March of the Penguins ppt

mr e
Discussion questions:
Groundbreaking in its popularity and
revolutionary in its documentation of
the harshest biome on earth, the film
offers many glimpses of the
biological and geological principles at
work to bring about life for the narrow
but enduring (& endearing) biotic
community at the bottom of the
world. Reflect and write complete
sentence answers to these questions
prior to our discussion…and add
what you can from our classroom
Text and pictures © 1993-2006 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2006/03/06
1. The “bottom of the world” is
home to the harshest biome on
earth. List at least five reasons
how Antarctica is severely
2. The March of the Penguins
as a title is actually only one
third of what the film
documents—all told, the males
and females will march
separately several times before
the year is over. Why do they
walk instead of run, fly, or
3. The trek of the Emperor Penguin to the breeding grounds could be
a long as 70 miles—which presents several questions:
Why so far away? (wouldn’t it be easier to breed here—near the water’s
Why are ”no two trails/routes the
same” from trek to trek?
The film proposed theories as to
how the penguins knew where to go
and how to get there. Propose your
own theory and support it as best
you can.
4. Much of the film can seem out
of kilter if one does not
understand the nature of the
Antarctic seasons. Let’s clarify:
Much of the film can seem out of kilter if one does
not understand the nature of the Antarctic seasons.
Let’s clarify:
a. Why does it get colder in March?
b. Did you catch the sun’s path from dawn until dusk? How would
you describe it?
5. What were the colors streaming across the polar
sky in midwinter? The Southern ____________ or
Aurora A____________.
Auroras are caused by high energy particles
from the solar wind that are trapped in the
Earth's magnetic field. As these particles spiral
back and forth along the magnetic field lines,
they come down into the atmosphere near the
north and south magnetic poles where the
magnetic field lines disappear into the body of
the Earth.
The delicate colors are caused by energetic
electrons colliding with oxygen and nitrogen
molecules in the atmosphere. This excites the
molecules, and when they decay from the
excited states they emit the light that we see in
the aurora.
Southern aurora from the Space Shuttle
6. In terms of breeding relationships, Emperor penguins
are typically :
a. monogamous
b. polygamous
c. annually monogamous
d. asexual
7. The answer to # 6 presents some harsh realities—
decisions and events which precipitate dire
consequences . Let’s explore:
There are more _____ than ____, therefore once
the males arrive at the breeding grounds, which
gender actually compete (in-fight) for a mate?
What characterizes this competition ?
Why would ‘neck stretching’ be a part of it?
At the start, the couple takes turns foraging for food for their chick but its
calorie needs become overwhelming , both parents must make the trek to the
water’s edge. Why don’t the chicks simply accompany the parents to the
feeding areas to make the whole process simpler?
Which parent incubates the egg?
Which parent never witnesses young hatching?
8. How do Emperor penguin chicks
learn to swim and hunt?
9. Once the egg is laid, the female
gives it over to the male—what if
they drop it and it rolls out of their
feet for even a few minutes?
How (and
what) do
the males
feed me,
a newborn
a. Did you see
all the fibrous
extensions in the
mouth of the
penguin (their
tongues and oral
lining seem
‘spiked and
might this be?
b. Why is the chick fluffy &
colored as it is?
Text and pictures © 1993-2006 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2006/03/06
How harsh is the Antarctic winter? here’s an
excerpt from…
Holding an unhappy penguin can drive even a careful person to take risks. In her first
field season in the Antarctic, Barbara Wienecke was struggling to fasten a small radio
transmitter to a penguin that was struggling to get away. To finish the job quickly,
Wienecke took off her gloves for a few minutes.
Note: Wind chill does
not affect objects and
As she worked frantically,
paled and the
then "went from something white
colored, which still looked a bit like skin, to something rather waxy that looked
It a sign that ice crystals
nothing like skin," she
says. Thetemperature.
fingers then started to swell,
were forming, and soon
numb. "Then, thank
God, the
bird was ready to go," she
says. She'd exposed her hands for only 7 minutes or so, but the temperature hung near
–25°C and the windmammal
was up.
