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07.09.2020. LoReTT_CosmoNews. Discovering new penguin colonies from space

Satellite images have revealed that there are nearly 20% more emperor penguincolonies in Antarctica than previously thought. Scientists, at the British Antarctic Survey,have used satellite data from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission to track penguin guano,or penguin poo, to monitor the presence of thousands of penguins.

 The findings, published in Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation (, reveal 11 new colonies, three of which were previously identified but never confirmed. This discovery takes the global census to 61 colonies around the entire continent.

Pic. 1 Locations of penguin colonies

 The study found a number of colonies 180 km offshore, situated on sea ice that has formed around icebergs that had grounded in shallow water. These colonies are a surprising new finding in the behaviour of this increasingly well-known species. 

Pic.2 New colony, Cape Gates, Antarctica

Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission designed specifically to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Commission’s Copernicus programme. Satellites, such as the Sentinel-2 mission, provide us with a global coverage, revisiting the same region every few days. The data provide a good understanding of the health and behaviour of our planet – and how it is continuously affected by climate change.