Accessed from Wiki Commons and cropped. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License link at bottom of page. Photographed by Samuel Blanc.



     Eudyptes chrysocome interact Copyright Mike Pennington. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License at bottom of page. Rockhopper penguins at the Edinburgh Zoo. with other organisms in several different ways. They hold an intermediate position in the food web. This causes them to be vulnerable when changes are made within the food web above and below them. Southern Rockhopper penguins eat krill which resemble shrimp, squid (Humboldt Squid), crustaceans (King Crab), small octopuses, and fish among other seafood organisms by swimming in the ocean and catching them with their mouth (Dehnhard et al. 2013a). Eudyptes chrysocome must be very productive as a result because they have a limited foraging range (Dehnhard et al. 2013a).

    Humans participate in intensive fisheries around the same areas where Eudyptes chrysocome inhabits. This competitive relationship may produce a serious problem for Southern Rockhopper penguins if humans overfish, causing a shortage in food for the penguins (Dehnhard et al. 2013b). In addition to the issues lying below them in the food web, the Southern Rockhopper penguins have to be wary of marine mammals like petrels and sea lions, which are above them. A “trickle down” effect resulting from top-down changes in food web structures has lead to increased secondary predation. For example, petrels follow sea lions, which have been found to prey on Eudyptes chrysocome, and eat offal (edible internal organs) left over by sea lions (Raya Rey et al. 2012). Photographed by Liam Quinn. Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons License at bottom of page. Rockhopper penguin chick braying at Black-browed albatross chick.

     Aside from interacting with other organisms, Southern Rockhopper penguins have to compete with the environment. The blend of wind direction and wind speed has proved to be a costly influence on foraging success. Prey species tend to be influenced based on the wind conditions, therefore, food could be plentiful one week and scarce the next (Dehnhard et al. 2013a).

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