Penguins' personalities prepare them to adapt climate change

A new study has revealed that personalities of the Penguins or birds help them to cope with the climate change.

ANI| Updated: Oct 12, 2014, 10:51 AM IST
Penguins' personalities prepare them to adapt climate change

Washington: A new study has revealed that personalities of the Penguins or birds help them to cope with the climate change.

As the global climate continues to change, the ability of many animal species to adapt has always been put to the test. Bird populations might be at particular risk.

According to the Audubon Society, nearly half of all North American bird species are severely threatened by shifts in climate. The threat reaches beyond North America and could have similar effects on global bird populations.

John Cockrem of the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedial Sciences at Massey University in New Zealand suggested that a bird's individual personality might be among the factors that could improve its chances of successfully coping with environmental stressors. The researcher studied differences in the level of the stress hormone corticosterone that native little penguins (Eudyptula minor) secreted when exposed to stressful stimulus.

Cockrem said that there was considerable individual variation in corticosterone responses, and a stimulus that initiates a large response in one bird might initiate a small response in another bird.

Corticosterone responses and behavioural responses to environmental stimuli are together determined by individual characteristics called personality and birds with low corticosterone responses and proactive personalities are likely to be more successful (have greater fitness) in constant or predictable conditions, whilst birds with reactive personalities and high corticosterone responses will be more successful in changing or unpredictable conditions, he further added.

These findings might help in predicting the adaptability of bird species as they face a new normal.