21/11/2014 Research and Science
Climate: a cuddly toy to monitor the state of health of penguins
The Southern Ocean plays a major role in the regulation of the world's climate. From an ecological viewpoint it is one of the most productive regions of our planet. It harbours, among other things, the largest communities of seabirds, whose state of health depends directly on the resources of the sea. The large decrease in numbers in the majority of these bird populations suggests a major disturbance in this ecosystem. In order to assess the vulnerability of the Southern Ocean with respect to environmental changes, the PICASO project team has focused its attention on penguins in particular. Aided by a remote-operated vehicle (rover) "disguised" as a penguin chick, the scientists are studying their reproduction and survival on the scale of the population and on each individual bird. The aim is to obtain a better understanding of the overall state of health of this ocean.