Cape Royds is a very special place, both historically and ecologically. Discovered by Robert Falcon Scott during the British Antarctic Expedition (1901-1904) and used by Shackleton during the Nimrod Expedition (1908-1909) this bit of land also contains an Adelie Penguin rookery.

We were hunting Panagralaimus davidi, a species of nematode known to inhabit penguin rookeries. We applied for a special permit to enter the rookery to take samples, and were met at the helicopter pad by David Ainley, an expert in these birds. He welcomed us to the rookery and told us where he thought we might have some luck with our sampling.

It was very exciting on two counts: one, we were in a penguin rookery! and two, we were hunting Panagraliamus, a species of nematode that neither Ed nor Breana had ever seen before. Nematodes being microscopic, we have a lot of pictures of penguins, but none of the nematodes.

Adult Adelie penguins with their chicks
Adults and chicks

The rookery is home to several thousand penguins
Cape Royds

Several penguins were eating snow to get water
Penguin eating snow

The penguins aren’t scared of people and this one came close to Ed, Diana, and Breana
Ed, Diana, and Breana

Small icebergs by the rookery
Sea ice

Click on any picture to see more photos of us and our field season!

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