Project Information
A Multi-scale Approach to Understanding Spatial and Population Variability in Emperor Penguins
Short Title:
Emperor penguin trends
Start Date:
End Date:
This project on emperor penguin populations will quantify penguin presence/absence, and colony size and trajectory, across the entire Antarctic continent using high-resolution satellite imagery. For a subset of the colonies, population estimates derived from high-resolution satellite images will be compared with those determined by aerial surveys - these results have been uploaded to MAPPPD ( and are freely available for use. This validated information will be used to determine population estimates for all emperor penguin colonies through iterations of supervised classification and maximum likelihood calculations on the high-resolution imagery. The effect of spatial, geophysical, and environmental variables on population size and decadal-scale trends will be assessed using generalized linear models. This research will result in a first ever empirical result for emperor penguin population trends and habitat suitability, and will leverage currently-funded NSF infrastructure and hosting sites to publish results in near-real time to the public.
Person Role
LaRue, Michelle Investigator and contact
Ito, Emi Co-Investigator
Jenouvrier, Stephanie Co-Investigator
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 1744989
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Award # 1744794
AMD - DIF Record(s)
Deployment Type
B343M airborne survey
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
  1. Trathan, P. N., Wienecke, B., Barbraud, C., Jenouvrier, S., Kooyman, G., Le Bohec, C.,Fretwell, P. T. (2020). The emperor penguin - Vulnerable to projected rates of warming and sea ice loss. Biological Conservation, 241, 108216. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108216)
  2. Labrousse, S., Fraser, A. D., Sumner, M., Tamura, T., Pinaud, D., Wienecke, B., … Jenouvrier, S. (2019). Dynamic Fine‐Scale Sea Icescape Shapes Adult Emperor Penguin Foraging Habitat in East Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(20), 11206–11218. (doi:10.1029/2019gl084347)
  3. Jenouvrier S., Iles D., Labrousse S., Landrum L., Garnier J., Caswell H., Barbraud C., Weimerskirch H., LaRue M., Ji R., Holland M. (2020). The Paris Agreement objectives might halt future declines of emperor penguins. Global Change Biology, 26: 1170-1184 (doi:10.1111/gcb.14864)
  4. Labrousse S., Fraser A., Sumner M., Le Manach F., Sauser C., Horstmann I., Devane E., Delord K., Jenouvrier S., † and Christophe B†. (2021). Landfast ice: a major driver of reproductive success in a polar seabird. Biology Letter, 7: 20210097 (doi:10.1098/rsbl.2021.0097)
  5. Jenouvrier S., Long M., Coste C.F.D, Holland M., Gamelon M., Yoccoz N.G., Sæther B-E. Detecting climate signals in populations across life histories. Global Change Biology. (doi:10.1111/gcb.16041)
  6. Jenouvrier S., Che-Castaldo J., Wolf S., Holland M., Labrousse S., LaRue M., Wienecke B., Fretwell P., Barbraud C., Greenwald N., Stroeve J., Trathan P.N. 2021. The call of the emperor penguin: legal responses to species threatened by climate change. Global Change Biology, 27: 5008-5029. (doi:10.1111/gcb.15806.)
  7. Pacoureau N., Delord. K, Jenouvrier S. and Barbraud C. 2019. Demographic and population responses of an apex predator to climate and its prey: a long‐term study of south polar skuas. Ecological Monographs, 89: e01388. (doi:10.1002/ecm.1388)
  8. LaRue, M., Iles, D., Labrousse, S., Fretwell, P., Ortega, D., Devane, E., Horstmann, I., Viollat, L., Foster-Dyer, R., Le Bohec, C., Zitterbart, D., Houstin, A., Richter, S., Winterl, A., Wienecke, B., Salas, L., Nixon, M., Barbraud, C., Kooyman, G., … Jenouvrier, S. (2024). Advances in remote sensing of emperor penguins: first multi-year time series documenting trends in the global population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 291(2018). (doi:10.1098/rspb.2023.2067)

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