P... p... picturing penguin populations

Research scientists at the University of Oxford have developed new methods for monitoring the world's endangered seabird populations. Our animation team helped them explain their work and how it helps to paint a bigger picture of ecological change.

This delightful animation, created in collaboration with the University of Oxford's science communication team at Oxford Sparks, focuses on seabirds - and penguins in particular. 

Seabirds are some of the world's most threatened species, but, because they often dwell in hard-to reach places, it can be very difficult for scientists to monitor changes in their behaviour or breeding.


But, a team at University of Oxford has come up with a solution: a large network of remote time-lapse cameras, positioned to overlook seabird colonies. The images from these cameras are collected each year and uploaded to two citizen science projects: Penguin Watch and Seabird Watch, which allows them to evaluate the behaviours.

Oxford Sparks asked us to create an animation that explained not just how seabird surveillance worked, but also why it's important to have the means to collect better data on the seabird population and how we all can get involved in these crucial citizen science projects. 

We created a simple illustrative style, reminiscent of the logs from early arctic explorers. And paired this with a cool colour palette of greys, and light pinks and blues. According to Penguinologist/ Science Communicator, Fiona Jones, "One of the nicest things about this animation is that it tells a story. People have been so impressed with the visuals and have written to me saying how stunning an animation it is. In particular, the style - with the pastel watercolours- and the tone, have both been captured really nicely. We’re aware working on penguins that they’re cute and people like to anthropomorphise them, but actually they’re amazing predators and a really interesting species and the animation made them look lovely but not like cartoons.

"The team at Scriberia make it a really easy and smooth process, and I recommend them to anyone who is looking to use animations."


To get involved, head to Penguin Watch or Seabird Watch. And cick here to explore more from our animation team. 

Contact us below to discover how your information can become more memorable, more shareable and more engaging through animation.

New call-to-action