Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oregon
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oregon Project


Long-term meta-population demographics of Adélie penguins on Ross island, Antarctica

September 2002 - September 2025


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • Office of Polar Programs
  • subcontracted through H.T. Harvey & Associates
Adelie penguins #1

The Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a sea-ice obligate species so ocean habitats in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica are crucial during all stages of the species annual cycle. Changes in wind, temperature, and associated sea ice patterns in some of the more northern regions of the species range in are causing reductions in the size and distribution of Adélie penguin breeding colonies. In collaboration with Point Blue Conservation Science and HT Harvey and Associates, this NSF-funded study is designed to investigate the effects of environmental variation on vital rates and population size for Adélie penguins at 3 colonies within a metapopulation in the Southern Ross Sea. The core of our research is a long-term data set (24th season in 2019) on individually marked, known-age, known-breeding history penguins at these 3 colonies. With these data we can estimate population-level vital rates that produce population change, and attempt to understand the ecological factors that affect these vital rates. The southern Ross Sea has experienced a much smaller human footprint than other regions on the planet, so this project provides a unique and invaluable opportunity to disentangle climate change effects from anthropogenic influences for a species sensitive to predicted environmental changes.

Research Publications Publication Date
Ainley, DG, G. Ballard, and KM Dugger. 2006. Competition among penguins and cetaceans reveals trophic cascades in the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica. Ecology 87:2080-2093. October 2006
Ainley, DG, G Ballard, BJ Karl, and KM Dugger. 2005. Leopard seal predation rates at penguin colonies of different size. Antarctic Science 17:335-340. | Publisher Website October 2005
Ainley, DG, KM Dugger, V Toniolo, and I Gaffney. 2007. Cetacean occurrence patterns in the Amundsen and southern Bellingshausen Seas sector, Southern Ocean. Marine Mammal Science 23:287-305. October 2007
Ballard, G, DG Ainley, KM Dugger, and N Nur. 2010. Foraging strategies of Adélie penguins: adjusting body condition to cope with environmental variability. Marine Ecology Progress Series 405:287-302. October 2010
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, P Lyver, K B, and G Ballard. 2010. Survival differences and the effect of environmental instability on breeding dispersal in an Adélie penguin meta-population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107:12375-12380. June 2010
Dugger, KM, G Ballard, DG Ainley, and K Barton. 2006. Effects of flipper-bands on apparent survival and foraging behavior of Adélie penguins. The Auk 123:858-869. October 2006
Lesroel, A, KM Dugger, G Ballard, and DG Ainley. 2009. Effects of individual quality, reproductive success and environmental variability on survival of a long-lived seabird. Journal of Animal Ecology 78:798-806. October 2009
LaRue, M.A., D.G. Ainley, M.Swanson, K.M. Dugger, P.O'B. Lyver, K.Barton, and G. Ballard. 2013. Climate change winners: receding ice fields facilitate colony expansion and altered dynamics in an Adélie penguin metapopulation. PLoS ONE 8(4):e60568. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060568. April 2013
Dugger, K.M., G. Ballard, D.G. Ainley, P.O'B Lyver, and C. Schine. 2014. Adélie penguins coping with environmental change: results from a natural experiment at the edge of their breeding range. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. October 2014
Whitehead, A.L., P. O'B. Lyver, G. Ballard, K. Barton, B.J. Karl, K. M. Dugger, S. Jennings, A. Lescroel, P.R. Wilson, and D. G. Ainley. 2015. Factors driving Adelie penguin chick size, mass and condition at colonies of different sizes in the Southern Ross Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 523:199-213. January 2015
Jennings, S., A. Varsani, K.M. Dugger, G. Ballard, and D.G. Ainley. 2016. Sex-based differences in Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) chick growth rates. PloS ONE 11(3): e0149090. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0149090. March 2016
Wilson, D. J., P. O’B. Lyver, T. C. Greene, A. L. Whitehead, K. M. Dugger, B. J. Karl, J. R. F. Barringer, R. McGarry, A. M. Pollard, and D. G. Ainley. 2016. Adélie Penguin numbers predict breeding South Polar Skua numbers on Ross Island, Antarctica. Polar Biology early relesase: DOI 10.1007/s00300-016-1980-4 June 2016
Youngflesh, C., S. Jenouvrier, Y.Li, R. Ji, D.G. Ainley, G. Ballard, C. Barbraud, K. Delord, K.M. Dugger, W.R. Fraser, J.T. Hinke, P.O’B. Lyver, S. Olmastroni, S.G. Trivelpiece, W.Z. Trivelpiece, and H.J. Lynch. Importance of environmental variability in phenological match-mismatch: lessons from a circumpolar analysis of the Adélie penguin. Ecology 98(4):940-951. April 2017
Van Doorslaer, K, V. Ruoppolo, A. Schmidt, A. Lescroel, D. Jongsomjit, M. Elrod, S. Kraberger, D. Stainton, K.M. Dugger, G. Ballard, D.G. Ainley, and A. Varsani. 2017. Unique genome organization of non-mammalian papillomaviruses provides insights into the evolution of viral early proteins. Viral Evolution 3(2):1-12. doi: 10.1093/ve/vex027 October 2017
Gremillet, D., A. Lescroel, G. Ballard, K.M. Dugger, M. Massaro, and D.G. Ainley. 2018. Energetic fitness: Field metabolic rates assessed via 3D
accelerometry complement conventional fitness metrics. Functional Ecology 32:1203-1213, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13074.
