Banding Penguins To Track Them For Climate Study Harm Them, Yield Wrong Data

in environment, biology

A new study shows that research data obtained by flipper-banding penguins may not be reliable and such techniques are  more likely to harm the penguins.  The controversial study was published in today's online issue of Nature magazine. 

Most available information on penguin population dynamics is based on the controversial use of flipper banding. Using top predators such as penguins, scientists study responses of marine ecosystems to climate change as such ecosystems are expected to be strongly affected by global warming.

Though banding may allow identification of birds from a distance, banding by itself may be harmful to the bird.

The results were from the study conducted for over a decade by scientists from France and Norwa,y and question the ethics of flipper-banding penguins.

Over the course of the 10-year longitudinal study, banded birds produced 39% fewer chicks and had a survival rate 16% lower than non-banded birds, demonstrating a massive long-term impact of banding and thus refuting the assumption that birds will ultimately adapt to being banded, according to the study.

Read more on this story reviewed in Science News online magazine


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