The Matter of Life and Death for Antarctica’s Penguins

emperor penguins

Climate change, also known as global warming, has been occurring for the last century. Many people have been researching different studies to see if it is a legitimate problem or if it is only a minor change to the ecosystem. The one thing that hasn’t been decided is if it is linked to life, or the opposite, death. Many people believe that a climate change is an overall bad thing when it could be good for the environment. Others believe that climate change is natural and a good thing for the environment when it could be the extinction of many plant and animal species. No one really knows if this so called global warming is really that dangerous. There are many people that have been trying to figure how global warming happens, and there are also many plants and animals that are suffering from global warming and climate change.

We do know a lot about global warming, but not knowing everything could be the matter between life and death of our species. Mathew, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of York in the UK, has been doing a lot of research on previous examples of climate change. One thing, he found, was whenever the temperature of the Pacific Ocean increased, the marine life also increased. The same thing happened when the temperature decreased. Many people thought his research sounded promising, but it didn’t apply to every act of climate change or global warming. People are wondering if the emperor penguins in Antarctica can be saved from the great climate change.

Emperor penguins are known for their cool climate loving behaviors and swimming in icy waters, but with the climate changes, it is unknown what will happen to these wonderful animals. Ice caps in the north and south are slowly melting. All the changes happening are hurting the penguins in more than 1 way. All the ice melting is just taking away all the places the penguins could stay on land. Taking away their land makes them easier targets for predators in the water. When they start to disappear, there will not be enough of them to keep repopulating. There are many things on the penguins need to survive that are on the ice. They tend to breed on the sea ice, as it gives them relatively easy access to waters where they hunt for food. The penguins feed on shrimp, fish, and krill. Krill feeds on different plankton that grows on the underside of ice. Therefore, if the ice melts, the plankton will die and so on. The best way for us to save them, is to somehow stop the ice caps from melting so they have a place to live their life. There are many other animals other than the emperor penguins that are in trouble of going extinct.

Penguins from all over are being affected by a variable that they can’t control: the climate change. 11 out of 18 penguin species are declining and only 2 species are considered stable. These birds are used to adapting to some extreme climates, but global warming is too much for them. Antarctica is a gigantic ice sheet that could cause changes on the other side of the world if it melts. If these ice sheets do melt, global temperatures could increase up to 8-10 degrees Celsius which is a very dangerous increase. This much ice melt could cause tons of water to be released into the ocean and mess with the flow of chilled currents that help the world’s weather. In Antarctica, not only are the penguins affected by the change, but the krill, fish, seals and everything else are at risk too. To prevent further climate change from occurring we can reduce our amount of industrial fishing. Large-scale fishing can cause penguin’s food to disappear. We can help stop this change, we just have to put our minds to it and start.

Climate change, otherwise known as global warming, is a big issue that can affect plants and animal’s population in the north and South Pole, but it can also affect whatever is between the north and south. If all the ice caps melt, the water from that ice will be able to flow all around the world and overflow onto other land where people may be living. Not everyone thinks global warming is a big problem, but something could happen any time and if the problem is big, many drastic events could take place. Whole cities could be taken over and many lives could be lost.

  1. What is one way we could stop climate change?
  2. How will the loss of animals in Antarctica affect us?
  3. What enough sort of life style changes have the penguins needed to adapt to in order to survive?

Video below is about climate change and the emperor penguin population

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