09 July 2013

Breeding bonanza on Phillip Island

AUSTRALIA – Forget the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Phillip Island is topping the stakes as the best location for raising families – at least if you’re a little penguin.

Researchers from Phillip Island Nature Parks have crunched the numbers and last summer’s breeding season for the world’s smallest penguin was the best since 1990, proving size doesn’t matter.

“An average 1.41 chicks were fledged per female, up from 1.29 in the previous breeding season.” said Dr Peter Dann, research manager at the parks.

06 July 2013

Cellular activity helps chicks survive fasting in the cold

King penguin chick at
Possession Island, Crozet Archipelago
Credit: Pierre-Axel Monternier
SUBANTARCTIC – A new study shows that king penguin chicks survive harsh winters with almost no food by minimising the cost of energy production.

The study, presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Valencia on the 3 July, shows that mitochondria – the powerhouses of the cell – are more efficient in fasted king penguin chicks.