Life in the Freezer - The Ice Retreats Worksheet by jamesdauray


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                                  BBC Life in the Freezer
                                           Part 2 – The Ice Retreats
As Antarctica enters its spring season, the thick layer of sea ice that completely encircles the continent gradually begins
to melt and retreat. This affords an opportunity for the animals to find bare land upon which to mate and breed. This
episode examines multiple examples of breeding and migratory strategies based completely on this need for bare land.

South Georgia Island
    1. What are elephant seal beachmasters?

    2. What is the relationship between the size of the male elephant seal and the roar it makes?

    3. Male elephant seals will fight each other for dominance over a particular stretch of beach. The
       victorious males will control harems of females they mate with. What is the purpose of breeding in this
       way? In other words, why would the females consider the beachmasters to be good mates?

    4. Explain how black-browed and grey-headed albatross practice teamwork in raising their eggs.

    5. Light-mantled sooty albatross have distinct, complex mating rituals. Describe what you see.

    6. Describe two adaptations that petrels and prions have that help them avoid larger predators.

    7. What is the single biggest limiting factor faced by the Macaroni penguins as they nest and breed?

    8. Macaroni penguins will often choose and raise only one of the two eggs they lay. Hypothesize a
       possible explanation for this behavior. Your hypothesis should be consistent with the theory of natural

Biology Teaching Resources                                                      Page 1
Antarctic Peninsula
  9. The Antarctic Peninsula is the first part of the continent that is exposed as the sea ice retreats in the
     spring. Circle its location on the map below.

  10. Gentoo penguins are found in both South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. List some of the
      unique nesting behaviors exhibited by these penguins in the more Antarctic Peninsula.

  11. The Antarctic Peninsula is a much harsher breeding environment for the Gentoo penguins than South
      Georgia Island. Why then, would a population want to breed here at all?

  12. What do crabeater seals eat?

  13. What feat do Adeile Penguins accomplish in order to find breeding grounds?

  14. What are nunataks?

  15. Snow petrels travel so far inland that they have no access at all to liquid water. Give an example of how
      they use snow in place of it.

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