(1/6) #BOUsci20 #SESH7. I’m a PhD scholar working with @latrobe Uni & @PhillipIslandNP in Australia. Together, we're investigating terrestrial impacts of #climatechange on Little #Penguins. Today, I'm talking about the impacts of extreme temperature on penguins during moult
(2/6) #BOUsci20 Unlike other birds, penguins moult all their feathers at once. To prepare, individuals can double their weight. That’s a LOT of extra insulation. Feather synthesis is energetically expensive, so the additional cost of keeping cool in a heatwave can be detrimental
(3/6) #BOUsci20 Mortality during moult is most prevalent in hot, dry years. Given current climate projections, this is concerning! I used in situ field respirometry to investigate thermoregulatory costs of moulting birds. Aim? To determine which birds are most at risk and why
(4/6) #BOUsci20 Moult is asynchronous meaning that #penguins can be found in various stages of moult at same time. So, the first thing I did was define three main categories based on feather cover percentages
(5/6) #BOUsci20 We found that plump, early moulters used more energy to keep cool than leaner, less feathered penguins. Then in 2019, the greatest known mortality event of moulting little penguins occurred at Phillip Island. All recorded deaths were early moult birds
(6/6) #BOUsci20 So what next? We're testing artificial burrow designs that will protect penguins from extreme heat events. It's an interim solution to be implemented alongside appropriate vegetation management, and a way to buy time while we work towards a cooler future
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