Radiocarbon dates from abandoned penguin colonies in the Antarctic Peninsula region
Sixty-three radiocarbon dates on organic remains from 21 abandoned colonies of chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) and Adélie (P. adeliae) penguins on 12 islands in the Antarctic Peninsula region are evaluated for determining the occupation history of penguins in this region. This record also provides a means for assessing sea-level change, glacial advances and retreats, and population responses by penguins to these events. All conventional dates were corrected for the marine-carbon reservoir effect by applying a ΔR = 700±50 BP and marine calibration curves. The 63 calibrated dates give 2σ ranges (95% confidence intervals) from modern to 5990 yr BP. These dates indicate progressively older occupations from north to south along the Antarctic Peninsula. No sites older than approximately 540 BP occur in the northern peninsula, either because they have not yet been found or older sites have been destroyed by solifluction and glacial scouring. Three dates from one locality near Rothera Point, Adelaide Island, also were calibrated with a ΔR = 750 ± 50 and 800 ± 50 BP. No difference was found between calibrated dates using these two other ΔR values, indicating that local corrections for variation in upwelling intensity may not be necessary.(Received November 28 2000)
(Accepted May 22 2001)
Key Words: abandoned colonies; Adélie penguin; chinstrap penguin; occupation history; radiocarbon dates.