Polar Biology

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 2337–2342 | Cite as

Abundance estimation of Adélie penguins at the Esperanza/Hope Bay mega colony

  • M. Mercedes SantosEmail author
  • Jefferson T. Hinke
  • Néstor R. Coria
  • Bruno Fusaro
  • Anahí Silvestro
  • Mariana A. Juáres
Original Paper


The Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) breeding population at Esperanza/Hope Bay, at the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, is one of the largest Adélie penguin colonies in Antarctica. Nevertheless, the last known published field count during the egg-laying period is from 1985/1986. We counted breeding pairs within the entire colony, consisting of 274 breeding groups, during the 2012/2013 breeding season for comparison with previously published ground and satellite-derived counts. We also counted breeding pairs in 26 breeding groups that have been monitored annually since 1995/1996. We estimated the current population size to be 104,139 (95th-percentile CI 70,126–138,151) breeding pairs for the whole colony. The counts indicate population declines of 15.9% over 27 years in the whole colony and 37.5% over 18 years in the annually monitored subset of breeding groups, respectively. The observed decrease matches recent trends reported in other Adélie penguin colonies throughout the western Antarctic Peninsula and southern Scotia Sea. This population assessment contributes to the current estimates of the total predator populations in the region, which is necessary information for the management of marine living resources.


Pygoscelis adeliae Breeding population size Population decline Antarctic Peninsula 



We want to thank all field assistants, in particular Chuchu Crivero and Gaby Blanco. The permit for this work was granted by the Dirección Nacional del Antártico (Environmental Office). The FONCYT—Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (Grant: PICTO 2010-0111) and the Instituto Antártico Argentino (Grant No. PI-05)—Dirección Nacional del Antártico provided financial and logistical support. We are very grateful to Ana Gentile who improved the English. We also thank Dr Lynch, Dr Trathan, an anonymous reviewer and editors for their helpful comments and suggestions on improving the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Mercedes Santos
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jefferson T. Hinke
    • 3
  • Néstor R. Coria
    • 1
  • Bruno Fusaro
    • 1
    • 4
  • Anahí Silvestro
    • 5
  • Mariana A. Juáres
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.Departamento Biología de Predadores TopeInstituto Antártico ArgentinoSan MartínArgentina
  2. 2.Laboratorios Anexos, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y MuseoUniversidad Nacional de La PlataLa PlataArgentina
  3. 3.Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationLa JollaUSA
  4. 4.Centro de Estudios Parasitológicos y de Vectores (CONICET-UNLP)La PlataArgentina
  5. 5.Centro de Investigación Esquel de Montaña y Estepa Patagónica (CONICET–UNPSJB)EsquelArgentina
  6. 6.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)CABA, Buenos AiresArgentina

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