Impacts of Local Oceanographic Processes on Adelie Penguin Foraging Ecology

A collaborative Research project funded by U.S. NSF Office of Polar Programs



Josh Kohut (Rutgers University, USA)
William R. Fraser (Polar Oceans Research Group, USA) 
Kim Bernard (Oregon State University, USA)
Peter Winsor (University of Alaska, USA)
Matthew Oliver (University of Delaware, USA)

Project CONVERGE, funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs, is deploying a coordinated ocean observing network to better understand ecological connections along the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP). This project is an adaptive field study that investigates the impact of local physical processes on Adélie penguin foraging ecology in the vicinity of Palmer Deep off Anvers Island.

Images Credit: Peter Winsor (University Alaska, Fairbanks)

To do this, partners from Rutgers University, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF), Oregon State University, the University of Delaware, and the Polar Oceans Research Group are deploying a multi-platform observing network that includes gliders, animal telemetry, acoustics, and CODAR High Frequency Radar (HFR). The surface current maps from the HFR network make it possible to identify regions of convergence and divergence in real time. Guided by these hourly maps, our field study will adaptively sample the food web in the context of the measured convergence and divergence zones. The in situ sampling includes (a) a mooring deployment, (b) underwater glider deployments, (c) small boat acoustic surveys targeting Antarctic krill, and (d) penguin ARGOS-linked satellite telemetry and time-depth recorders (TDRs). The combination of the real-time surface convergence maps with adaptive in situ sampling introduces CODAR HFR to the Antarctic in a way that will allow us to rigorously and efficiently test the influence of local physical processes on top predator foraging ecology. 



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