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ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE LEARNING GUIDE TO MARCH OF THE PENGUINS

1.  Click here for Standard Questions Suitable for Any Film No Suggested Responses.

2.  How do social interactions benefit Emperor Penguins? Suggested Response: See Helpful Background Section.

3.  How do Emperor Penguin colonies survive with such a substantial loss of chicks and adults when each couple has only one egg each year? Suggested Response: The life span of the average Emperor Penguin adult is about 19 years. They can breed for 14 or 15 years. 19% of chicks survive beyond the first year. A rough calculation shows how these statistics are consistent with a relatively stable population: 14 (reproductive years) X .19 (survival rate for chicks to one year) X .5 (for two penguins required for one egg) = 1.33 chicks who reach adulthood per penguin. This number does not take into account lost and frozen eggs or chicks that die after the first year but before they begin to reproduce, so it is too high. That is probably the extra .33.

4.  In the summer, Emperor Penguins live and feed in antarctic ocean waters. In the antarctic fall, March and April, they go onto the pack ice to pair up and to breed. The mother lays the egg which the father (still at the breeding ground on the pack ice) incubates in a special insulated pouch. This takes most of the arctic winter. Penguins eat fish and other animals found in the ocean. There is no food for them on the pack ice. After the mother lays the egg, she returns to the ocean to feed. When the egg hatches the mother travels back over the pack ice to feed the chick with food regurgitated from her stomach. By that time, the father will have been without food for about four months. The mother then takes responsibility for the chick while the starving father returns to the sea. He comes back to the breeding ground with a stomach full of food for the chick. The parents then take turns going back and forth with one babysitting and feeding the chick on the pack ice while the other goes to the ocean to get food for him or herself and the chick. This continues until the summer (December or January) when the chick is old enough to fend for itself. Certainly, the ocean and the pack ice are different biomes. Do Emperor Penguins engage in classic biome migration? (For a shorter version, just ask the question: Do Emperor Penguins engage in classic biome migration?) Suggested Response: No. Emperor Penguins do not breed and hatch their eggs during the spring and summer in which they take advantage of the food provided by the explosion of life that occurs when temperatures in cold climates become warmer. They reproduce in the fall and winter in some of the harshest conditions on earth. For a description of classic biome migration, see, generally, Lesson Plan on Migration, Nomadism, and Dormancy.

Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:

CARING FOR ANIMALS

1.  How can we best show our respect for Emperor Penguins? Suggested Response: Leave them alone and make sure that our actions impact their habitat as little as possible.

2.  What would be lost if a species such as the Emperor Penguin became extinct? Suggested Response: A unique and beautiful part of creation and an important part of the antarctic ecosystem would be lost forever. Emperor Penguins eat fish, crustaceans, octopi and squid. They are eaten by larger animals such as Leopard Seals and Orca whales. Chicks are also eaten by predatory birds.


Last updated January 21, 2008.




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