Agriculture
Making the most of a meal
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Frogs and Toads
Newts
Animals
Jay Watch
A Meal Plan for Birds
Little Beetle, Big Horns
Behavior
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Giving Sharks Safe Homes
Swedish Rhapsody
Birds
Penguins
Kookaburras
Chicken
Chemistry and Materials
Makeup Science
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
Boosting Fuel Cells
Computers
Computers with Attitude
The Book of Life
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Dinosaurs and Fossils
A Dino King's Ancestor
Digging Dinos
From Mammoth to Modern Elephant
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Drilling Deep for Fuel
Less Mixing Can Affect Lake's Ecosystem
Challenging the Forces of Nature
Environment
A 'Book' on Every Living Thing
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
A Change in Leaf Color
Finding the Past
A Long Haul
Salt and Early Civilization
A Volcano's Deadly Ash
Fish
Sturgeons
Flashlight Fishes
Flounder
Food and Nutrition
The mercury in that tuna
Symbols from the Stone Age
Building a Food Pyramid
GSAT English Rules
Whoever vs. Whomever
Subject and Verb Agreement
Problems with Prepositions
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
Math is a real brain bender
Secrets of an Ancient Computer
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Human Body
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
Music in the Brain
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Invertebrates
Bedbugs
Sponges
Wasps
Mammals
Manxes
Spectacled Bear
Weasels
Parents
How children learn
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Black Hole Journey
The Particle Zoo
Plants
A Giant Flower's New Family
Bright Blooms That Glow
Sweet, Sticky Science
Reptiles
Snapping Turtles
Cobras
Pythons
Space and Astronomy
Witnessing a Rare Venus Eclipse
An Earthlike Planet
Cousin Earth
Technology and Engineering
Riding Sunlight
Machine Copy
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Pronouns
What is a Noun
Transportation
Charged cars that would charge
Robots on a Rocky Road
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
Warmest Year on Record
Either Martians or Mars has gas
A Dire Shortage of Water
Add your Article

Out in the Cold

There's a scene in the movie March of the Penguins in which a group of mother penguins leaves their chicks alone for the first time. The moms will be gone for days. As they waddle away, some of the fuzzy newborns hop after them, screeching and flapping their little wings. Driven by their need for food, the mothers don't even look back. "For some, this is not acceptable," says narrator Morgan Freeman, describing the chicks' reactions. "But it is nonnegotiable." In another scene, a penguin mother stands over her dead chick and wails at the sky. "The loss is unbearable," Freeman explains. In yet another scene, Freeman describes typical penguin behavior. "They're not that different from us, really," he says. "They pout. They bellow. They strut. And occasionally, they engage in contact sports." Such statements have drawn criticism from some biologists who say it's wrong to attribute human feelings to animals. Penguin researcher Dee Boersma, however, says that this kind of anthropomorphism is a good thing. "I think these movies are a wonderful opportunity to engage children and adults in the wonders of nature instead of the wonders of shoot-'em-ups," Boersma says. She's a conservation biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Hard life Inspiring people to care about penguins is important, Boersma says, because life isn't getting any easier for the quirky-looking birds. Penguins live on land, on ice, and in the oceans of the southern hemisphere, but global climate warming is shrinking their habitats. Oil slicks and other types of pollution are making them sick. More and more often, fishermen are catching penguins in their nets by mistake. And over-fishing is making it harder for the animals to find fish to eat. Penguins are especially sensitive to changes in the environment because they travel long distances during their lives, but can't fly. Environmental damage along any part of their routes can have harmful effects. The Emperor penguins featured in March of the Penguins, for instance, walk and slide on their tummies over ice for 70 miles each year to meet at the same breeding grounds. Similarly, Magellanic penguins, which live in South America, sometimes travel more than 2,000 round-trip miles between Argentina and Brazil. Penguins gather in huge groups when they breed, which makes it easy for scientists to see if populations are declining. "We're interested in using penguins as sentinels of the environment," Boersma says. In other words, if penguins show signs of distress, that's a sign that the environment is experiencing stress, too. Cool birds Boersma has been studying Magellanic penguins in the Patagonia region of Argentina for 22 years. Every year, she spends September through March at a protected reserve called Punta Tombo, which borders the Atlantic Ocean. About 200,000 breeding pairs of penguins live there. "It's a megalopolis of penguins," Boersma says. "It's like New York City." Even so, she says, there are 20 percent fewer penguins living at Punta Tombo now than when she started working there in 1987. Boersma has big goals when it comes to penguin research. She wants to learn everything there is to know about penguins. To that end, she and her colleagues tag birds every year and track their migration routes with satellite technology. The researchers also visit nests and count how many penguins return from year to year. They spend hours observing the animals every day, trying to figure out how penguins choose their mates, why they make certain noises, how oil spills affect populations, and how Punta Tombo's 70,000 yearly human visitors affect the behavior of the birds and their ability to reproduce successfully. "What's mostly driving us," Boersma says, "is to make sure penguins are going to be here for future generations." Penguin personalities Studying penguins is as entertaining as it is interesting, Boersma says. "I don't know anyone who won't say they like penguins," she says. "They are fun to watch. They're comical. They walk upright. What's not to like?" Now that she has known some of the penguins at Punta Tombo for more than 2 decades, she has grown to appreciate their personalities. "Some are nervous," she says. "Some are placid." One of her favorites is a 21-year-old male who makes a grunting "hmmph" sound every time the researchers pick him up to weigh and measure him. I never realized how amazing penguins are until I saw March of the Penguins. The birds go to incredible lengths, I learned, to find food for themselves and their babies. In the Antarctic, they withstand brutal snowstorms and frigid temperatures, and they go for months without food, all for the sake of their chicks. The film also gave me an appreciation for how cute baby penguins are. Afterwards, all I wanted to do was to adopt a group of the adorable puffballs and protect them from winds, cold weather, and hungry predators. On second thought, though, that would probably be a bad idea. People may have something in common with penguins, but penguins would probably be too noisy and wild to make good roommates. My cat, by the way, agrees.

Out in the Cold
Out in the Cold








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™