, 153:845 | Cite as

Divergent responses of Pygoscelis penguins reveal a common environmental driver

  • Jefferson T. HinkeEmail author
  • Kasia Salwicka
  • Susan G. Trivelpiece
  • George M. Watters
  • Wayne Z. Trivelpiece
Population Ecology


The responses of predators to environmental variability in the Antarctic Peninsula region have exhibited divergent patterns owing to variation in the geographic settings of colonies and predator life-history strategies. Five breeding colonies of Pygoscelis penguins from King George Island and Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, were examined to (1) compare the responses of sympatric congeners to recent changes in their Antarctic ecosystem and (2) assess underlying causes for such responses. We used linear regression and correlation analyses to compare indices of abundance, recruitment, and summer breeding performance of the Adélie (P. adeliae), gentoo (P. papua), and chinstrap penguins (P. antarctica). Breeding colonies of Adélie and chinstrap penguins have declined by roughly 50% since the mid-1970s, and recruitment indices of Adélie penguins have declined by roughly 80%, but no such patterns are evident for gentoo penguins. Fledging success, however, has remained stable at all breeding colonies. The different trends in abundance and recruitment indices for each species, despite generally similar indices of summer performance, suggest that winter conditions contribute to the divergent responses among the penguins. In particular, strong correlations between indices of penguin and krill recruitment suggest that penguins in the South Shetland Islands may live under an increasingly krill-limited system that has disproportionate effects on the survival of juvenile birds.


Climate change Ecosystem monitoring Life history Prey availability Recruitment Scotia sea Sea ice Survival Winter 



We thank the numerous researchers who have worked at the Admiralty Bay and Cape Shirreff field camps: without you, these extensive data sets would not be available. We thank M. Polito for assisting the compilation of the database. This manuscript benefitted from thoughtful reviews by C. Vleck and two anonymous referees. This work was supported by NSF grants no. 0443751 and no. 1016936 to WZT, SGT, and GMW. We gratefully acknowledge support provided by the Lenfest Ocean Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts. KS thanks the Otto Kinne Foundation for additional financial support. All field methods were approved by the UCSD Animal Ethics Committee and were performed under NSF Antarctic Conservation Act permits to WZT.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jefferson T. Hinke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kasia Salwicka
    • 2
  • Susan G. Trivelpiece
    • 1
  • George M. Watters
    • 3
  • Wayne Z. Trivelpiece
    • 1
  1. 1.Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Antarctic BiologyPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  3. 3.Protected Resources Division, NOAA/SWFSCPacific GroveUSA

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