1. The “bottom of the world” is home to the harshest biome on earth. List at least five reasons how Antarctica is severely inhospitable.
2. The March of the Penguins as a title is actually only one third of what the film documents—all told, the males and females will march separately several times before the year is over. Why do they walk instead of run, fly, or swim?
3. The trek of the Emperor Penguin to the breeding grounds could be a long as 70 miles—which presents several questions: a.Why so far away? (wouldn’t it be easier to breed here—near the water’s edge?) b.Why are ”no two trails/routes the same” from trek to trek? c. The film proposed theories as to how the penguins knew where to go and how to get there. Propose your own theory and support it as best you can.
4. Much of the film can seem out of kilter if one does not understand the nature of the Antarctic seasons. Let’s clarify:
Much of the film can seem out of kilter if one does not understand the nature of the Antarctic seasons. Let’s clarify: a.Why does it get colder in March? b. Did you catch the sun’s path from dawn until dusk? How would you describe it?
5. What were the colors streaming across the polar sky in midwinter? The Southern ____________ or Aurora A____________. Auroras are caused by high energy particles from the solar wind that are trapped in the Earth's magnetic field. As these particles spiral back and forth along the magnetic field lines, they come down into the atmosphere near the north and south magnetic poles where the magnetic field lines disappear into the body of the Earth. The delicate colors are caused by energetic electrons colliding with oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. This excites the molecules, and when they decay from the excited states they emit the light that we see in the aurora. Southern aurora from the Space Shuttle Endeavor
6. In terms of breeding relationships, Emperor penguins are typically : a.monogamous b.polygamous c.annually monogamous d. asexual
7. The answer to # 6 presents some harsh realities— decisions and events which precipitate dire consequences. Let’s explore: a.There are more _____ than ____, therefore once the males arrive at the breeding grounds, which gender actually compete (in-fight) for a mate? b.What characterizes this competition ? c.Why would ‘neck stretching’ be a part of it? d.At the start, the couple takes turns foraging for food for their chick but its calorie needs become overwhelming, both parents must make the trek to the water’s edge. Why don’t the chicks simply accompany the parents to the feeding areas to make the whole process simpler? e.Which parent incubates the egg? f.Which parent never witnesses young hatching?
How harsh is the Antarctic winter? here’s an excerpt from www.sciencenews.org… Holding an unhappy penguin can drive even a careful person to take risks. In her first field season in the Antarctic, Barbara Wienecke was struggling to fasten a small radio transmitter to a penguin that was struggling to get away. To finish the job quickly, Wienecke took off her gloves for a few minutes. As she worked frantically, her fingers paled and then "went from something white colored, which still looked a bit like skin, to something rather waxy that looked nothing like skin," she says. The fingers then started to swell, a sign that ice crystals were forming, and soon went numb. "Then, thank God, the bird was ready to go," she says. She'd exposed her hands for only 7 minutes or so, but the temperature hung near –25°C and the wind was up. Although the technique is not ideal, Wienecke dipped her hands into a bucket of seawater scooped from a hole in the ice and waited to see if her fingers would regain feeling. "Initially, there was just nothing, and then suddenly—the only thing I can think of that would give you an idea of the pain was if anybody were to pour boiling oil over your fingers," she says. Wienecke, a biologist at the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston, Australia, still has all her fingers. She also has a profound appreciation for the emperor penguin, the only vertebrate besides people to spend winters on the skirt of solid ice around Antarctica. Note: Wind chill does not affect objects and does not lower the actual temperature. It only describes how a mammal (partic. a human being) would feel in the wind at the ambient temperature.
Emperor Penguin breeding and life cycle – 1 year timeline: January to March:Emperors at sea foraging and feeding. March – early April: Emperor adults return to the colonies. This coincides with formation of the winter sea-ice. Courtship begins. May: Mating occurs. May - early June: Females lay a single egg. May – early June: Following the laying of the egg, females transfer eggs to males. Males incubate eggs, females return to sea to feed. June-July:Males form large groups called “huddles” for warmth July-early August: Chicks hatch – under males’ care. Mid-July-early Aug: Females return and take over the care of chicks – usually within 10 days of hatching. Males head to sea to feed – have fasted since arrival at colony. Chicks start to spend time outside of parents’ incubation pouch. August-November: Adults alternate trips to sea to hunt for the chicks. Chicks form “creches” for warmth, protection. Adults now make simultaneous trips to hunt for the chick. November: Chicks begin to molt. Adults leave colony and return to sea for the summer. The chicks are on their own. December-early Jan:Chicks leave colony for the sea. January-early Feb:Adults molt.
11. Why is the female march in May to early June much more difficult & dangerous than their original march to the breeding grounds in Jan-March? 12. If the female does not return in mid-July to early August (say due falling to an ice crevasse, a fatal injury, inability to cope with the elements, or predator), how many lives are actually claimed? 13. While the males brave the winter (a deadly –80 O C mind you with 100mph winds.) how do they survive? What do they do to ensure each other’s survival?
14. Many organisms can fast for lengthy periods, however no organism can survive too long without water. What do the male penguins drink? 15. When the males huddle for the winter, where do they go to the bathroom—particularly those near the center? 16. Considering the extreme nature of the Antarctic winter, why don’t Emperor penguins breed (mate/nest) in the summer?
17. As the day approaches for the female return, the males begin to exhibit increased movement— why? 18. As the females return—how do the couples find each other? Why?
19. Once the females return and each surviving couple has been reunited, the male must make his trek to the water;’s edge. (Why? to ________). The male pauses to take something in before he goes— what does he do and why?
20. After watching the young and old move about in various environments, propose various functions for their wings: A. Propose a reason as to why they are so small? B. Propose a reason why penguins ought not be designed to fly?
21. Shade this one in…Why are adult penguins colored so? a. Describe anterior: b. Why? c. Describe posterior: d. Why?
22. If a mother loses a chick, what might she do to deal with the loss? 23. What happens when a mother attempts the extreme action in #22? What benefits does this present? 24. Once the male returns, how does he find his chick?
25. In late Aug-Sept both parents return to the sea to hunt for their chicks—why would both parents need to go? 26. How long does it take for the average juvenile (now swimming at the water’s edge) to reach breeding age and start the marching cycle all over again?
A leopard seal feeds on an unsuspecting penguin