Spend Your Friday Penguin Counting (Perhaps Saturday Too)

No one wants to be at work on a Friday. But today, instead of spending all your precious procrastination time on Facebook or Twitter, spend it looking at penguins.

The Penguin Post has learned that It’s pretty simple: In Antarctica, remote cameras (shown above) are monitoring more than 30 colonies of penguins — populations that are in decline because of climate change. It’s more practical to leave recording devices there than it is to drop researchers long-term, given how distant and inhospitable the area is.

Researchers at Oxford University now have over 200,000 photos to sort through, and counting. That’s where you come in: When you log on to Penguin Watch, you’ll be presented with random photos from the collection.

All you have to do is properly tag the adult penguins, baby penguins, eggs, and any other animals in the frame. By helping the researchers turn penguins into data points, you’ll help them analyze how many penguins there are —  and how their colonies are organized.


Where do they keep the eggs? Do young penguins hang out with old penguins? What happens when mating season comes around? Is that a rock, or a potential penguin predator? Scientists want to know, but first they’ve got to analyze a couple hundred thousand photos.

Eventually, all of this human input can be used to create a computer algorithm to do the job more quickly. But for now, get clicking. And don’t worry about mistakes —  multiple people tag each photo, so someone else can make up for your penguin-tagging oversights.


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