Robotic gliders launched to investigate penguin island’s ecosystem

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In the next four months, robotic submersible vehicles will swim the frigid waters of South Georgia Island. to gather evidence in determining whether a massive Antarctic iceberg might have harmed the ecosystem there, scientists said on Wednesday.

“Many of these icebergs could still go in and scour large areas of the seabed,” said British Antarctic Survey ecologist Geraint Tarling. “They could become lodged in bays or obstruct routes of penguins out to their feeding grounds.”

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey and Britain’s National Oceanographic Centre said they launched two 1.5 metre-long gliders to study how the freshwater melting off the ice is affecting the seawater in the surrounding area.

Tarling said that A68’s rupture from Antarctica had been a natural process. But mentioned that such bergs were likely to drift away from the continent more frequently amid warmer temperatures.

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