May 2018
Ainley, D.G., K.M. Dugger, M. La Mesa, G. Ballard, K.J. Barton, S. Jennings, B.J. Karl, A. Lescroël, P.O’B. Lyver, A. Schmidt, P. Wilson. 2018. Post-fledging survival of Adélie penguins at multiple colonies: Chicks raised
on fish do well. Marine Ecology Progress Series 601:239-251. DOI: 10.3354/meps12687
August 2018
Presentations Presentation Date
Ainley, DG, G Ballard, and KM Dugger. 2006. Competition among penguins and cetaceans reveals trophic cascades in the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica. 33rd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Girdwood, AK, February 15-18, 2006. February 2006
Ainley, DG, G Ballard, KM Dugger, and BL Saenz. 2005. Adélie penguin population structure and abrupt environmental change in the Ross Sea. 3rd International Conference on the Oceanography of the Ross Sea Antarctica, Venice Italy, October 10-14, 2005. October 2005
Dugger, KM, Ainley, DG, G Ballard. 2007. Geographic structure of Adélie penguin populations: demography of population change. Corvallis Chapter of the National Audubon Society, Corvallis, OR, April 2007. April 2007
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, M Hester. 2007. Adélie penguin survival rates in the Southern Ross Seas: has survival changed in three decades? 6th International Penguin Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, September 3-7, 2007. September 2007
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, PO’B Lyver, and K Barton. 2010. Age-related variation in survival and movement rates of the Adélie Penguin in response to colony size and breeding status. 7th International Penguin Conference, Boston, MA, USA, Aug 30-Sept. 4th, 2010. August 2010
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, PO’B Lyver, and K Barton. 2010. Plasticity in the natural history patterns of Adélie Penguins: results of a millennial-scale natural experiment. 7th International Penguin Conference, Boston, MA, USA, Aug 30-Sept. 4th, 2010. August 2010
Dugger, KM, G. Ballard, DG Ainley, and KJ Barton. 2006. Effect of flipper-bands on the foraging behavior and survival of Adélie penguins on Ross Island. Oregon Chapter of The Wildlife Society Conference, Agate Beach, OR, February 2006. February 2006
Dugger, KM, G Ballard, DG Ainley, and KJ Barton. 2004. Effect of flipper-bands on the foraging behavior and survival of Adélie penguins on Ross Island. 5th International Penguin Conference, Ushuaia, Argentina, September 6-10, 2004. September 2004
Dugger, KM. 2007. Factors Regulating Population Size & Colony Distribution of Adélie Penguins in the Ross Sea. Oregon State University SMILE program for teachers, Corvallis, OR, August 2007. August 2007
Ballard, G., D. Jongsomjit, S. Veloz, K. M. Dugger, P.O’B. Lyver, and D.G. Ainley. 2016. Are Adélie Penguin Foraging Volumes Determined by Breeding Population Size? 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, PO'B Lyver, and K Barton. 2012. Variation in age-at-1st reproduction & age-related survival of Adélie penguin in relation to colony size, breeding status, & environmental variation. 39th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, February 7-10, Oahu, HI. February 2012
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, PO’B Lyver, and K Barton. 2010. Age-related variation in survival and movement rates of the Adélie Penguin in response to colony size and breeding status. 7th International Penguin Conference, Boston, MA, USA, Aug 30-Sept. 4th, 2010. August 2010
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, PO’B Lyver, and K Barton. 2010. Plasticity in the natural history patterns of Adélie Penguins: results of a millennial-scale natural experiment. 7th International Penguin Conference, Boston, MA, USA, Aug 30-Sept. 4th, 2010. August 2010
