The population dynamics of the Cape Royds rookery were modelled by computer, in order to determine the probable causes of the dramatic increase since 1980 in the numbers of Adelie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae, breeding in the Ross Sea region, Antarctica. Variations in the extent of sea-ice around the rookery during incubation and chick rearing cannot feasibly explain the population increase and another factor or event must be introduced, which increases chick production per breeding pair and decreases adult mortality.
The numbers of Adelie penguins Pygoscelis adeliae (Hombron and Jacquinot) in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, have increased markedly over the past 10 years. Proportionally, this increase is most pronounced in McMurdo Sound, where the species' breeding range has recently been extended 3 km south to Cape Barne (77- degrees-35'S) with the re-occupation of a former rookery that was abandoned sometime before the present century. These biological trends show remarkable synchronisation with physical evidence of climatic variation in the McMurdo Sound region.
Polynesian settlement of New Zealand (c. 1000 yr B.P.) led directly to the extinction or reduction of much of the vertebrate fauna, destruction of half of the lowland and montane forests, and widespread soil erosion. The climate and natural vegetation changed over the same time but had negligible effects on the fauna compared with the impact of settlement. The most severe modification occurred between 750 and 500 years ago, when a rapidly increasing human population, over-exploited animal populations and used fire to clear the land.