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A Penguin Supercolony on the Danger Islands.

For the past 40 years, the population of Adelie Penguins, among the most common penguins in Antarctica, has been steadily declining on the West Antarctic Peninsula. But in 2014, scientists examining satellite imagery saw telltale guano stains on the Danger Islands, a chain of islands off the Antarctic Peninsula's northern tip.

Stephanie Jenouvrier, a seabird ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, joined an expedition to the remote, rocky islands where a research team found a previously unknown "supercolony" of more than 1.5 million Adelie Penguins. The team tallied the hundreds of thousands of birds nesting in the rocky soil and also used a modified commercial quadcopter drone to take images of the entire island from above.

The supercolony has gone undetected for decades, the scientists said, because the islands are remote and surrounded by treacherous waters. Even in summer, the nearby ocean is filled with thick sea ice, making it extremely difficult to access.

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Title Annotation:BIOLOGY
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8ANTA
Date:Mar 22, 2019
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