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Watch this mesmerising penguin colony timelapse

This video may be a few years old now, but it is still just as fascinating. Over a three-month period, an Adelie penguin colony was filmed in the Ross Sea. Every 45-minutes, a photo was taken and then stitched together to create a memorizing timelapse. The footage was taken by Jean Pennycook from the National Science Foundation and was shared on the Armed with Science blog.

It’s not the Adelie penguins waddling that is interesting to watch. Throughout the film, the ice can be seen ‘breathing’ as the tide rolls in and pushes it up and down.  Over the three months, the ice begins to shift, break away and then finally melt into the sea.

The person behind the project was Jean Pennycook, an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow for the National Science Foundation. She was a school teacher for over 25 years and her website Penguin Science provides resources to school children around the world. This includes lesson plans, call-ins and teaching and learning forums with a focus on penguins and the Antarctic. Throughout her time in the Antarctic, she broadcast daily updates around the penguin colonies and at its peak during breeding season, her website was receiving over a million users a month.

Adelie penguins are a fascinating species. They only live along the fringes of the Antarctic coast, preferring to be close to the water. Along with animals like emperor penguins and snow petrels, they make up some of the most southerly living seabirds. To get technical, they are part of the Pygoscelis family which split more than 38 million years ago into three subspecies. Research suggests there are more almost 4 million breeding pairs of Adelie penguins in 250 colonies. Colonies are decreasing in numbers on the Antarctic peninsula but increasing in East Antarctica. This has led to an increase of over 50% since the last census was completing, suggesting that they are not at risk as a species.

The penguins breed between October and February and build their nests from stones found along the edge of the Antarctic. Both parents take turns to incubate the eggs over a month and once hatched, they stay in the nest for a further month. Within 2 months of being born, the chicks have dropped their juvenile plumage and take off into the sea. They are some of the smallest of penguin species and reach around 50 cms and 5 kg in weight.  They have distinctive black and white marks around their eyes and along their body which gives them the appearance of wearing a tuxedo. They have a red bill, but long head feathers cover most of it. They can swim up to 5 miles per hour. They feed on krill, squid and silverfish, but they are in turn preyed on by orcas, skuas and leopard seals.

Would you like to go and see Adelie penguins? Take a look at our Antarctic cruises, get in touch with one of our Polar experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or contact us here.

We have launched our new brochure. Get it hot off the press

Brochure Cover
We are pleased to announce the publication of new brochure. This beautiful 96 page full colour booklet is packed full of our favourite hotels, country information, tours and maps to give you itchy feet and help with the planning of your next adventure in Latin America. To order you free copy, please get in touch.

Metallica play gig in the Antarctic

Flickr/Saad Faruque

Flickr/Saad Faruque

The ice-strengthened vessel Ortelius is heading south with the rock band Metallica for their first concert on Antarctica. The concert will take place on the 8th December on the Argentinean base Carlini in the South Shetland Islands.

“After 30 years as a band, we have been unbelievably fortunate to visit just about every corner of the earth, except for one,” says the band on their website. “That is all about to change as we are set to travel to Antarctica, the only continent that Metallica has never played until now…We’ll be playing inside a dome on the base and in another twist, the show will be transmitted to the aurdience via headphones with no amplification…a real first for us”.

A contest will take place to decide on which fans will travel to see the gig but will consist of nationals from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico and the cruise will depart from Ushuaia on the 3rd December.  Much preparation is needed to organise the project including  an Environment Impact Assessment in line with the Antarctic Protection Protocol (Madrid Protocol).

Although tickets for this event are not available we can still organise a cruise to the Antarctic on board the same Ortelius vessel between November and March each year.

SEBASTIÃO SALGADO’S GENESIS

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Sebastião Salgado’s Genesis is a photographic exploration of the World’s wilderness areas. The photographer spent eight years spent travelling the earth, 35 countries and countless images later, Genesis, has now arrived in London. The exhibition is at the Natural History Museum, but he began shooting in 2004, documenting rare corners of the world untarnished by modern life. From the prehistoric creatures of the Galapagos Islands, to the sculptured icebergs of Antarctica, Genesis is celebration of the diversity found on planet Earth. Genesis reminds us that humans are responsible for the deterioration of the planet. A subject close to the Brazilian’s heart are threatened tribes, which Salgado spent time living with, and he seeks to highlight their plight. Many of these face persecution by governments, the theft of their lands and resources, or the threat of devastating epidemics.Salgado’s awe-inspiring prints represent natural landscapes and their relation to human life.
Sebastião Salgado: ‘Genesis’ is on 11 April – 8 September 2013, in the Waterhouse Gallery at the Natural History Museum,Cromwell Road, London SW7 www.nhm.ac.uk

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