• Acronyme :
  • Référence :
  • Domaine de recherche :
  • Région :
    Antarctique, Subantarctique, Dumont D'Urville, Crozet, Kerguelen
  • 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.