Past & Present


Dr. Steve Emslie

Principal Investigator

UNCW Department of Biology and Marine Biology


Penguins: Past & Present

Dr. Steve Emslie, marine ornithologist and UNCW professor of biology and marine biology, continues his excursions to the relatively pristine Antarctic in search of active and ancient pygoscelid penguin colonies thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant provides $437,000 over four years beginning in 2015/2016 to help fund Emslie and one graduate student, Ashley McKenzie, for their research and travel. The focus of their studies, current and abandoned penguin colonies, offers insight to the shifting interface between the ocean, shore and ice by using radiocarbon dating to determine exactly when these colonies were formed and abandoned over hundreds to thousands of years. They are also using stable isotope analysis of ancient and modern tissues to investigate past diets compared with those of the present for evidence of major dietary shifts in penguins. This grant was awarded as a collaborative proposal with Dr. Mike Polito, Louisiana State University and former Ph.D. student with Dr. Emslie on a previous NSF grant. You will find links for more information on all this research on our Research page. Enjoy your visit!