The 751,527 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins found living on the Danger Islands are more than those on the rest of the Antarctic Peninsula put together.
The study has further implications for conservation, as it suggests that the small cluster of islands could serve as a valuable refuge for the penguin species in the region.
"Until recently, the Danger Islands weren't known to be an important penguin habitat", she said.
The geography of the islands explains how these penguins, whose distinguishing features are the white rims around their eyes, have survived without detection: even in summer, the area is so "socked in with sea ice that it is very hard to get a ship through", Lynch also told the WSJ.
In 2014, Lynch and Matthew Schwaller from NASA discovered guano stains in satellite imagery of the islands.
"To a risky island hard to reach, so people actually tried to do it", - said in an interview with the BBC News team member Dr. Tom HART (Tom Hart) from the University of Oxford, UK.
At the point when the gathering landed in December 2015, they discovered countless winged animals settling in the rough soil, and promptly began to count up their numbers by hand. The drones allowed scientists to survey the island in a grid while taking one picture per second.
The newly-discovered supercolony had managed to go undetected for so long because of the remoteness of the islands and the treacherous waters that surround them, said Heather Lynch, associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University, New York, and lead author of the study.
The Adélie penguins from above. Well, the Danger Islands are fairly remote, even by Antarctica standards. It's believed climate change, including "changes in sea ice extent and concentration as well as changes in air temperature and precipitation patterns and their possible effects on prey availability" are the primary culprits for the decline in Adelie penguins in western Antarctica.
Having the capacity to get a precise include of the feathered creatures this supercolony offers a significant benchmark for future change, also, notes Jenouvrier. It will also help them understand why there are more penguins on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula than the western side. We need to comprehend why. Is it linked to the extended sea ice condition over there?
"Even though the tiny island chain is only about 10 kilometers across, researchers hadn't realized the extent of the pengube.com/embed/EWtvsWSwmrs" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen /iframe in population, says study coauthor Heather Lynch, an ecologist at Stony Brook University in NY.