Applying science to pressing conservation needs for penguins

P. D. Boersma, P. García Borboroglu, N. J. Gownaris, C. A. Bost, A. Chiaradia, S. Ellis, T. Schneider, P. J. Seddon, A. Simeone, P. N. Trathan, L. J. Waller, B. Wienecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


More than half of the world's 18 penguin species are declining. We, the Steering Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Penguin Specialist Group, determined that the penguin species in most critical need of conservation action are African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), Galápagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus), and Yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes). Due to small or rapidly declining populations, these species require immediate scientific collaboration and policy intervention. We also used a pairwise-ranking approach to prioritize research and conservation needs for all penguins. Among the 12 cross-taxa research areas we identified, we ranked quantifying population trends, estimating demographic rates, forecasting environmental patterns of change, and improving the knowledge of fisheries interactions as the highest priorities. The highest ranked conservation needs were to enhance marine spatial planning, improve stakeholder engagement, and develop disaster-management and species-specific action plans. We concurred that, to improve the translation of science into effective conservation for penguins, the scientific community and funding bodies must recognize the importance of and support long-term research; research on and conservation of penguins must expand its focus to include the nonbreeding season and juvenile stage; marine reserves must be designed at ecologically appropriate spatial and temporal scales; and communication between scientists and decision makers must be improved with the help of individual scientists and interdisciplinary working groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • cambio climático
  • centinelas de ecosistemas
  • clasificación por pares
  • climate change
  • comunicación científica
  • ecosystem sentinels
  • hábitat no reproductor
  • knowledge gaps
  • marine spatial planning
  • nonbreeding habitat
  • pairwise ranking
  • planificación marina espacial
  • science communication
  • vacíos de conocimiento

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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