Scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia found, using satellite technology, the number of emperor penguins in Antarctica is twice than that they have expected, according to the Environment News Service.
The British Antarctic Survey, University of Minnesota/National Science Foundation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Australian Antarctic Division joint together to do the counting from high-resolution satellite mapping technology, the Environment News Service said.
According to the Pioneer Press, the count of the entire emperor penguins population is the first-ever count from space and it provides an indicator for scientists to study the impact of environmental changes on the penguins.
Emperor penguins are not listed as threatened or endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, but scientists say climate change is a threat to them, which breed in remote areas of Antarctica that reach temperatures as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit, the Pioneer Press said. According to the Environment News Service, scientists are concerned that earlier spring warming is making some of the specie's colonies vulnerable since the sea ice habitat is lost in some regions.
Michelle LaRue, a researcher at the University of Minnesota's Polar Geospatial Center, told the Pioneer Press that the number of emperor penguins is easy to monitor using a satellite census because the specie is relatively immobile for months at a time during breeding season. "They're just really cool creatures, LaRue told the Pioneer Press.