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, POB Lyver, and K Barton. 2016. Age-specific survival of Adélie penguins in relation to colony size, reproductive status, and environmental variation. North American Ornithological Conference 2016, Washington D.C., August 16-20, 2016. August 2016
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, POB Lyver, and K Barton. 2016. Breeding propensity, age-specific survival, and age-at-1st reproduction of Adélie penguins in relation to colony size and environmental variation. 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, PO’B. Lyver, K Barton, and G Ballard. 2010. Episodic variation in survival and philopatry of breeding Adélie penguins. Demography Special Session. 1st World Seabird Conference, Victoria, BC, Canada, September 7-11, 2010. September 2010
Jennings, S.F., K.M. Dugger, D.G. Ainley, and G. Ballard. 2012. Effects of parental characteristics and environmental variation on juevenile growth and survival: a case study in Adelie penguin chicks. The Wildlife Society Annual Conference, Portland Oregon, October 13-18, 2012. October 2012
Jennings, S. A. Varsani, K.M. Dugger, G. Ballard, and D.G. Ainley. 2014. Sex-based differences in Adélie Penguin chick growth rates on Ross Island, Antarctica. 2014 Joint Annual Meeting of American Ornithologist's Union, Cooper Ornithological Society, and Society of Canadian Ornithologists, September 22-28, 2014, Estes Park, CO. September 2014
LESCROËL, A. G BALLARD, KM DUGGER, M MASSARO, PO’B LYVER, and DG AINLEY. 2013. Extrinsic and intrinsic factors affecting foraging efficiency in Adélie penguins. XI Biology Symposium of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research. Barcelona, Spain, July 2013 July 2013
Lescroel, A., G. Ballard, K. M. Dugger, D. Gremillet, S. Jennings, P.O’B. Lyver, M. Massaro, A. Pollard, E. Porzig, A. Schmidt, and D.G. Ainley. 2015. Tracking Adélie penguins throughout their lives: how do inter-individual differences in foraging ecology translate into demographic differences? 2015 World Seabird Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, October 26-31, 2015. October 2015
Lescroel, A., G. Ballard, K. M. Dugger, D. Gremillet, S. Jennings, P.O’B. Lyver, M. Massaro, A. Pollard, E. Porzig, A. Schmidt, and D.G. Ainley. 2016. Tracking Adélie penguins throughout their lives: how do inter-individual differences in foraging ecology translate into demographic differences? 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Kappes, P. J., K. M. Dugger, G. Ballard, D. G. Ainley, P.O’B. Lyver, K. J. Barton, A. D. Fraser, and R. A. Massom. 2016. Estimating annual and lifetime reproductive performance of known-age Adélie penguins: An exploration of life history theory. 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Kappes, P. J., K. M. Dugger, G. Ballard, D. G. Ainley, P.O’B. Lyver, K. J. Barton, A. D. Fraser, and R. A. Massom. 2017. Estimating annual and lifetime reproductive performance of known-age Adélie penguins: An exploration of life history theory. 44th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Tacoma, WA, 22-25 February, 2017 February 2017
Kappes, P. J., K. M. Dugger, G.Ballard, D.G. Ainley, P.O’B. Lyver, K.J. Barton, A.D. Fraser, and R.A. Massom. 2015. Estimating annual reproductive performance of known-age Adélie Penguins: An exploration of life history theory. 2015 World Seabird Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, October 26-31, 2015. October 2015
Wilson, D.J., P.O'B. Lyver, T.C. Greene, A.L. Whitehead, K.M. Dugger, B.J. Karl, J.R.F. Barringer, and D.G. Ainley. 2015. An assessment of South Polar Skua numbers in the Ross Sea: predictions based on Adelie penguin colony size. New Zealand Ecological Society, Christchurch, NZ, 16-19 November. November 2015
