Western Antarctic Peninsula Biological Hotspots and the Foraging Patterns of Adélie Penguins


William R. Fraser



More than 75 satellite-linked transmitters were deployed on Adélie Penguins as part of the LTER and GLOBEC programs between March 2001 and September 2002 to investigate post-breeding season movements and foraging locations.  Preliminary analyses of the data suggest three key areas of foraging activity, one off Anvers Island, another off Renaud Island and the last off the southern tip of Adelaide Island.  Although the biological properties of these three regions still need to be investigated to better understand penguin foraging distributions, physical features common to these regions include the presence of deep submarine canyons and/or depressions, and circulation patterns associated with quasi-independent gyre systems.  We suggest that the combination of similar physical attributes and penguin foraging patterns associated with these regions are indicative of biological hotspots that may serve as focal points of future research of Antarctic marine ecosystem processes.