A study published in the latest issue of Conservation Biology examines the effects of humans on Magellanic Penguins and finds no immediate, negative effects of tourism. Although first seeing people is stressful for the penguins, habituation is rapid. The authors monitored the defensive head turns and the level of a hormone secreted in response to stress (plasma corticosterone) of penguins when encountering humans. "Head turns of penguins visited for 10 days were significantly lower than those of penguins visited for 5 days and were not significantly different than for penguins living in the [much frequented] tourist area," the authors explain. However, the authors stress that these results focus on the immediate. The consequences of the penguins changing behavior may not become apparent until later in life.
When approached in their nest, Magellanic Penguins turn their heads back and forth, looking at the approacher with one eye and then both. When stressed, the increase in their hormones facilitates their ability to escape or outlast the situation. As stated, the results show no short-term negative impact of human visits, but long-term effects have not been reported. "These long-term consequences are much harder to document, especially in long-lived animals such as Magellanic Penguins," the authors conclude. "Our data shows that quantifying the consequences of human disturbances on wildlife is rarely simple and straightforward."
Magellanic Penguins nest in coastal colonies along the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans of South America. The penguins in the study live in the largest and most visited colony of Magellanic Penguins at Punta Tombo, Argentina. More than 70,000 people now visit annually.
Jill Yablonski | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
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Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
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