Py­goscelis adeliae

Popular Science - - FEATURES -

WITH NESTS BUILT ON BAR­REN, CRAGGY GROUND, THE NEWBORNS OF THIS species al­ready get a hard start to life. But ris­ing tem­per­a­tures on the West Antarc­tic Penin­sula have led to more snow­fall and made pud­dles a more com­mon sight, sub­merg­ing or swamp­ing their al­ready ex­posed roosts. Cold, wet nurs­eries can prove fa­tal to chicks that have yet to de­velop wa­ter­proof adult feath­ers—as­sum­ing the eggs don’t freeze in frigid pud­dles be­fore the birds even get the chance to hatch. The re­sult: Pop­u­la­tions in this area are de­creas­ing rapidly, and re­searchers worry what the fu­ture might hold.

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