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These penguins live near the coast of Antarctica.
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A Perfect Place for Penguins!
News story originally written on October 10, 2003

Scientists have been studying special places of the chilly ocean near Antarctica. They found that these places are favorite spots for thousands of penguins!

Much of the ocean near Antarctica is covered with ice, but these special areas are not. That's what makes them special! Without a cover of ice, sunlight can hit the ocean water. This causes tiny floating algae called phytoplankton to grow and reproduce.

A tiny, shrimp-like animal called krill eats the phytoplankton. Since there is so much phytoplankton, the little krill munch away and reproduce until there are tons of them. Penguins like to eat the krill. So, where there are many krill, there are also many penguins!

These special places in the ocean are impossible to see from ships because they are surrounded by ice. So, to study them, scientists used two satellites. The satellites looked at the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean water. Where they found lots of phytoplankton, krill and penguins were living there too!

Last modified December 2, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA