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> Penguin Poop, Niche & Compostion Questions
David Youngblood
post Nov 19 2005, 05:57 AM
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So what is the diet of antarctic penguins? and how do you distinguish between their contribution to the organic matter in the lake and that from other organisms? wink.gif
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Dena_Rosenberger
post Nov 21 2005, 10:08 AM
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QUOTE(David Youngblood @ Nov 19 2005, 05:57 AM)
So what is the diet of antarctic penguins? and how do you distinguish between their contribution to the organic matter in the lake and that from other organisms?  wink.gif
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Penguins only eat fish from the nearby ocean, so they don't use Pony Lake at all, really. Since there is no rain or runoff in Antarctica, the only penguin poop that gets into the lake is blown there by wind. Also, it adds mostly nitrogen, and not too much carbon, and the scientists can track the nitrogen. The reason this lake is of interest to the scientists is that it is the only body of water in the world that has no input of carbon from any organisms except the algae the live in it. There is no surrounding forest, no grass along the edges, no river or stream input, and no higher organisms living in it, like fish. The only carbon taken into the lake is from atmospheric CO2. This is a huge part of the carbon cycle that they want to understand in this small ecosystem so that they can better understand it in the world's aquatic systems.

This lake water will be used as the baseline amount of carbon that would be in a body of water if there is no external input of carbon, and will be available to other scientists through the International Humic Society.
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