Random Walk of the Penguins Hosted By DrivenData


About the data

The data for this competition comes from the MAPPPD project and from dedicated penguin counters in the Antarctic. This includes data from peer-reviewed publications, reports, or projects like the Antarctic Site Inventory.

Penguins are counted like this (360 video!):

The counts are made up of raw chick and/or nest counts for sites all around the Antarctic continent for three species: Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adélie penguins. All three species nest on the Western Antarctic Peninsula (south of South America), and in some cases will nest in the same colony. On the Peninsula, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins are restricted to the more northerly regions, while the Adélie penguin is the only species of the three that nests around the entire continent.

Different penguin species have different ecologies...That is to say, how and when they breed differ between species, as well as where and when they eat. They also have slightly different diets, with each species eating various amounts of krill or fish species depending on their location (see Background Materials). The three different species also rely on sea ice in different ways. Finally, the timing of breeding can change from year to year (which would affect the total counts), and is different between the three species.

This competition is a first (of which we are aware) for ecological time series. Due to the nature of the data, we expect this to be challenging, and metrics of success for these exercises in academia are often quite low. If you examine the background material, you will gain some understanding to the nature of the models that currently exist for penguin population dynamics in Antarctica.

Here are some background materials to help you get started

Due to copyright, some of these materials are not open access - it is up to the competitors to gain access to these articles

Lynch et al. 2012 - Ecology
Fraser and Hoffman 2003 - Marine Ecology Progress Series
Bricher et al. 2008 - Polar Biology
Cimino et al. 2013 - Global Change Biology
Ballerini et al. 2009 - Oecologia
Ainley et al. 2007 - Antarctic Science
Arrigo and van Dijken 2003 - Journal of Geophysical Research Ainley et al. 2005 - Antarctic Science
Lynch and LaRue 2014 - The Auk

Some useful sources for covariates you might want to use

Global Change Master Directory
Antarctic and Southern Ocean Data Portal
Australia Antarctic Data Centre
British Antarctic Survey Polar Data Portal
Antarctic Geospace Data Portal
Polar Prediction
Antarctic Data Consortium data sources
National Snow and Ice Data Center

You can learn more here: