Rosenberg Institute Spring Seminar Series - Livestream


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Wednesday, April 8 | 3:30 p.m.
Estuary & Ocean Science Center | Bay Conference Center

This event will be available via livestream.

Rosenberg Institute Spring Seminars scheduled for March are closed to the public to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus through social contact among people at large public gatherings. Please see COVID-19 updates from SF State for additional details. 

Geographic structure of Antarctic penguin populations: Revisited
David Ainley, Senior Ecologist 2, H. T. Harvey & Associates

Abstract: We tested the hypothesis that regional spatial organization of Adélie, emperor, chinstrap and gentoo penguin colonies is dependent on proximity and size of adjacent colonies, availability of breeding habitat, and proximity of polynyas and submarine canyons. We tested previously the hypothesis that large colonies affect sizeof adjacent colonies of seabirds, before the availability of extensive biologging results to quantify colony foraging areas and when assessments of colony size was a compendium of historical counts. Results were problematic but interesting. The critical data sets, updated, are now available following 20 years of biologging and real-time satellite assessment of colony locations and sizes continent-wide. Indeed, except for emperor penguins, colonies occur in clusters. In general large colonies do not exist adjacent to one another, within a zone characteristic of the outer edge of the foraging area of large colonies. Foraging area increases with colony size. Therefore, inter-and intraspecific competition importantly affects geographic structure, as does access to polynyas and canyons among Antarctic penguins. Results are relevant to assessing effects of climate and other factors on penguin population trends, it being necessary to evaluate trends in entire colony clusters rather than individual colonies.

Bio: David Ainley received his BS degree from Dickinson College and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He has made ~30trips to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, about half on oceanographic research vessels. Currently, he is involved in researchon penguindemography, as well as studyingthe effects of penguin and cetacean foraging on penguin prey availability aroundRoss Islandusing an ocean glider and Remotely Operated Vehicles. He’s also worked extensively in the California Current, including many cruises, as well as founding and then working atthe PRBO marine research program on the Farallon Islands; he led the restoration of the islands, removing 100 yrs of debris as well as feral animals. He initiated efforts to designate the Ross Sea MPA, then followed up justifying its existence through papers, presentations and film; in part the effort was successful ( He’s written 4 books, 12 monographs and ~230papers about the ecology of marine top predators: seabirds, mammals and sharks.

See the full Spring Seminar Series HERE.