Everyday, Landsat satellites orbiting the planet take pictures of things like changes in world cities seen from space, big fires, melting glaciers, and more.
Among these curious photographs are the Adelie penguin population in Antarctica. This unusual task is the work of NASA scientist Mathew Schwaller, who reasoned in 1984 that penguins spent much of the organic waste, so scientists could estimate the size of the population from outer space, with a full guano content on white ice.
Some time ago, scientists use this data for some good news, thanks from Inverse Science.
In a publicly accessible paper in Scientific Reports, scientists announced the discovery of a mega-colony of Adellie’s 1.5 million penguins at the northernmost tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Precisely, in an archipelago of nine islands known as the Danger Islands.
The examination of guano stains scattered across the uneven landscape led scientists to conclude that there may be nearly 200,000 penguin nests in the region. This shows the Danger Islands as a previously unknown Adélie penguin hotspot.
“So many penguins are visible from the sky so make us startled” says co-author Heather Lynch, as reported by the BBC. “If what we see is true, it will be the largest colony of Adellie penguins in the world, and it will be worth the effort so far to send an expedition to count it properly.”
The scientists combine satellite images with photo surveys taken by unmanned aerial and direct counting on land by expedition teams conducting the first comprehensive seabird survey in Danger Islands. They found that the archipelago holds 751,527 Adellie penguins, indicating that this region is home to the third or fourth largest Adellie penguin colony in the world.