Group organization protects from the cold: emperor penguins
Groups of emperor penguins save energy and protect from the cold during incubation thanks to social huddling.
|Biomimetic Application Ideas|
|Creating sequence algorithm for exposure of heat elements. Siting urban houses and buildings with appropriate insulation characteristics, Reducing heat island effect.|
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How a penguin colony works as a system to allow all penguins a chance to be warm. Artists: Hang Hyun Cho, Chun Ting Tsai
"For Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri), huddling is the key to survival during the Antarctic winter. Penguins in a huddle are packed so tightly that individual movements become impossible, reminiscent of a jamming transition in compacted colloids. It is crucial, however, that the huddle structure is continuously reorganized to give each penguin a chance to spend sufficient time inside the huddle, compared with time spent on the periphery. Here we show that Emperor penguins move collectively in a highly coordinated manner to ensure mobility while at the same time keeping the huddle packed. Every 30–60 seconds, all penguins make small steps that travel as a wave through the entire huddle. Over time, these small movements lead to large-scale reorganization of the huddle. Our data show that the dynamics of penguin huddling is governed by intermittency and approach to kinetic arrest in striking analogy with inert non-equilibrium systems, including soft glasses and colloids." (Zitterbart et al. 2011:e20260)
Aptenodytes forsteri G. R. Gray, 1844
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern
Habitat(s): Marine Coastal/Supratidal, Marine Neritic, Marine Oceanic
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Creating sequence algorithm for exposure of heat elements. Siting urban houses and buildings with appropriate insulation characteristics, Reducing heat island effect.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Urban planning, transportation, heat transfer, energy
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université Louis Pasteur