Their results, published this month in the journal Scientific Reports, show that there are now more than 750,000 breeding pairs of Adélie penguins in the Danger Islands-more than the rest of Antarctica combined. Once the drone images are available, he said his team can use neural network software to analyze them, pixel by pixel, searching for penguin nests autonomously.
The penguins remained well-hidden until Michael Polito, an assistant professor in the department of oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University went on a trip on a cruise ship and stopped by the Danger Islands, which definitely live up to their name.
At the point when the gathering landed in December 2015, they discovered countless winged animals settling in the rough soil, and promptly began to count up their numbers by hand.
The Danger Islands are always covered with ice and even during the summer, the temperatures on the islands are favoring penguins proliferation.
Scientists didn't know about the birds in large part because of how remote the Danger Islands are, making it hard to try to count whatever birds might be there.
It could also help them understand what is causing other populations to decline when these penguins are thriving. Fishing boats have not endangered the penguins' access to the krill they feed on.
"We thought, 'Wow! If what we're seeing is true, these are going to be some of the largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world, and it's going to be well worth our while sending in an expedition to count them properly".
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A team led by researchers from the US-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported their discovery in the journal Scientific Reports. Finally getting into the Danger Islands and counting the penguins shows how robust populations are where the ice is intact'.
The photos were then stitched together to give a comprehensive picture.
"The water around the island boiled with penguins", said Polito.
Biologists believed that the Adélie penguin population on the Antarctic Peninsula had been slowly declining for the past four decades, but it turns out the little fellas were just better at hiding than anyone imagined.
"Now that we know this tiny island group is so important, it can be considered for further protection", she explained.
Drones have helped scientists find mega colonies of penguins - over 750,000 pairs - in protected areas in the Antarctic Peninsula. The authors note the importance of protecting the area under projected climate change.
"And the sheer scale of what we saw, gasped, said Dr".