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    RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE AND LIFE HISTORY: HOW PLASTIC IS THE ADÉLIE PENGUIN?

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    Document Number:
    WG-EMM-09/34
    Author(s):
    J. Hinke, S. Trivelpiece and W. Trivelpiece (USA)
    Abstract

    Climate change in the Antarctic is having major impacts on physical and biological systems. For the Adélie penguin, which breeds around Antarctica, different populations have been subject to different environmental conditions over space and time. To assess the ability of the Adélie penguin to cope with recent rapid climate change, survivorship, fecundity, age at first breeding, and breeding success from long-term monitoring sites across the latitudinal range of Adélie habitats were compared. Inflexible life history traits associated with fecundity, but spatial variability in survival rates and the age of first breeding show that Adélie populations do respond, in situ, to local climate change. However, the responses have been insufficient to maintain positive population growth rates in the Antarctic Peninsula region. Here, the rapid rate of climate change appears to have exhausted the ability of Adélie penguins to persist in natal habitats.

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