|An African Penguin seen from below at Bristol Zoo.|
The Association of Early Polar Career Scientists (APECS) held a fantastic workshop prior to the start of the conference. It featured tips on public speaking, networking exercises and a review of hot topics in penguin research and conservation. Thanks APECS for helping us prepare for the conference.
There was a wide range of topics from population to behavioural ecology, climate change/research impacts, new technologies and approaches in bio-logging and bio-indicators, and even penguin fossil records. There were many fascinating talks one of the most lively was on 'The Power of Poo - Diet analysis of Adelie penguins from fecal samples' a non-invasive diet sampling method using DNA analysis to identify diet. African Penguin research was well represented with 13 talks and at least 15 posters. With over a 100 posters on a large array of topics, there was an impressive body of work to explore and discuss. An online pdf of all the abstracts is now publicly available and can be found here.
Thought provoking workshops were held in the afternoons. They were: 'Crested Penguins - the next steps', 'The Penguin connection - conversations about conservation', 'Penguin bycatch - which species are affected and how can we reduce incidental penguin mortality in fishing gear?', and 'Creating the tools to identify Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas as Precursors for the creation of marine protection and reserves of relevance to penguins' a data sharing initiative specific to penguin data by BirdLife International coming soon. Their Seabird Tracking Database is already up and running with tracks from mainly albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters. It currently has data from 42 species and over 8900 tracks.
There was a public evening event 'Penguins on Film' hosted by Professor Lloyd Davis from University of Otago. It featured talks by a panel of world leading experts. Frozen Planet director Elizabeth White shared her experiences of traveling down to the Antarctic Peninsula by yacht and the behind the scenes details of how the footage of juvenile Adelie penguins taking their first swim was planned and captured. Professor Peter Barham and Dr. Tilo Bughardt demonstrated some amazing penguin robot cams with some very clever biometrics that could identify people, estimate their age, sex and even facial expressions.
|Emperor penguin cam has a camera in it's eye.|
You can see some of the shots being captured by robots cameras in Penguins- Spy in the Huddle.
|Conference delegates exploring the penguin exhibit answered questions from the public.|
You can help penguins by simply not using plastic bags at the grocery store, or re-using those you already have. Most plastic bags end up at landfils or littering the landscape and far too many end up in our oceans. Another thing that is easy to avoid and can make a big impact is plastic straws. They are one of the most numerous items of litter we find on the beach clean-ups on Robben Island. Caring for our coasts is caring for penguins. Make a penguin promise today.
Thanks to IPC8 for a fantastic and stimulating conference. The next international penguin conference will be in South Africa in 2016! More details of IPC8 and news of international penguin conferences to come can be found on the IPC8 website.