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 funding over four years beginning in 2022-2023 to help fund Emslie and his students for research on the Adelie Penguin in the Ross Sea region. 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. Chad Lane at UNCW and 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.

Dr. Emslie also designed and teaches an undergraduate class on Antarctica titled 'Antarctic Ecology, Geology, History and Policy' (BIO 367). This class has now been made available to the public with a podcast that provides shortened versions of his lectures. Click on News & Updates above to access the audio viles (mp3) to listen to these lectures.