A new study of declining penguin populations shows a strong correlation between penguin numbers and krill availability. Krill availability is affected by reduced sea ice conditions in Antarctica due to global warming and climate change.
"For penguins and other species, krill is the linchpin in the food web. Regardless of their environmental preferences, we see a connection between climate change and penguin populations through the loss of habitat for their main food source," said Dr. Wayne Trivelpiece, lead author and seabird researcher of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division. "As warming continues, the loss of krill will have a profound effect throughout the Antarctic ecosystem."
Related: On the brink: Penguins face an uncertain climate future (Oct 2010)