Photo: Emperor penguin chick's first journey to sea

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credit: Vincent Munier

Our photo of the day comes from Terre Adélie, Antarctica.

Usually our photo of the day comes from readers' photos submitted to our Flickr pool. But this morning I stumbled across a study looking at the diving and foraging behaviors of young Emperor penguins. And, well, this photo just had to be shared!

The study comes from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and follows a group of chicks as they learn the rough ropes of their habitat, one of the world's most inhospitable places. "Childhood in this environment is harsh and lasts only about five months, when their formerly doting parents leave the fledglings to fend for themselves," write the authors.

"When the chicks first go in the water, they are very awkward and unsure of themselves," notes Sara Labrousse, a postdoctoral investigator at WHOI and lead author of the paper. "They are not the fast and graceful swimmers their parents are." Maybe so, but they sure are cute.

You can read more about the research here.

Would you like to see your nature photo featured as the TreeHugger photo of the day? Join TreeHugger’s Reader Photo Pool on Flickr and add your pictures to the group.

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