Emperor Penguin Research Paper

In Antarctica it can get as cold as -50°C this is because the sun is aimed at a shallow angle towards Antarctica this means that there is not a lot of sunlight that hits Antarctica, the sun that does hit Antarctica is either reflected off the shiny white ice and the heat energy is sent into space or the heat energy from the sun’s rays is absorbed by water vapour and dust, the sunlights energy is also spread across a large area therefore there is a large surface area to volume ratio.

Emperor penguins have behavioural, physiological and structural adaptations that allow them to adapt to the environment around them. Land means that the Antarctica can reach down to temperatures of -50°C and as high as the Emperor penguins have adapted to this by not needing large features because they are not designed to fly instead the emperor penguins have small solid overlapped features on the outside of their bodies, a fleecy down feathers are concealed underneath the first layer of feathers and underneath the layer of fleecy down is blubber (fat).

The feathers are solid to protect the emperor penguin for the cold and cannot be crushed easily, the feathers are also overlapped to trap air and keep the emperor penguin’s body keeping them warm during the harsh winter. The feathers are also one of the most efficient insulators because they can be moved from the wind and still keeps the air trapped. During the winter when emperor penguin’s gets too cold, they can spread apart their feathers so that they can trap air. Air is a good insulator meaning that if they trap the air between their feathers and their body it will keep the emperor penguin warm.

During the summer when temperature rise as high as-2) the penguins can spread apart their feathers much like when the do during the winter instead this time they are letting the air that was trapped between the emperor penguin’s features and body escape this process cools down the emperor penguin. The fleecy down feathers are hidden underneath the solid feathers, the fleecy down is there to keep the air trapped between the emperor penguin’s features and body keeping the emperor penguin’s warm.

Blubber (fat) is one of the most usual of the adaptions that the emperor penguins have because when the emperor penguins are diving in the water the feathers and fleecy down gets compressed and the air that was trapped escapes the only way for the emperor penguin to stay warm in the water is through blubber. Blubber can keep emperor penguin’s warm down to -2°C (the freezing point of the ocean), this means that while emperor penguins are searching for a meal they can still keep warm in the ocean.

Emperor penguins breed on land because it away from the ocean therefore the baby emperor penguins cannot fall into the ocean when they are not able to survive in the water yet, the mountains are barrier from some of the harsh winds and it is also safer on the ice than in the ocean because there are less predators. Breeding season for emperor penguins is from the start of April and ends in December. The emperor penguins breed on a land of ice 200 km away from the ocean, the emperor penguins breed around the mountains so that they have protection from some of the harsh winds.

During the breeding season the emperor penguins have rotations one parent looks after the egg/chick while the other parent goes to the ocean to feed. Once the egg is born it is passed off to the farther who rolls the egg on top of his feet and under a layer of skin called the brood pouch this is where the egg/chick is kept to protect it from the harsh winds and the cold weather, while this happening Ocean When the Emperor penguins aren’t on land they are swimming in the ocean.

In the ocean the temperatures reach down to -2°C (the point at which the ocean freezes at), one of the ways that the Emperor penguin’s is a layer of blubber (fat). Blubber is a thick layer of fat that protects the emperor penguin’s from freezing while in the water. Emperor penguins have waterproof feathers that are overlapped so that air is trapped between the feathers and so that the emperor penguin can glide through the water easier and faster. The emperor penguin’s flippers are hard and covered in very short feathers.

This allows the emperor penguin to glide through the water, makes chasing their meals and avoiding predators like Leopard seals easier. Emperor penguins have a streamline body this means that it provides less resistance to the flow of water which increases the movement of the emperor penguin and its speed. This is an advantage to the emperor penguin because it means that they can swim faster and have more of a chance catching a meal or getting away from predators. Emperor penguins can dive down to depths of 550 meters and hold their breath for up to 22 minutes.

Diving down to these depths could have risks because at 550 meters down means that there is 55-56 Atmospheric pressure on top of the emperor penguin, this means that the emperor penguin has adapted to survive the pressure. One of the ways that the emperor penguin has adapted to the atmospheric pressure is by having heavy thick bones. Having heavy thick bones means that the emperor penguin’s bones will not be crushed by the pressure, this is an advantage to the emperor penguin because they can dive down further to reach the bigger meals like squid.

This is important because the emperor penguin will get bigger meals that will keep her full in addition to also feed her chick when she returns to land. Emperor penguin’s holding their breath for up to 22 minutes means that they can dive down further down and collect larger meals if they only dive down shallow depths they will only catch small meals like krill and fish, however if they dive down to larger depths then they will get more substantial food like squid which live deeper down in the ocean. Emperor penguin’s reatest danger while swimming in the ocean are Leopard seals and killer whales (orca). Leopard seals usually chase after the injured emperor penguin’s because they have less chance of getting away, Leopard seals can kill and eat up to 15 emperor penguin’s per day while they are in the ocean. To prevent being hunted emperor penguin’s usually swim in groups because there is less chance of being hunted by killer whales, sharks and leopard seals because they aim for the emperor penguin’s that are on their own.

Emperor penguins have their eggs/chicks on land instead of in the ocean. One reason they have their eggs on land is because if they had their eggs in the ocean they would not survive. They would not survive because of many reasons, the first reason is because the emperor penguin is born in an egg form therefore it would sink and would never live, the second reason is because there would be no protection in the water and the egg would not survive along with it would be too cold for the egg to hatch.