Emperor Penguin Huddles Are Incredibly Coordinated

Written by on December 17, 2013 in Other News

Daily Summary

Deep-sea corals record dramatic long-term shift in Pacific Ocean ecosystem
Long-lived deep-sea corals are providing researchers with evidence that there was a major shift in the open Pacific Ocean ecosystems beginning around 1850. Deep-sea corals can live for thousands of years. They feed on organic matter that drifts down from the upper levels of the ocean and their skeletons, composed of a hard protein material, incorporate chemical signatures from their food sources. This allows scientists to determine which organisms lived in the surface waters at a certain time based on the composition of the growth layers. The researchers were able to reconstruct records over the past 1,000 years and they found that a shift in the source of nitrogen occurred around 1850.

Italian prosecutors investigate claims of restaurants serving dolphin
An undercover journalist from Silvio Berlusconi’s Italia Uno channel filmed his experience at a restaurant that served a salad dressed with flakes of dried dolphin fillet. That restaurant may not be the only one. Following this discovery, prosecutors in the city of Civitavecchia have launched an investigation. The report revealed that clients who wanted dried dolphin fillet asked for it by a code name: black. In addition to the meal, Italia Uno also filmed wholesalers and fishermen discussing dolphin meat. Fishermen told the TV team that the dolphins were usually caught accidentally and are usually dead already. However one explained that if they know dolphins are in the water, that’s where they intentionally cast their nets.

Emperor penguin huddle.

Emperor penguin huddle. Photo credit: StormPetrel1 via photopin cc.

Traffic jams lend insight into emperor penguin huddle
Emperor penguins maintain a tight huddle to protect themselves from the harsh Antarctic winter conditions. The penguins in the huddle move in the same way that cars in a traffic jam move, according to new a new study. Mathematical models of the positions, movements, and interactions of individual penguins reveals that a penguin only needs to move 2cm in any direction for its neighbor to react and step closer to it. Two centimeters! These movements flow through the entire huddle and are responsible for keeping it as dense as possible. Penguins in a huddle move every 30-60 seconds and researchers were surprised to learn that the movements were triggered by a penguin in the huddle. They previously thought it was triggered by penguins on the outside trying to get in.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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