Antarctic Science

Cambridge Journals Online - CUP Full-Text Page
Antarctic Science (2009), 21:571-578 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2009

Biological Sciences

Penguin population dynamics for the past 8500 years at Gardner Island, Vestfold Hills

Tao Huanga1, Liguang Suna1 c1, Yuhong Wanga1a2, Xiaodong Liua1 and Renbin Zhua1

a1 Institute of Polar Environment, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, P.R. China
a2 National Institute of Health, MD 20892, USA
Article author query
huang t [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
sun l [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
wang y [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
liu x [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
zhu r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


In order to reconstruct past changes in penguin populations we performed geochemical analyses on a penguin ornithogenic sediment core DG4 retrieved from a lake catchment on Gardner Island, Vestfold Hills. P, Se, F, S, As, Sr and Cu in DG4 were identified as the bio-element assemblage by R-clustering analyses on the elemental concentrations and comparisons with those in bedrock and fresh penguin guano. Factor analysis on the levels of these bio-elements in the core permitted a reconstruction of variations in historical penguin populations at Gardner Island spanning the past 8500 years. The penguin population showed significant fluctuations, reaching its highest density between 4700–2400 calibrated years before present. This coincides with evidence for a late Holocene warm period in the Vestfold Hills, similar to that associated with the late Holocene penguin optimum recorded in the Ross Sea and Antarctic Peninsula regions.

(Received February 17 2009)

(Accepted May 20 2009)

(Online publication August 12 2009)

Key wordsAntarctic climate; bio-element; guano; late Holocene; penguin optimum; sedimentation rate