As part of Exodus' commitment to conservation and responsible travel, we have teamed up with Penguin Lifelines, a conservation project set up by the Zoological Society of London and Oxford University to understand the impact of climate change and fisheries on Antarctic penguins and to design a protected area network.
Following successful trips with Exodus in 2010, 2011 and 2012, we are pleased to have Dr Tom Hart, penguinologist (yes, that really is his job title!) once again joining five of our 2012/13 departures to Antarctica. Whilst on board, Tom gives lectures about his on-going work to protect penguins and the threats they face. If you have any penguin-related questions during the voyage, then he's the person to ask!
Click here to read Dr. Tom Hart's blog
Update posted: 12 December 2012
LINK TO TRIPS
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT ALL ABOUT? Click here to see more ...
Dr Tom Hart explains all:
"I'm trying to work out how penguins are responding to climate change, fisheries and human impact. And by teaming up with Exodus I have been able to reach even more places in Antarctica and study even more penguins! Antarctica is a hard place to work, so conservation studies are largely based on a few sites near scientific bases. With the increased pace of climate change and expanding fisheries in the area, we urgently need to fill in some of the gaps. Many of these sites for which we have limited data are visited regularly by tourists and polar wildlife enthusiasts. So, if we can design a monitoring network that works from more polar expedition ships, knowledge and conservation in the region would be given a real boost.
Working with Exodus has allowed us to do this very well by collecting feather samples for DNA fingerprinting (this tells us about population structure and change) and stable isotopes (this tells us what they are eating). Travelling with Exodus has enabled us to amass feather samples from six species of penguin all around Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic.
We're also using time-lapse cameras to monitor penguin colonies when we're not there. We set these up during the summer and leave them recording throughout the year."
WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS YEAR? Click here to see more ...
Our goals are simple:
• Service and upgrade the existing cameras
• Place at least 20 new cameras, some with built in sound monitoring
• Trial the first satellite linked camera
• Collect feather samples for genetic and stable isotope studies (where they go and what they eat)
Tom will be joined by Ben Collen from ZSL, who will mainly be working on the satellite camera. Gemma Clucas takes over from Ben in December and will be focused on genetic samples. Finally, Mike Polito joins at the end of December and will be focused on the stable isotope samples.
Perhaps the most exciting thing this year is the prospect of the satellite linked camera. If it works, this is going to revolutionize monitoring around Antarctica - we will be able to monitor wildlife in places we only visit every 10 years!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
1) Firstly, if you are planning on joining a Polar trip to Antarctica, please make everyone in your group aware of what Exodus are doing. Help us spread the word!
2) Join one of our special Tom Hart departures aboard the Ocean Diamond to help his ongoing research and get involved in the monitoring wildlife in such a remote area.
3) If you would like to contribute to Penguin Lifelines, we invite you to 'adopt a colony'. You can contribute to the placing of a web camera that will be used to monitor the penguins with minimal disruption to their environment. You can donate by clicking the "donate now" button.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?
You can contact our Exodus Project Manager Sarah Ahern
For more information on this project, please visit www.penguinlifelines.org