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Anustart15 t1_j1e7kaz wrote

For the sake of sparking a little bit of discourse, this does seem like one of those classic cases of taking the worst case scenario, making a few favorable assumptions to make it even worse, and then publishing it as truth.

>“Up to 80% of emperor penguin colonies are projected to be quasi-extinct by 2100 [population declines of more than 90%] with business-as-usual increases in greenhouse gas emissions,” it found.

This sounds pretty bad at first glance, but the only sign of a mechanism behind the extinction is this quote:

>“The emperor penguin relies on ice for breeding,” Lee said. “If it loses its suitable breeding habitat … that can lead to [population] collapses over time.”

Without any other information, this just sounds like they are making a bit of a jump from "the ice will melt" straight to "they won't be able to figure out how to breed without the ice and they will all die"

That being said, there are more than enough good reasons to try to limit global warming, but this feels like a publication that was searching for the most extreme result possible.


A_Dragon t1_j1egqqw wrote

Yeah I would imagine they would just move further inland. It’s not as if there’s something essential about the ice for them other than it allows them to be closer to the water.

If the ice recedes they likely will too. That’s what I would think.


OlderThanMyParents t1_j1eh58y wrote

>With increasing human activity on Antarctica – both research and tourism – the risk of introducing exotic species was growing, Lee said.

Great, tourists will make sure we find out what effect avian flu has on the penguin population.


Cthulhusaurus t1_j1f0z8j wrote

Genuine question: what is the loss to the native ecosystem if they die out? I don't know how their food web works or how it affects things outside their ecosystem


utdconsq t1_j1j6k7l wrote

Undoubtedly, but I imagine it would be hard to do more than speculate without observing it happen. Emperors eat fish and crustaceans like krill. Krill are predated on by many animals, most notably whales, but the types of fish these guys eat I don't know much about. Effect of the penguins being gone, hard to say. Sadly, the krill which are so important to many, many, many species are also at risk due to acidification among other things.