Did You Know? - Penguinscience

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How do Scientists Know
What They Know?
Jean Pennycook
www.penguinscience.com
How do Scientists Know What They Know?
Our society relies on Scientists to unlock the mysteries of the world.
From plate tectonics, to cells, to how the Universe works,
generations of men and women have spent their lives searching for
the patterns of life and the rhythm of the Earth’s systems.
Animal Biologists work to understand how other species live. Since
we can not talk to the other animals, to learn about their lives
requires carefully planned experiments. This program will explore
how penguin scientists have learned how Adélie Penguins survive
in the harsh environment of Antarctica.
Ross Island, Antarctica.
The location of three breeding colonies of Adélie Penguins currently being
monitored by our research team, Penguin Science.
Cape Bird
Cape Crozier
Cape Royds
Here are some of the questions penguin biologists have
wondered about.
Do penguins always return to their natal (birth) colony?
Do penguins mate for life?
How long do penguins live in the wild?
What do penguins feed their chicks?
How much food does it take to raise a chick?
Where do penguins go to feed?
How deep can they dive?
Where do Adélie Penguins go in the winter?
How do we know?
Do penguins always return to their natal (birth) colony?
Do penguins mate for life?
How long do penguins live in the wild?
This is a penguin
flipper band. The
number tells us what
year and which
colony the bird was
born in.
When the chicks are big
enough and ready to be
banded we catch them in a
corral.
Then we climb in the
corral, catch them one by
one and place the small
metal band around their
left flipper.
Banding does not interfere with
the bird’s ability to swim or find
food.
It may take 2-4 years before we
see the bird after banding it, as
Adélie Penguins do not reach
breeding maturity until then.
Putting the band on a chick
A banded adult bird
Searching for banded birds in a colony. The red arrow points to the scientist. It
takes a long time to find all the bands and read the numbers. Would you like
this job?
That’s how we know
Do penguins always return to their natal (birth) nesting
colony?
Most of the time they do, but sometimes we find them at
different colonies. What causes them to move is not clearly
understood.
This graph shows the number of
Adélie Penguins born at Cape Royds
that have been seen over the years at
three other colonies in the area.
That’s how we know?
Do penguins mate for life?
Frequently they do stay with the same mate, but as they arrive at
the breeding colony independently of each other, sometimes they
will find a new mate. If the old mate shows up after this, sometimes
there is a fight.
How long do penguins live in the wild?
We have seen them as old as 20 years, but that is rare.
How do we know?
What do the penguins feed their chicks?
Orange means krill
Silver means fish
We sit and wait for a returning parent to feed their chicks and then
record the color of the food. This is called data by direct
observation. We record our observations in a field journal every day.
That’s how we know.
What do the penguins feed the chicks?
Sometimes krill and sometimes fish,
But what kind of fish?
How do the Scientist know what kind of fish the penguins are
eating?
Otoliths are fish ear bones.
They are not digested and
pass through the penguins
into the guano (poop). We
gather the guano and
examine it under the
stereoscope.
Otolith tray set out at the
beginning of the season.
Otolith tray during
the season with
penguins nesting
and pooping in it.
After the guano has been
washed from the tray, we sort
through it under the scope
looking for the ear bones
(otoliths).
Otolith
This bone will tell the
scientist what kind of
fish the penguins are
eating and how big
the fish is.
1 mm
How do we know?
How much food does it take to raise a chick?
Penguins are tagged that
belong to the breeding
colony inside the fence. Only
way to go in or out is over the
“weighbridge” (the arrow
points to the weighbridge).
The computer inside the tent
records the information.
The small electronic ID tag is inserted into the penguin
using the needle. It does not hurt the penguin to do this,
and the tag does not interfere with the penguin’s life.
Weighbridge
Solar panels keep the
weighbridge computer running.
The hoop records the tag number of the penguin as it comes and goes
from the colony. The platform measures the penguin’s weight as it
passes through. The computer records the date, time and weight of
each penguin.
That’s how we know.
How much food does it take to raise a chick?
Subtracting the incoming weight from the outgoing weight of a
feeding parent over the course of the chick rearing season gives
us the amount they are feeding the chicks. It takes about 60
pounds of food to raise an Adélie Penguin chick.
How do we know?
Where do penguins go to feed?
How deep do penguins dive?
These (splash) tags are attached to the
feathers of the bird and are only on for
about 2 days. They record the diving
depth and location of the bird as it feeds.
We need to retrieve the tag to get all the
information.
Here is the data from the splash tags, showing where the birds are
searching for food to feed their chicks.
That’s how we know.
Where do Adélie Penguins go to feed?
See the map showing where penguins from two
different colonies were tracked.
How deep do penguins dive?
Adélie Penguins have been recorded diving as deep as
170 m and staying submerged for just over 5 min.
How do we know?
Where do Adélie Penguins go in the winter?
This GLS (Geolocation sensor) tag attached to the bird’s leg stays on all
year and records where the bird goes.
70oS
A map produced from the data of one GLS tag showing the location
of the penguin all winter. Each color represents a different month.
That’s how we know.
Where do Adélie Penguins go in the winter?
The Adélie Penguins at Cape Royds and Cape Crozier
migrate over 12 000 km from their breeding colony out to
the wintering grounds near the pack ice edge and back.
There are still many unanswered questions about
Adélie Penguins, as well as all the other plants and
animals of the world. If being a Biologist sounds like
fun, you are right, it is. Biologists work in every habitat
of the world and there is much work to be done.
Other PowerPoint presentations for you classroom:
Introduction to the Polar regions, Why is Antarctica so cold?
Introduction to Adélie Penguins, Adélie Penguins march into the classroom
Penguin Adaptations, This is a harsh continent
Adélie Penguin Behavior, Good manners are always in style
Penguin Predation and Competition, Life is tough for an Adélie Penguin
Adélie Penguins Cope with Global Climate Change
Did You Know, How researchers know what they know
Penguin Quandaries, Can you answer these mysteries
Fun pictures about Adélie Penguin
Go to www.penguinscience.com The education page.
To learn more about
Adélie Penguins go to
www.penguinscience.com
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