Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Not so happy: King penguins stressed by human presence

Date:
July 11, 2012
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
King penguins tolerate some, but not all, human interference. Scientists have now investigated the adjustment of a king penguin colony on the protected Possession island in the subantarctic Crozet Archipelago to over 50 years of constant human disturbance.

These are Aptenodytes patagonicus from the subantarctic Crozet Archipelago.
Credit: V.Viblanc/IPEV

King penguins tolerate some, but not all, human interference. Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal, BMC Ecology, investigates the adjustment of a king penguin colony on the protected Possession island in the subantarctic Crozet Archipelago to over 50 years of constant human disturbance.

A team of researchers from the University of Strasbourg, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Lausanne, compared 15 king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) breeding in areas disturbed daily by humans and 18 penguins breeding in undisturbed areas. All penguins selected were brooding a chick aged from 2 days to 1 month.

Using heart rate to indicate the stress level of each penguin, they compared the stress response of penguins from the different areas to three stressors. Two low intensity stressors, a human approach to 10 meters and a loud noise, mimicked the actions of tourists, researchers, and noises from machines when operating on the outskirts of the colony. One high intensity stressor, a capture, simulated researchers taking measurements.

Compared with penguins from undisturbed areas, penguins from areas of high human disturbance were less stressed by noise and approaching humans, but following capture, their maximum relative heart rate increased 42% although they then recovered faster.

"Our findings report a case of physiological adjustment to human presence in a long-studied king penguin colony, and emphasize the importance of considering potential effects of human presence in ecological studies," said lead author Vincent Viblanc.

Penguins 'getting used to' people may be beneficial to scientific research and tourist management. However, this study also raises the question of the potential influence of human activities on the selection of specific phenotypes. For example the progressive desertion of disturbed areas by more stress-sensitive individuals. For scientists studying animals in their native habitat, it also underlines the importance of physiological studies in interpreting results before conservation measures are implemented.

Evaluating the impact of humans on protected wildlife such as the king penguins is particularly important given the rise in popularity of Antarctic tour groups. Dr Viblanc said, "A central question for ecologists is the extent to which anthropogenic disturbances (e.g. tourism) might impact wildlife and affect the systems under study." He continued "One of the major pitfalls of such research is in forgetting that, from the perspective of the wildlife studied, tourism and scientific research are not two worlds apart."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vincent A Viblanc, Andrew D Smith, Benoit Gineste, Renι Groscolas. Coping with continuous human disturbance in the wild: insights from penguin heart rate response to various stressors. BMC Ecology, 2012; 12 (1): 10 DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-12-10

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Not so happy: King penguins stressed by human presence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711074322.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2012, July 11). Not so happy: King penguins stressed by human presence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711074322.htm
BioMed Central. "Not so happy: King penguins stressed by human presence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711074322.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) — Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins