30 May 2013

Penguin diving through the scales of time

Little penguin.
Photo credit: Phillip Island Nature Parks.
AUSTRALIA - An international research team has uncovered complex patterns in little penguin dives and revealed a sophisticated level of organised and adaptive behaviour.

The detailed patterns are like the repeated design on a head of broccoli, or the intricate geometry found in growing crystals, swirling galaxies and heart rates. The term “fractals” is used to describe these repeated patterns across varying spatial or temporal scales.

25 May 2013

Conservationists call for wider set net ban to save yellow-eyed penguins

Yellow-eyed penguin.
Photo credit: Craig Mckenzie
NEW ZEALAND – Forest & Bird has called for an immediate extension to a ban on commercial and recreational set-netting around Otago Peninsula – a move that has angered the area’s commercial fishermen, the Otago Daily Times reported.

Karen Baird, Forest & Bird Seabird Advocate, said that because yellow-eyed penguins feed in the coastal waters that set nets are used in, they are a prime example of a species whose chances of survival would improve with better controls on set nets.

Why are penguins flightless? It’s evolutionary

Chinstrap penguin.
Photo credit: Kyle Elliott and Uli Kunz.
The mystery of the flightless tuxedoed bird has intrigued many of us, scientists included.

“Like many people,” said Professor John Speakman, “I have been fascinated by films of penguins walking across the Antarctic ice, and wondered why on earth they lost the ability to fly.”

Speakman, from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, is part of an international research team that collected data solving the puzzle of why penguins don’t take to the skies.