TED Talk: Penguins Are Our Ocean Sentinels (Video)
Photo via suneko via Flickr CC
Seabirds are considered ocean sentinels, warning us of everything from the health of fisheries through their feeding habits, to the changes in global temperatures through their migration patterns. But while arctic seabirds are usually eyeballed for clues to marine changes, Dee Boersma says that penguins are the birds to watch. In her talk given on the recent Mission Blue Voyage in the Galapagos, Boersma states that sharing stories of penguin life and culture will reveal important changes that we need to know about.
Syliva Earle's TED wish is to create marine preserves, which are proven to rehabilitate ocean ecosystems, and that includes penguins. Marine preserves have been shown as a vital part of saving African penguins, and penguins, it seems, can help save us.
Penguins, however, are on the decline everywhere. Boersma shows that penguins in the Galapagos have decreased dramatically, and, while some penguin species are still plentiful, globally penguins are dying off. When the marine systems change through global warming, overfishing, pollution and other factors, it is felt everywhere and penguins are giving us the clues we need to have to solve these core problems.
Boersma is part of The Penguin Project, which was recently renamed Penguin Sentinels and is part of The Center for Penguins as Ocean Sentinels. The project was launched April 4, 2009
in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Washington, and works to conserve penguin populations as well as gather up support for repositioning penguins as an important part of conservation science.
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