• Acronyme :
  • Référence :
  • Domaine de recherche :
    Sciences du vivant
  • Région :
    Antarctique, Subantarctique
  • Site :
    Site de l’IPHC
  • Responsable du projet :
    Le Bohec Céline

Adaptive strategies and population dynamics of penguins under environmental constraints

Assessing the ongoing and future adaptive capacities of populations to cope with global changes is a major challenge. Relying on multi- and trans-disciplinary expertise, P137 has selected three main animal models (and phylogenetically-related top-predators): king penguins Aptenodytes patagonicus , Adélie penguins Pygoscelis adeliae , and emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri , to investigate the impact of climate on Southern Ocean ecosystems. Our unique database, without the biasing effects of flipper bands, allows us to study two contrasting, but nonexclusive, mechanisms that can explain their population responses to environmental variability (natural and anthropic): (i) phenotypic plasticity responses and (ii) microevolutionary processes. In addition to determine and monitor the flexibility and plasticity of numerous phenotypic traits (morphological, physiological, phenological and behavioural; accounting for sex, age, experience, condition, etc.), we also study the spatial structuration of the colonies according to different constraints (social structure, parasitism, predation, local meteorological conditions, etc., but also phylogenetic constraints). We also aim to evaluate the genetic basis of phenotypic traits and their plasticity, and assess genetic diversity and gene flow between colonies within and between archipelagos to gauge their adaptive capacities. The development of new predictive models of population responses to ecosystem changes (models integrating individual-based models within demographic-selection modelling framework, based on scenarios forecast by the IPCC 2014) will be precious tools for population conservation measures and ecosystem management. As never done before, we also propose to develop cutting edge technological innovations to minimize experimental disturbances and resulting scientific bias, such as mobile Radio Frequency Identification antennas on remote-operated vehicles (ROVers), automatic weighing and camera-tracking systems, or networked implanted micro-loggers. In return, it will open new opportunities for science, bringing new research questions that could not have been addressed without these innovations.