gentoo leads chinstraps!

Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University studied breeding patterns of three species of Antarctic penguins: the Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo.

While the Adélie and chinstrap migrate to the Western Antarctic Peninsula to breed every year, the gentoos are year-round residents. Because the Antarctic is one of the world’s most rapidly warming regions, Lynch hypothesized that these environmental changes would affect penguins’ reproduction.

She was right: Warmer temperatures have resulted in dwindling Adélie and chinstrap populations. The gentoos, however, are able to adapt to increased temperatures better since they live in the Peninsula year-round.

They’re doing it and doing it and doing it well — because they’ve been able to shift their breeding cycle earlier, their populations are actually growing.

Grist, 22 Mar 2012