Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 641–649

Can macaroni penguins keep up with climate- and fishing-induced changes in krill?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-007-0401-0

Cite this article as:
Cresswell, K.A., Wiedenmann, J. & Mangel, M. Polar Biol (2008) 31: 641. doi:10.1007/s00300-007-0401-0


Macaroni penguins have evolved to cope with the highly variable conditions of the Southern Ocean. However, changes in prey supply and patchiness potentially associated with changes in climate and krill fishing activity may be occurring too rapidly for the penguins to adapt. We use a stochastic dynamic programming model to examine how changes in both the mean and patchiness of krill supply may affect the foraging decisions, and therefore breeding success, of female macaroni penguins at South Georgia. We predict that rapid changes in the mean supply of prey will have more of an effect on the condition of the female and chick than changes in prey patchiness, and that changes in foraging behavior compensate for changes in prey up to a threshold point, beyond which breeding success is likely impacted. In particular, we predict that the location of the threshold is affected by whether or not the penguins are adapted to the prey environment in which they are foraging, with the female and chick receiving on average 20% less of their daily energetic requirement if the female is not foraging optimally.


Eudyptes chrysolophusEuphausia superbaBehaviorForagingClimate changeFishingPredatorPreySDPProvisioningFitness

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Center for Stock Assessment Research, Jack Baskin School of EngineeringUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ocean SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA