photos of aldelie (2,5,7,8) and chinstrap (1,3,4,6) penguins by (click pic) tim laman, ralph lee hopkins, justin hoffman, franz lanting, michael poliza and maria stenzel.
both chinstrap and adele penguins rely on krill for food, but the krill population, which itself relies on phytoplankton found beneath icebergs, has decreased by 80 percent. as the antarctic ice continues to melt, the phytoplankton are prevented from accessing cold water nutrients found beneath the icebergs, which ends up putting populations of the penguins at risk.
there’s now strong evidence to suggest a more than 50 percent drop in the abundance of chinstraps breeding since 1986, while the adelie population northeast of the ross sea has declined by 90 percent.
(side note: the bluer ice seen here is created as air bubbles trapped in the ice are sufficiently compressed over time from accumulated snow so that they no longer interfere with the passage of light. the structure of glacial ice, different from the ice you would normally see, strongly scatters light, which, as with all ice, is blue because water absorbs photons from the red end of the visible spectrum much better than the blue end.)