Banding on Penguins Not Such a Good Idea Afterall

Climate change can be assessed through using the top predators of the Southern Oceans, the penguins. However, a recent study published on Nature have shown that the use of flipper banding may affect one specific population of King Penguins.

The 10-year study indicates that “banded birds produced 39% fewer chicks and had a survival rate 16% lower than non-banded birds“. This finding from the research team from the University of Strasbourg in France brings to the surface the effect of banding on animals, specifically the penguins in order to collect scientific data.

However, the conclusion on the tagging and bands are by no means clear, according to interview with two penguin experts. One of them, Dee Boersma, at the University of Washington stresses that not all bands are created equal, thus the effect on species may be different with different materials, shapes, sizes of the bands.

The study in the end stresses the importance of reconsidering the data collected of the effects of global warming on marine ecosystems from flipper-bands.

One response to “Banding on Penguins Not Such a Good Idea Afterall

  1. That was really interesting! It had never occurred to me that researchers might be accidentally increasing the mortality of the animals they were studying! I wonder if the results would be any different if they used sub-dermal RFID tags as opposed to exterior fin-bands? It presumably wouldn’t interfere with swimming like flipper bands?