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How do weather conditions affect the huddling behaviour of emperor penguins?

How do weather conditions affect the huddling behaviour of emperor penguins? Huddling allows emperor penguins to conserve energy and survive their long winter fast while facing harsh climatic conditions. Here we report the first investigation into the effects of changes in wind speed and ambient temperature on different components of penguin huddling behaviour. We attached light and temperature recorders to male emperor penguins at the Pointe Géologie colony, Antarctica, which recorded huddling events. We then compared the frequency, duration, occurrence and intensity of huddling bouts, with ambient air temperatures and wind speeds. Huddling occurrence increased with lower ambient temperatures and higher wind speeds, whereas huddling intensity was mainly enhanced by lower ambient temperatures. Moreover, huddling group movements were linked to wind direction and its global density to lower ambient temperatures. Hence, emperor penguins complex huddling behaviour was modulated differently depending on these two parameters. Weather conditions may then affect emperor penguins ability to save energy and survive their winter fast. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Polar Biology Springer Journals

How do weather conditions affect the huddling behaviour of emperor penguins?

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References (22)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology ; Plant Sciences ; Microbiology ; Oceanography ; Ecology
ISSN
0722-4060
eISSN
1432-2056
DOI
10.1007/s00300-007-0343-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Huddling allows emperor penguins to conserve energy and survive their long winter fast while facing harsh climatic conditions. Here we report the first investigation into the effects of changes in wind speed and ambient temperature on different components of penguin huddling behaviour. We attached light and temperature recorders to male emperor penguins at the Pointe Géologie colony, Antarctica, which recorded huddling events. We then compared the frequency, duration, occurrence and intensity of huddling bouts, with ambient air temperatures and wind speeds. Huddling occurrence increased with lower ambient temperatures and higher wind speeds, whereas huddling intensity was mainly enhanced by lower ambient temperatures. Moreover, huddling group movements were linked to wind direction and its global density to lower ambient temperatures. Hence, emperor penguins complex huddling behaviour was modulated differently depending on these two parameters. Weather conditions may then affect emperor penguins ability to save energy and survive their winter fast.

Journal

Polar BiologySpringer Journals

Published: Sep 1, 2007

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