Oceanographers have reported a connection between local weather conditions and the weight of Adélie penguin chicks. Penguin chick weight at the time of fledgling, when they leave the nest, is considered an important indicator of food availability, parental care and environmental conditions at a penguin colony. A higher chick mass provides the chick a better likelihood of surviving and propagating future generations. The ability of a penguin species to progress is dependent on the adults' investment in their chicks," said Matthew Oliver, an associate professor of marine science and policy and principal investigator on the project. "Penguins do a remarkable job of finding food for their chicks in the ocean's dynamic environment, so we thought that the type and size distribution of food sources would impact chick weight. It's likely that weather variations are increasing the chicks' thermoregulatory costs; and when they are cold and wet, they have to expend more energy to keep warm.