Dr. Eric Wagner

Field updates: Argentina, April 2024

Thanks to the generous support of Zoo Augsburg in Germany, Dr. Eric Wagner and Katie Holt were able to return to Punta Tombo for a couple of weeks in April. There, they put twenty satellite tags on penguins—ten females and ten males—that were about to start their post-breeding migration. As of today 18 satellite tags are still transmitting to our live tracking map on our website.  This is the third year we have tracked penguins during migration, and already we have learned vital information about sex-specific patterns and behaviors. Females, for example, tend to stay closer to the coast than […]

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Testing Technology with the Woodland Park Zoo

Since 2015, we have deployed automatic weighbridges to track the foraging success of Magellanic penguins at one of their largest breeding colonies – Punta Tombo, Argentina. These weighbridges weigh penguins noninvasively as they leave the nesting area to forage and when they return to feed their chicks. This helps us track whether these penguins are finding enough food for themselves and their chicks. With new fishing effort data made available with satellite technology, we are excited to start working on how fishing and ocean conditions affect penguin foraging.  After all of these years in the harsh Patagonian environment (high winds,

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A fearful scourge to the penguin colonies: Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) predation on living Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) may be more common than assumed

Authors: Dr. Ginger Rebstock and Dr. P Dee BoersmaJournal: Marine Ecology Press SeriesDOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14476 Excerpt from abstract: Southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus) are important consumers that range across the oceans throughout the southern hemisphere […] Here we describe a predation attempt by a trio of southern giant petrels on a molting adult Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) at the large colony at Punta Tombo, Argentina […] We suggest that living penguins—both fledglings and adults—may constitute a more seasonally significant proportion of the giant petrel diet than previously assumed, and their capture may represent a specialized predation technique.

A fearful scourge to the penguin colonies: Southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus) predation on living Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) may be more common than assumed Read More »

Dr. Eric Wagner featured on podcast Raising Kind Humans

Dr. Eric Wagner talked with Katie Doughty, host of the podcast Raising Kind Humans, about parenting, penguins, and protecting the planet. Find the link to the podcast below, or wherever you download your other podcasts. Raising Kind Humans, episode 56 Katie also wrote a couple of children’s books starring penguins. Follow Team Kind Humans on Instagram @katie_doughty

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Changing course: Relocating commercial tanker lanes significantly reduces threat of chronic oiling for a top marine predator

Metadata Authors: Eric L. Wagner, Esteban Frere, P. Dee BoersmaJournal: Marine Pollution BulletinDOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2023.11 Summary Summary written by Sofia Denkovski Argentinian oil and effects on seabirds Surveys from 1982-1990 suggested more than 40,000 penguins died per year in Chubut and Santa Cruz from chronic oiling. This was hypothesized to be due to the colonies’ proximity to oil centers and shipping lanes. Why is oil so bad for birds? Oiled birds lose their ability to thermoregulate and can ingest the toxic oil. Penguins are especially vulnerable due to remote breeding sites and inability to fly. Changes after establishment of 1997 marine

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Field updates: Argentina, April 2023

Photo credit: Eric Wagner Thanks to the generous support of Zoo Augsburg in Germany, Dr. Ginger Rebstock and Dr. Eric Wagner were able to return to Punta Tombo for a couple of weeks in April. There, they put twenty satellite tags on penguins—ten females and ten males—that were about to start their post-breeding migration. From last year’s tagging effort, we know that females hug the coast more than males as they swim north, and pairs do not migrate together. Now we are trying to get a better sense of whether females and males use the same routes consistently from one

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Eric Wagner featured in NOAA webinar

Eric Wagner was featured in a webinar series co-sponsored by NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Feiro Marine Life Center. In this talk, Eric discussed the ongoing research on the rhinoceros auklets of Destruction Island (and beyond), and talked about what these furtive birds can show us about the larger world in which they try to make their living. Watch the webinar on the NOAA website.

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Photo credit: Scott Pearson of WDFW

Resilience to a severe marine heatwave at two Pacific seabird colonies

Authors: Eric L. Wagner, Scott F. Pearson, Thomas P. Good, Peter J. Hodum, Eric R. Buhle, Michael B. SchrimpfJournal: Marine Ecology Progress SeriesDOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14222 A severe marine heat wave (MHW) persisted in the California Current ecosystem from 2014 through 2016… Photo credit: Scott Pearson of WDFW

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Should I stay or should I go: factors influencing mate retention and divorce in a colonial seabird

Authors: Eric L. Wagner, Caroline D. Cappello, P. Dee BoersmaJournal: Animal BehaviourDOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2022.08.002 Divorce among serially monogamous birds can lead to increased reproductive success if an individual obtains a higher-quality mate or nest site, or it can lead to lower reproductive success due to lack of pair experience or reduced breeding opportunities…

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