According to the latest research, if we don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions in response to climate change, so by the end of the century, 70% of king penguins could face a tough decision: either find a new home, or death.
King penguins live on islands scattered around Antarctica. Birds can swim up to 310 miles (500 kilometers), feeding on lanterns, squid and krill around the continent. But climate models show that the strip will be closer to the South Pole, forcing the penguins to swim further to eat. According to a study published today in the journal nature climate change, penguins are expected to migrate to other islands by 2100, or 70 percent of them may disappear.
Wow, “said Michelle LaRue, a research ecologist at the university of Minnesota who was not involved in the study. “It’s not what I imagined.” Unlike their closest relatives, king penguin doesn’t live on sea ice. In fact, they only live in Iceland. So in a warming world, you’ll find penguins that don’t need ice to breed well, LaRue tells The Verge. But today’s research shows that the ripple effects of climate change are complex and can affect species in many ways.
For king penguin, the future is bleak. “We know that The penguin population will collapse very quickly,” said CelineLe Bohec, an ecologist at The Hubert Curien institute of multisciences in France, in an E-mail to The Verge. “They showed us the tip of the iceberg in the ecosystem.”
Today, there are an estimated 3.2 million adult emperor penguins around the world that are not easily extinct. The largest colony on Crozet is the archipelago between Madagascar and the South Pole. In the summer, the penguins swim between 186 and 310 miles (300 to 500 kilometers) in search of food, sometimes for months at sea, Le Bohec said. Birds feed on a particularly rich water belt around Antarctica, known as the polar frontier. Here, cold water meets warm waters from temperate regions, maintaining the bloom of Marine life, from plankton to krill to fish. King penguins live on this kind of food.
But as the world continues to heat up, the poles will change. Emiliano Trucchi, a researcher at Universitadegli Studi di Ferrara in Italy, said that as the surface temperature rises, the Antarctic food belt will move towards the South Pole. This will force the penguins swim to further raise: for example, birds living in klose islands will have to come to about 435 miles (700 kilometers) to reach the South Pole where the polar front. This will require more adult energy, which means that the chicken waiting at home will be reduced, putting the penguins at risk. “It seems that there is not much hope for The future of The islands,” Trucchi told The Verge.
By combining climate predictions and genome and environmental data, Trucchi, Le Bohec and their colleagues found that half of the world’s king penguins will complete loss of habitat, such as klose island and prince Edward island. Seventy percent of the kingdom of the penguins – about 1.1 million breeding objects – will have to be moved to other islands, otherwise it will disappear by the end of the century. “I worry about the future of species,” Le Bohec said.
Migrating king penguin is complicated. Because they live only around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) throughout the year, it’s hard to find a new home on a beach or pebble beach. Trucchi said the mass migration could mean king penguin will compete with other penguins for space and food.
Avoiding all these chaotic ways – and the extinction of more species – is clearly a response to climate change by reducing the amount of heat emitted by greenhouse gases. “It’s important to take action and try to do something,” Trucchi said. “It depends on what kind of earth you want to live on: there is nothing around us, or there are many beautiful species.”