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更新時間:2019/4/30 21:08:11 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

An Emperor Penguin Colony in Antarctica Vanishes
南極帝企鵝的危機

The Antarctic’s second-largest colony of emperor penguins collapsed in 2016, with more than 10,000 chicks lost, and the population has not recovered, according to a new study.

一項新研究顯示,南極第二大帝企鵝種群在2016年銳減,超過1萬只企鵝幼崽死亡,其種群數量至今仍未恢復。

Many of the adults relocated nearby, satellite imagery shows, but the fact that emperor penguins are vulnerable in what had been considered the safest part of their range raises serious long-term concerns, said Phil Trathan, the paper’s co-author and head of conservation biology with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England.

衛星圖像顯示,許多成年企鵝移居到了附近地區,但事實是,在被認為是它們活動範圍內最安全的區域,帝企鵝仍然很脆弱,這引發了嚴峻的長期擔憂,這篇論文的合著者、英國劍橋的英國南極調查局(British Antarctic Survey)保護生物學的負責人菲爾•特拉森(Phil Trathan)說。

“That means that these places aren’t as safe as we thought previously,” Dr. Trathan said.

“這意味著這些地方並不像我們之前認為的那麼安全,”特拉森說。

The colony at Halley Bay has all but disappeared, the research team at the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement.

英國南極調查局的研究小組在一份聲明中稱,哈雷灣的棲息地幾乎消失了。

Emperor penguins — the world’s largest — breed and molt on sea ice, chunks of frozen seawater. Awkward on land, they cannot climb icy cliffs and so are vulnerable to warming weather and high winds whipping across the ice. Under the influence of the strongest El Niño in 60 years, September 2015 was a particularly stormy month in the area of Halley Bay in Antarctica, with heavy winds and record-low sea ice.

帝企鵝——世界上最大的企鵝——在大塊被凍住的海冰上繁殖和換毛。它們在陸地上很笨拙,無法攀爬冰崖,因此很容易受到氣候變暖和大風掠過冰面的影響。受60年來最強的厄爾尼諾現象影響,2015年9月是南極洲哈雷灣地區暴風雨特別強的一個月,狂風四起,海冰創下歷史新低。

The penguins generally stayed there from April until December when their chicks fledged, or had grown their feathers, but the storm occurred before the chicks were old enough.

從4月開始,企鵝一般就會在那里待到12月,等它們的幼崽長大一點,或者長出羽毛。但風暴發生時它們還不夠大。

Those conditions, Dr. Trathan said, appeared to have led to the loss of about 14,500 to 25,000 eggs or chicks that first year and the colony has not rebounded. The study called the three-year decline unprecedented: “three years of almost total breeding failure.”

特拉森說,這些情況似乎已經導致大約14500到25000只蛋或雛鳥在第一年就夭折了,它們的種群至今沒有復甦。該研究稱,三年的下降是前所未有的︰“繁殖幾乎完全失敗的三年。”

Still, the population in Halley Bay represents only about 8 percent of the world’s population of emperor penguins, Dr. Trathan said, so the loss does not pose a threat to the future of the species. Roughly 130,000 to 250,000 breeding pairs of emperor penguins live in 54 colonies worldwide, he said.

盡管如此,特拉森說,哈雷灣的企鵝群體只佔世界帝企鵝數量的8%左右,因此,這一損失不會對帝企鵝的未來構成威脅。他說約有13萬到25萬對可繁衍後代的帝企鵝生活在全世界54個棲息地。

British researchers have been studying penguins in the area since 1956 and had never seen a decline of this magnitude, he said.

他說,自1956年以來,英國研究人員一直在研究該地區的企鵝,但從未見過如此大規模的減少。

Other scientists have projected drastic declines in emperor penguin populations by the end of the century, because of climate change. Stephanie Jenouvrier, an associate researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, has predicted a 30 percent worldwide drop in coming decades. Her model did not include significant events like the 2015 stormy season, which will most likely make the situation worse, she said.

其他科學家預測,由于氣候變化,到本世紀末,帝企鵝的數量將急劇下降。馬薩諸塞州伍茲霍爾海洋研究所(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)的副研究員斯蒂芬妮•杰諾威耶(Stephanie Jenouvrier)預測,未來幾十年在全球範圍內將下降30%。她說,她的模型還沒有包括2015年風暴季這樣的重大事件,這很可能會讓情況變得更糟。

Several researchers said they were encouraged by satellite evidence suggesting that many of the animals were able to relocate to a colony called Dawson-Lambton, about 35 miles to the south, which has seen a more than tenfold increase in penguins in the last few years.

一些研究人員表示,衛星證據顯示,許多企鵝能夠遷徙到南方35英里(約合56公里)外的一個名為道森-拉姆頓的棲息地,過去幾年,那里的企鵝數量增加了十倍以上,這讓他們感到鼓舞。

“It is a very huge movement and a huge number of birds that were able to move between two colonies after an extreme event,” Dr. Jenouvrier said. “I think this is very cool to be able to show that.”

“這是一次非常大的遷徙,在一次極端事件之後,還有數量龐大的企鵝能在兩個群落之間移動,”杰諾威耶說,“我認為能夠看到這一點非常酷。”

Heather Lynch, an associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University in New York, viewed that relocation as “extremely hopeful,” a sign that the animals would be able to adapt to climate change at least in the short term. In past models, she said, researchers often assumed the penguins would not find another home.

紐約州立大學石溪分校(Stony Brook University)研究生態學與進化的副教授希瑟•林奇(Heather Lynch)認為,這種遷徙“可能性非常大”,它表明這些動物至少在短期內能夠適應氣候變化。她說,在過去的模型中,研究人員常常假設企鵝無法找到另一個家。

“My hope is that there are refuges that they can move to for at least some period of time and that might buffer some of the most dramatic effects of climate change,” Dr. Lynch said.

“我的希望是,還有一些避難所在至少一段時間內可以讓它們搬過去,這樣或許可以緩沖氣候變化帶來的一些最顯著的影響。”林奇說。

The new study also shows the power of satellite data to track species in the most inaccessible parts of the globe. “At least we have a means to keep an eye on these birds from the world’s more remote places,” she said.

這項新研究還顯示了在地球上最難到達的地區,衛星數據追蹤物種的能力。“至少我們有辦法監視這些來自世界上比較偏遠地方的鳥類,”她說。

Still, the Halley Bay decline in population is troublesome because the drop-off was rapid, rather than a gradual decrease in the face of climate change.

盡管如此,哈雷灣的企鵝數量下降仍然令人擔憂,因為在面對氣候變化時,它的下降速度很快,而不是逐步減少。

“You don’t know how close to the cliff you are until it’s too late,” Dr. Lynch said, “and you can’t assume you’ll be able to walk back from the cliff when you get there.”

“你不會知道自己離懸崖有多近,直到為時已晚,”林奇說,“你也不能想當然地認為當你到走到那里時,還能從懸崖上走回來。”

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