Ecologist, Penguin Expert to Speak at the Detroit Zoo Next Month


Polar ecologist and penguin expert Bill Fraser will present his research on Antarctica’s Gentoo penguins next month at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, prior to the opening of the zoo’s Polk Penguin Conservation Center on April 18.

Fraser’s presentation, to be held on April 10 at the zoo’s Ford Education Center, will focus on his four decades of research as head of the Polar Oceans Research Group, which operates out of the U.S. Palmer Research Station in Antarctica.

Patricia Janeway, spokesperson for the Detroit Zoological Society says Fraser’s talk, called “A Natural Experiment Reveals the Secret World of Gentoo Penguins,” will focus on his discoveries about the Antarctic ecosystem and the impacts of climate change.

Fraser says the western Antarctica peninsula is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, and research on penguin life histories has provided a window for understanding the mechanisms through which changes have affected aspects of Antarctic food webs and sea ice.

Bill Fraser

The talk is open to the public, but tickets must be reserved in advanced. Tickets cost $25.

Fraser has served as an adviser on the development of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center. The center will be the new home to the Detroit Zoo’s 83 king, rockhopper, macaroni, and gentoo penguins. It will have a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area where visitors can watch the birds deep-dive.

The Detroit Zoo has also opened an exhibit that recounts the survival story of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose expedition provided inspiration for the facility’s design.

For more information on the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, read DBusiness magazine’s article, “The Ice House Cometh in the May/June 2015 issue.