Emperor penguins' breeding population may shrink by up to 80 percent by 2100 as melting sea ice reduces the emperor's once vast reach.
"Our best projections show roughly 500 to 600 breeding pairs remaining by the year 2100," said Stephanie Jenouvrier, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution biologist and lead author of a paper studying the future of the emperor penguin, in a press release.
"Today, the population size is around 3,000 breeding pairs."
Climate scientists and biologists formed an alliance to study the threat to the emperor's frigid domain. Their study focused on a region known as Terre Adélie, where French scientists have observed penguin populations for 50 years. While Terre Adélie's population may be shrinking, other populations have disappeared entirely. For example, the Dion Islets colony no longer exists, according to the researchers.