Schmidt, A. E., G. Ballard, K. M. Dugger, A. Lescroël, P.O’B. Lyver, and D.G. Ainley. 2016. The relationship between nesting habitat, breeding success, and individual quality in Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae). 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Lescroel, A., G. Ballard, K. M. Dugger, D. Gremillet, S. Jennings, P.O’B. Lyver, M. Massaro, A. Pollard, E. Porzig, A. Schmidt, and D.G. Ainley. 2016. Tracking Adélie penguins throughout their lives: how do inter-individual differences in foraging ecology translate into demographic differences? 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Kappes, P. J., K. M. Dugger, G. Ballard, D. G. Ainley, P.O’B. Lyver, K. J. Barton, A. D. Fraser, and R. A. Massom. 2016. Estimating annual and lifetime reproductive performance of known-age Adélie penguins: An exploration of life history theory. 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Ballard, G., D. Jongsomjit, S. Veloz, K. M. Dugger, P.O’B. Lyver, and D.G. Ainley. 2016. Are Adélie Penguin Foraging Volumes Determined by Breeding Population Size? 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Dugger, KM, DG Ainley, G Ballard, POB Lyver, and K Barton. 2016. Breeding propensity, age-specific survival, and age-at-1st reproduction of Adélie penguins in relation to colony size and environmental variation. 9th International Penguin Conference, Cape Town, South Africa, September 5-9, 2016. September 2016
Kappes, P. J., K. M. Dugger, G. Ballard, D. G. Ainley, P.O’B. Lyver, K. J. Barton, A. D. Fraser, and R. A. Massom. 2017. Estimating annual and lifetime reproductive performance of known-age Adélie penguins: An exploration of life history theory. 44th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Tacoma, WA, 22-25 February, 2017 February 2017
Dugger, K.M., D.G. Ainley, G. Ballard, P.O’B. Lyver, and K. Barton. 2017. Breeding propensity & age-at-1st reproduction of Adélie penguins in a multi-colony meta-population. The Joint Meeting of the American Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologist/Société des Ornithologistes du Canada, East Lansing, MI, July 31-August 5, 2017. July 2017
Morandini, V., and K.M. Dugger. 2018. Catastrophic events and impact on populations of long-lived birds. IX Spanish Symposium on Polar Studies. Madrid, Spain, 5-7 September, 2018. September 2018
Stoner, K., A. Lescroël, A. Schmidt, G. Ballard, K.M. Dugger, M. Elrod, and D. Ainley. 2019. INFLUENCE OF BODY CONDITION AND ARRIVAL DATE ON BREEDING SUCCESS OF THE ADÉLIE PENGUIN (PYGOSCELIS ADELIAE). 46th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Kauai, HI, 27 Feb - 2 March, 2019 February 2019
Kappes, P., K.M. Dugger, A. Lescroël, D. Ainley, G. Ballard, and P. O'B. Lyver. 2019. DECOMPOSING AGE-SPECIFIC REPRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE IN A META-POPULATION OF ADÉLIE PENGUINS: COLONY SIZE MATTERS. 46th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Kauai, HI, 27 Feb - 2 March, 2019 February 2019
Morandini, V., K.M. Dugger, G. Ballard, and D.G. Ainley. 2020. SEX-RELATED SURVIVAL, AGE-AT-FIRST BREEDING, AND BREEDING PROPENSITY OF ADÉLIE PENGUINS ON ROSS ISLAND, ANTARCTICA. 47th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Portland, OR, February 12-15, 2020. February 2020
Dugger, K.M. 2020. THE COMPLEXITIES OF SEABIRD DEMOGRAPHICS IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT – ADÉLIE PENGUINS IN THE SOUTHERN ROSS SEA, ANTARCTICA. 47th Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group, Portland, OR, February 12-15, 2020. February 2020
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Jennings, S. 2015. Provisioning, growth and survival of Adelie penguin chicks at Cape Crozier, Ross Island, Antarctica. M.S. thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 116pp. March 2015
Kappes, Peter J. 2019. The influence of alternate life history strategies and natal conditions on the reproductive performance of Adélie penguins breeding on Ross Island, Antarctica. Ph.D. Dissertation, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. 171 pp March 2019