New paper published in the African Journal of Marine Science

18 Jun 2021 - 11:45

MSc student Farisayi Dakwa recently published a paper on the diet of two Vulnerable penguin species; Macaroni (Eudyptes chrysolophus) and Eastern Rockhopper (Eudyptes filholi) penguins that breed at sub-Antarctic Marion Island. Populations of both species decreased over the last two decades, and his study assesses whether these decreases might be related to changes in their diet. Both penguin species rely largely on krill species (Thysanoessa vicina and Euphusia vallentini), but Macaroni Penguins tended to eat more lantern fish (Protomyctophum tenisoni and Krefftichthys anderssoni) than Rockhopper Penguins. Despite annual variations in prey contributions to their diets, the two penguins maintained similar diets with no significant long-term changes in diet from 1994 to 2018. This finding suggests that the substantial dietary overlap might result in competition for food between these two sympatric species while breeding at Marion Island, exacerbating the impacts of climate change on these populations. 

Read the full paper: Dakwa FE, Ryan PG, Dyer BM, Crawford RJM, Pistorius PA, Makhado AB. Long-term variation in the breeding diets of macaroni and eastern rockhopper penguins at Marion Island (1994–2018). African Journal of Marine Science. 2021; 43:1-13.

Photo Credit: Dineo Mogashoa