along the southwest coast of Anvers Island from Palmer Station, in Antarctica.

Today I was joining Palmer's resident seabird researcher, Jennifer Blum, and her research assistants Marc Travers and Kelsey Ducklow, to measure skua and southern giant petrel eggs, as well as count and census penguin colonies. It was just one of many data-gathering treks the team will make in the coming months, to assess how the warming climate is affecting seabirds in this part of Antarctica.

(For the complete story go to my OnEarth magazine blog. And follow several science-filled series of blog posts on OnEarth's website. Also, click on my website's "radio" tab for interviews I've conducted while at Palmer with several scientists.)

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