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Penguins from space - satellite images of penguin poo

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posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 07:29 PM

Emperor penguins are the only penguin species that breed on sea ice; and while ice formed on land may be discoloured by impurities such as moraine, sea ice is formed only from sea water and contains no such impurities. The black and white colouring of the emperor penguins makes them blend into the shadows on white sea ice, so they can be practically invisible in low resolution satellite images. However, these satellite images can detect the guano (faeces) of large groups of penguins, which stains the sea ice light brown.


What a novel way to track emperor penguin population!

You can view the area in Google Earth at -75.525617°,-27.189613°. I've looked around in this area, but since I'm not real familiar with penguin droppings I couldn't identify any other potential poop stains.

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