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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Counting Penguins From Space
13 April 2012 4:16 pm
Counting penguins isn't as hard as it might sound. (Hey, hold still!) Someone snaps a photograph of a colony and then marks up the picture to make sure that they aren't missing or double counting anybody. What is hard is getting to remote places, especially Antarctica. So a new approach is to use satellite images, and today researchers report the results of the first such comprehensive study. Scientists have found twice as many emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) as previously thought to exist, roughly 595,000 (plus or minus 81,000). They also came across seven new colonies (one shown at left), bringing the total to 44. To get the new number of birds, they had to enhance the images with a technique called pansharpening, which allowed them to distinguish between shadows, guano, and actual penguins. "This is a leap forward but it doesn't change the conservation concern [about] emperor penguins and many other species," says penguin expert P. Dee Boersma of the University of Washington, Seattle. "Unfortunately with climate warming and variation, we are likely to be studying the decline of emperor penguins. Satellite mapping will allow scientists to determine where the decline are occurring and by how much."
See more ScienceShots.