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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 410:269-282 (2010)  -  DOI:

Maiden journey of fledgling emperor penguins from the Mawson Coast, East Antarctica

B. Wienecke*, B. Raymond, G. Robertson

Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston TAS 7050, Australia

ABSTRACT: The at-sea distribution of fledgling emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri is largely unknown. Seven and 10 fledglings, respectively, were satellite tracked on their maiden voyage from the colonies at Taylor Glacier in 1996 and from Auster in 2007. In both years, the young birds dispersed widely, well beyond the pack ice zone once they had left and reached open water. They spent a substantial part of their time north of 60°S, i.e. outside the Antarctic Treaty area. The northernmost latitudes reached were 54°14’S in 1996 and 56°15’S in 2007. Their longitudinal distribution ranged from 7 to 93° E. The fledglings did not congregate in particular feeding areas nor did they appear to be associated with oceanographic fronts or the sea ice in their first 2 to 3 mo at sea. Towards the beginning of winter, they changed course and headed south back towards the ice but not to their natal colonies.

KEY WORDS: Emperor penguins · Fledglings · Maiden voyage · Sea ice

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Cite this article as: Wienecke B, Raymond B, Robertson G (2010) Maiden journey of fledgling emperor penguins from the Mawson Coast, East Antarctica. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 410:269-282.

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