A physicist amongst the penguins: decline and conservation
Professor Peter Barham, Emeritus Professor, H H Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol
Side profile of the African penguin

Penguins are a group of highly charismatic aquatic flightless birds. Their natural environment is the open ocean so they often appear ungainly on land. However, that is where they are mostly observed, leading to a somewhat inaccurate perception of their abilities.

This talk will be in two parts. The first will introduce each of the 18 currently recognised species of penguin, indicate where they come from, and highlight some of the characteristics of each to provide an awareness of their diversity.

The second part will concentrate on the African penguin, the species I work with.  The African penguin is probably the most endangered of all penguins and is currently forecast to become functionally extinct by 2035.  I will discuss the various reasons for its dramatic decline from well over a million breeding pairs at the turn of the twentieth century to its current population of fewer than 10,000 breeding pairs. I will describe the efforts that we are making in South Africa to turn around the current 10 per cent per annum decline in numbers and save the penguin from extinction. I will also explain what you can do to help these efforts.

The image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.



Tue 11 Jun 2024


2:30pm - 4:00pm
Bridges Centre, Drybridge Park, Monmouth NP25 5AS
Cherry Lewis

Accessibility at Bridges Centre

Members’ monthly meetings are held at Bridges Community Centre, Drybridge Park. Some group meetings and activities also take place at Bridges. Off street parking is available here outside the building, and disabled parking is adjacent to the building entrance. There are no external steps or slopes, and the entrance doors are automatic. The ground floor is fully accessible and level throughout, and there is space for wheelchairs. There is a lift to the first floor, and accessible toilets on both floors. There is a hearing induction system in the Agincourt room where the monthly meetings are held.

Accessibility at Ty Price

Some group activities and meetings are held at Ty Price, St Thomas Community Hall, St Thomas’s Square. There is no off street parking here. The approach on foot is a gentle slope to double entrance doors. The ground floor of the building is fully accessible and there is a disabled toilet. The stairs to the first floor are wide and well-lit with a handrail on both sides, but there is no lift. There is a hearing induction system on the ground floor.