About the Research

The foraging strategy of African Penguin on Robben Island is being investigated with GPS TD Loggers. Here is what they look like:

This research on the African Penguin Spheniscus demersus is part of a multi-disciplinary research team investigating the Benguela current and an ecosystem approach to fisheries.  African Penguin, endemic to southern Africa, became listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red List  in 2010.  Kate Robinson is investigating their foraging strategy on Robben Island for her PhD under the supervision of Professor Les Underhill, Research Associate Rob Crawford (Department of Environmental Affairs), as well as postdocs Antje Steinfurth and Richard Sherley.  The research is supported by a  UCT Marine Research Institute (MA-RE) bursary and with support from Leiden Conservation Foundation. The GPS logger equipment has been provided from Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, Republic of South Africa. Logger deployments were made on African penguins on Robben Island in 2011, 2012, and 2013 to collect foraging trip data during peak breeding periods.  Deployments were timed to coincide with pelagic fish surveys taking place around the island to gain a better understanding of penguin foraging movements and behaviour in relation to pelagic fish densities and distributions over time and space around Robben Island. The research aims to answer questions of how foraging behaviour and effort varies with prey availability at this colony and what links might exist with demographic parameters such as chick condition. The foraging research being currently collected will seek to answer further questions about African Penguin foraging behaviour and the influence of fisheries closure zones around the island.

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