For the Lynch Lab, this field season was particularly exciting. With the highly anticipated release of the Penguin Counters on the horizon, teams of researchers began making their way south and boarded the Akademik Ioffe and the Akademik Vavilov in the Port of Ushuaia, Argentina. The first trip of the year for the penguin counters brought Dr. Lynch herself out of the lab and by the second week of December we were crossing the infamous Drake Passage. Upon reaching the Antarctic Peninsula, the team began their counting, clickers in hand. At the first colony alone the team clicked in over 1,400 penguins! Over the course of the season a total of 85,000 penguins were counted, albeit some were sites were counted more than once.
It was on the second trip of the season that word reached our ships: the Akademik Shokalskiy, another Russian research vessel, was stuck in pack ice on the opposite side of the continent. For a few weeks, as the world watched the Shokalskiy in anticipation, the penguin counters counted on. The team braved the bone-numbing katabatic winds, worked through blizzards, and climbed peaks chasing after chinstraps. Ultimately, it was a successful
Be sure to check out the Multimedia Page on the Lynch Lab website to see highlights from this year’s field season!
Coming soon: videos of a penguin-counter’s eye view.