(partic. a
human being) would
Although the technique is not ideal, Wienecke dipped her hands into a bucket of seawater scooped from a hole in the ice
and waited to see if her
the there was just nothing, and then suddenly—the only thing I
can think of that would give you an idea of the pain was if anybody were to pour boiling oil over your fingers," she says.
ambient temperature.
Wienecke, a biologist at the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston, Australia, still has all her fingers. She also has a
profound appreciation for the emperor penguin, the only vertebrate besides people to spend winters on the skirt of solid ice
around Antarctica.
Emperor Penguin breeding and life cycle – 1 year timeline:
January to March:
Emperors at sea foraging and feeding.
March – early April: Emperor adults return to the colonies.This coincides with formation of the winter sea-ice. Courtship begins.
Mating occurs.
May - early June:
Females lay a single egg.
May – early June:
Following the laying of the egg, females transfer eggs to males. Males incubate eggs, females
return to sea to feed.
Males form large groups called “huddles” for warmth
July-early August:
Chicks hatch – under males’ care.
Mid-July-early Aug:
Females return and take over the care of chicks – usually within 10
days of hatching. Males head to sea to feed – have fasted since arrival at colony. Chicks start to spend time outside
of parents’ incubation pouch.
August-November: Adults alternate trips to sea to hunt for the chicks. Chicks form “creches” for warmth, protection.
Adults now make simultaneous trips to hunt for the chick.
their own.
Chicks begin to molt. Adults leave colony and return to sea for the summer. The chicks are on
December-early Jan:
Chicks leave colony for the sea.
January-early Feb:
Adults molt.
11. Why is the female march in May
to early June much more difficult &
dangerous than their original march to
the breeding grounds in Jan-March?
12. If the female does not return in mid-July to early August
(say due falling to an ice crevasse, a fatal injury, inability to
cope with the elements, or predator), how many lives are
actually claimed?
13. While the males brave the winter (a deadly –80OC mind
you with 100mph winds.) how do they survive? What do they
do to ensure each other’s survival?
14. Many organisms can fast for lengthy periods,
however no organism can survive too long
without water. What do the male penguins drink?
15. When the males huddle for the
winter, where do they go to the
bathroom—particularly those near
the center?
16. Considering the extreme nature of the Antarctic
winter, why don’t Emperor penguins breed (mate/nest)
in the summer?
17. As the day approaches for the female return,
the males begin to exhibit increased movement—
18. As the females
return—how do the
couples find each other?
19. Once the females return and
each surviving couple has been
reunited, the male must make his
trek to the water;’s edge. (Why? to
________). The male pauses to
take something in before he goes—
what does he do and why?
20. After watching the young and old move
about in various environments, propose various
functions for their wings:
A. Propose a reason as to why
they are so small?
B. Propose a reason why
penguins ought not be designed to
Text and pictures © 1993-2006 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2006/03/06
Left: An incredible
picture of flying
penguins ! Well, they are
just emperor penguins
underwater. I took about
4 rolls of pictures in
order to have barely 2 or
3 decent pictures, and I
froze my hands big time.
I put my camera in a
homemade plastic bag
with a piece of glass up
front and held it
underwater while laying
on sea-ice. After this
experience I designed an
infrared trigger that'd
work underwater and
fixed the camera on a
Shade this one in…Why are adult
penguins colored so?
Describe anterior:
Describe posterior:
22. If a mother loses a chick, what might she do
to deal with the loss?
23. What happens when a mother attempts the extreme
action in #22? What benefits does this present?
24. Once the male
returns, how does
he find his chick?
Can you find me in
my rookery?
Here I am! If you were
my daddy you’d know
these things—he
listened to my cry before
he left to get some food
and, when he comes
back, mommy (behind
me) says he’ll know
where we are by my call
and find us again!!
Text and pictures © 1993-2006 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2006/03/06
My rookery…
25. In late Aug-Sept both parents return to the sea to hunt for
their chicks—why would both parents need to go?
26. How long does it take for the average juvenile (now
swimming at the water’s edge) to reach breeding age and
start the marching cycle all over again?
A leopard seal feeds on an unsuspecting penguin
A penguin’s knee; dissected
Q: notice
where the
survival rate
happens at
this time? Is
there a
Emperor Penguin longevity studies
the end
Text and pictures © 1993-2006 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2006/03/06
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