Penguin Populations Among Most Vulnerable To Climate Change: Survey

NEW YORK

Some of the world’s most “charismatic” species are the most at risk due to climate change, a new study says.

The study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science on Thursday, shows since glaciers and breaking ice shelves are so important to certain species, they will be the first ones to feel the negative effects of climate change.

The study looked at previous literature on effects on single species to find if some will fare better or worse in a warming climate.

Some of the most “charismatic” species are at risk, study author Simon Morely said. Since the Emperor penguin breeds on the ice shelves, and the Adèlie and chinstrap penguins feed on krill that live underneath the ice, they were deemed some of the most vulnerable.

Animals that feed in open waters — such as certain types of whales, or the king penguin — could potentially benefit, he explained because their food supply is primarily a type of fish.

Even though there may be positive benefits to some species, it’s never certain how the ecosystem as a whole will be affected, said Jackie Dawson, Canada’s research chair in the environment, society and policy.