Program 4 PENGUIN POWER: At Home on the Ice (14:55)

Key Science Content

After viewing the video and participating in one or more of the Hands-On Activities, students will be able to:
• describe and discuss the physiological and behavioral adaptations of penguins to life in the Antarctic
• compare and contrast the physical characteristics and life styles of two penguin species, the Adelie and Emperor
• simulate research procedures which allow for unobtrusive observation of animal behavior, analogous to what is required of Antarctic researchers by the Antarctic Treaty and conservation protocols

Program Description
This video allows you to introduce the very important Standard 9, "Understands the basic concepts of the evolution of species," (Project 2061, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, page 122.) In addition, some of the Hands-On Activities such as "Blubber Glove" also allow you to explore aspects of Science Standard 11, "Understands energy types, sources, and conversions, and their relationship to heat and temperature" (Project 2061, page 81), something you can extend with the Activities suggested for program 5. The program begins by contrasting how humans and penguins meet common needs for warmth, food and shelter amid the most extreme conditions on Earth and introduces adaptation and strategies of competition or cooperation as key to the penguins' survival in Antarctica. Just like Charles Darwin looking at different species of finches in the Galapagos, students will see different species of penguin inhabiting slightly different ecological niches, with differing plumage colors and-more importantly-different ways of life and behavioral adaptations.

• "Penguin Profiles" (02:47) Characteristics of the 4 most numerous penguin species found in Antarctica: the Emperor, Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adelie. Size and coloration of beak and feathers are the easiest way to tell one species from another. One of the largest Adelie colonies is found close to the hut built by explorer Ernest Shackleton for his 1908 expedition. Inside we see perfectly preserved supplies and furniture. Outside, Adelie males carefully collect the rocks that will build the nest where the female will soon lay her eggs.

• "Parenting Behaviors" (04:02) Setting out in a Zodiac inflatable from NSF's Palmer Station with researcher Carol Vleck from Iowa State, we travel with her team of "Adelians" out to Torgerson Island, where she has been studying Adelies for several years. We see how she carefully takes blood from penguins as part of her attempt to correlate the penguins' hormone levels with aggressiveness and success or failure in raising chicks. Vleck provides an overview of the annual life cycle of Adelies, from nest-building to the time when the chicks are old enough to be left behind in "creches", huddling together to protect themselves against marauding skuas. This year, Vleck has built a "puppet penguin," an intruder on a stick designed to trigger aggressive behavior instead of waiting for it to occur.

• "Physical Adaptations" (05:30) On the other side of the continent, relatively close to McMurdo Station, we get "up close and personal" with the largest penguin species, the aptly-named "Emperor." We see U.C. San Diego/Scripps Institution researcher and respected Antarctic veteran, Gerry Kooyman, who has brought along his sons, Carsten and Tory, as members of his research team. They've built a corral and study site on top of the thick sea ice (off Cape Royds), which they've nicknamed "Rancho Penguino." Kooyman explains the purpose of the study-to see how Emperors forage for food and to document how much they eat-and hear from Carsten and Tory about the differing personalities of the birds. Kooyman then describes, through dramatic close-up images, key aspects of Emperor physiology, such as large eyes allowing them to forage in dim ocean depths, strong breast muscles, and their distinctive black and white coloration. He says this is thought to be an adaptation that makes them less visible to possible predators both from above (since their black backs can't be seen against the murky ocean depths) and from below, where white bellies disappear against the sunlit surface. We see how Emperors are the only species to winter over on the continent itself, with males keeping their single large egg warm in a special pouch between their feet. This behavioral adaptation can provide as much as an additional 4 degrees during the long, cold Antarctic night. The program concludes by noting that the combination of behavioral and physiological adaptations make penguins truly "at home on the ice", and humans-for all our ingenuity and technology-always visitors from outside.