Discovery Guides Areas


Penguins: Promoting Polar Awareness While Melting Our Hearts:
SubPenguins: Promoting Polar Awareness While Melting Our Hearts

(Released August 2012)

  by Natalie Abram  


Key Citations





δ13C: compares the amount of elemental carbon to isotopic carbon in a food source of a trophic pyramid.

Description: \mathrm{\delta ^{13}C} = \Biggl( \mathrm{\frac{\bigl( \frac{^{13}C}{^{12}C} \bigr)_{sample}}{\bigl( \frac{^{13}C}{^{12}C} \bigr)_{standard}}} -1 \Biggr) \times 1000\ ^{o}\!/\!_{oo}

δ15N: standard isotope of the element nitrogen.

albedo: a coefficient of reflection, typically by the sun on some surface. Ice and snow have a high albedo. 

benthic sediment: described as sand, rock, or substrate at the bottom floor of a water body. Many organisms, elements and even heavy metals can collect there.

bioaccumulation: the quantifiable measurement of substances in an organisms' flesh, feathers and organs. These typically are in the form of heavy metals, pesticides, or other pollutants easily absorbed.

bycatch: birds or cetaceans accidentally caught up in fishing nets, lines and hooks originally intended for specific fish.

every-year breeding: a reproductive strategy in some organisms that results in new offspring each birthing season.

filter feeder: any organism that absorbs food, suspended matter or particles through the water column.

flipper bands: a metal or rubber band marked with a unique identification number and used for scientists to track individuals in populations. On the day of marking and capturing, the penguins are weighed, measured, and given their flipper band.

Great Auk: (Pinguinus impennis) an extinct flightless bird of the Northern Hemisphere that could have resulted in the naming of the taxonomically unrelated Southern Hemisphere penguins.

guano: bat or bird excrement that contains both feces and urine.

Southern Annular Mode (SAM): a Southern Hemisphere oscillation pattern of atmospheric changes and wind flow below the equator.  It can impact climate by changing temperatures of the air and sea. 

TDR (Timpe-depth recorder): an electronic sensor device that tells scientists about feeding habits, diving strategies, and a timeline of activity. Most have to be recovered before data is retrieved.

trophic pyramid: an ecological depiction of food webs in populations and communities. The apex of the pyramid would show the highest predator, while the most broad bottom rung depicts the producers or plant levels. Any predator/prey or feeding interaction in an ecosystem that is known will be placed on the chart with interconnecting lines linking them.