University Of Tasmania

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Linking Variation in Penguin Responses to Pedestrian Activity for Best Practice Management on Subantarctic Macquarie Island

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 21:03 authored by Holmes, ND, Giese, M, Kriwoken, LK
From 2001–2005, a project was undertaken on subantarctic Macquarie Island to investigate the variation in responses to pedestrian activity by King Aptenodytes patagonicus, Gentoo Pygoscelis papua and Royal Eudyptes schlegeli penguins. The overall aim was to produce management- oriented information both for commercial tourism in the subantarctic and Antarctic, and for Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties. A series of experimental and observational studies were employed to quantify aspects of physiology, behaviour and reproductive success of these three species of subantarctic penguins when exposed to pedestrian activity – the most common form of human activity on Macquarie Island. Key aspects of penguin ecology likely to yield information valuable to management were investigated, including: 1) the efficacy of current minimum approach distance guidelines for visitation to penguins; 2) the effect of visitor group size on penguin responses to pedestrian activity; 3) the role of habituation in penguin responses to pedestrian activity; 4) the phase of breeding / moult during which penguins are most sensitive to pedestrian activity; and 5) comparative responses to human activity between the three species examined. This paper describes key results from these five studies, and the application for management of humanpenguin interactions on Macquarie Island and other subantarctic and Antarctic locations.


Publication title









School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the German Society of Polar Research

Place of publication


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Biodiversity in Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments