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Journal Articles Polar Biology Year : 2000

A method to assess population changes in king penguins: the use of a Geographical Information System to estimate area-population relationships

Abstract

During the last decades, king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) populations have been reported to increase throughout most of their breeding range. In this study, we compared the results obtained from direct counts of incubating king penguins with the results yielded by the estimation of the change in area occupied by breeding birds at the Ratmano€ king penguin colony at the Kerguelen Islands. The area of the colony was determined using a Geographical Informa- tion System with a georeferencing extension on aerial pictures taken in 1963, 1985 and 1998. Individual king penguin were counted on the same pictures or pictures taken on the same day. The overall population increase between 1963 and 1998 was 733% while the colony area increased by 677%. This study indicates that monitoring change in colony size is a good indicator for detecting and monitoring large population changes in king pen- guins, in particular for remote colonies. The discrepancy between the two results may be from two di€erent kinds of bias. Firstly, there could be a possible error in the estimation of the area occupied by the colony resulting from the georeferencing of oblique pictures, and sec- ondly, the density of king penguins may also change with population number. This method, which only requires high-altitude pictures, also reduces the possible disturbance to breeding made by low- to medium- altitude flights.

Dates and versions

hal-00193357 , version 1 (03-12-2007)

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Simon Chammaille-James, Christophe Guinet, Frédéric Nicoleau, Marie Argentier. A method to assess population changes in king penguins: the use of a Geographical Information System to estimate area-population relationships. Polar Biology, 2000, 23, pp.545-549. ⟨10.1007/s003000000119⟩. ⟨hal-00193357⟩

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