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Adaptability of Penguins Can Help Guide Humans’ Response to Climate Change


With the changing temperatures across the globe, every life form and every species is being affected. According to Dr. Heather J. Lynch, IACS Core Faculty and Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolution, differing levels of adaptability is one of the major deciding factors for the success and survival of all species, particularly that of the Gentoo Penguins in the Arctic. Understandably, the ice-filled artic environment is being seriously affected by global climate change and temperatures and species like the Adélie and Gentoo penguins need to learn to adapt, quickly. For example, research is showing that the Gentoo penguins are more adaptable and can change their food stock of choice as well as expand their range as the ice melts. The Adélie penguins, however, are more reliant on the ice and are not thriving in climate change.

 According to Lynch, the comparison of these two penguin groups can help us see which behaviors will allow species to survive and thrive. Species that are able to make adjustments in their habitat and food intake, she says, such as the Gentoo, can better withstand the challenges climate change presents. This information can allow us as humans to see which behaviors will help us and which attitudes, such as attachment to a specific location or food type, will not.


See the Scientific American Article here for further details.