Life in the Polar Regions

Antarctic Plant and Animal Life with Special Emphasis on Penguins

Arctic and Antarctic: Perfect Laboratories
‡ Antarctic Peninsula excellent place to study species evolution ± home to many amazing adaptations. ‡ Arctic ± Historical Records deep in the ice ± CO2

Map of Antarctica

Antarctica Characteristics
‡ Covered in ice and snow ± little ice-free land for plant colonization ‡ ³Summer growing season´ (Dec. ± Feb.) near freezing. ‡ High winds all year round ‡ A virtual desert inland, several meters of snow fall along coast annually ‡ No trees or shrubs, only two species flowering plants,( in South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands and western Antarctic Peninsula.) ‡ Moss and lichen in wetter areas. ‡ Greatest species diversity along western side of Antarctic Peninsula, where climate is generally warmer and wetter.

Challenges to Life at the Poles
‡ Plants and Animals must adapt to:
± Cold ± Drought ± Short growing season ± Long days, Long nights

‡ More recently, small changes in climate can mean dramatic changes for life at the poles

Antarctic Mammals
‡ Seals (Leopard, Ross, Weddell, Crabeater) * ‡ Whales (Baleen ± Blue, Humpback, Toothed - Sperm)* ‡ Orca (in the dolphin family, referred to as toothed whale)*

*Also found in Arctic

Orca Blue Whale

‡ On the whole Antarctic continent, the only creatures that really live on the land are insects. ‡ Midges and mites live in patches of moss that grow on rocky mountain sides, in spots that are sheltered from the wind, the insect eggs stay frozen all winter, and thaw and hatch the next year. The moss they live in often grows near bird rookeries, where it is fertilized by bird excrement -- called "guano.³ ‡ Ticks and lice also live on the sea birds, penguins, and seals ‡ The largest land-living creature on the entire continent is the wingless fly, about six mm long Project Explore, Val Olnes, Univ. of Minn. (about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch).

Antarctic Birds
‡ Petrels (Wilson¶s storm, Cape, Snow) ‡ Albatross (black browed, grey headed, light mantled ‡ Blue-eyed cormorant (Phalacrocorax atriceps) ‡ Penguins (Emperor, Adelie, Chinstrap, King, Royal, Rockhopper, Magellanic) ‡ Arctic Tern

Bird Adaptations to Cold Environments
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Antifreeze eggs Cold Feet, warm heart Cozy homes Dressing down Feathered snowshoes Knobbly feet Posing for warmth

Penguins in Particular
‡ Flightless birds belonging to the family Spheniscidae. ‡ 17 species world-wide, all of which breed in the Southern hemisphere. ‡ Name believed to have originated from the Welsh "pen gwyn" which means white head ‡ Indicators/Canaries/Marine Sentinels

Adélie, Pygoscelis adeliae
Most highly studied, named after an area of the Peninsula called Adelie Land (Adele, wife of explorer Jules Dumont d¶Urville) Least conspicuous, very good camouflage from predators. Estimated at 2.5 million pairs, largest population near Ross Sea.

Other Climate Change Effects
Besides loss of sea ice at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, a warmer atmosphere is holding more moisture there, resulting in greater deposits of snow. Adélie¶s need snow-free areas to breed, to be able to find stones to build its nests. Heavier snow fall causes suitable nesting areas to disappear.

Magellanic (Patagonian)
‡ Breed in burrows near shore ‡ Very shy, nonaggressive ‡ Feed on fish and squid ‡ Breed mostly on islands, esp. Falkland Islands ‡ Sometimes called ³jackass¶ due to braying call ‡ Tim Mason

Tim Mason

The End
‡ Made by: ‡ lipsa kataria ‡ Class: ‡ 7th b ‡ Roll no.: ‡ 22

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