Dr Antje Steinfurth

PhD (Kiel, Germany)

John Day Building: 2.20

Antje started working on penguins for her Diploma thesis in Argentina in 1999. From that moment until now penguins have become a story with a continuous plot in her life. Following penguin’s footsteps she has been travelling from the equator to the pole, to some of the remotest places on earth.

In the context of species conservation she has been involved in several conservation projects ever since and aims to dedicate her experience and knowledge to establish practical solutions to conservation problems by undertaking original research on fundamental biology relevant to wildlife conservation and environmental management.

From 2003 to 2005 she was based at the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) in the Galápagos Islands to carry out a PhD research project on the marine ecology and conservation of the endangered and endemic Galápagos Penguin. Antje graduated with a PhD from the University of Kiel, Germany in 2007. In the following year, as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Bristol, UK she started working on the temporal and spatial variability in marine habitat use and foraging strategies of African Penguins in the Western Cape, an international and interdisciplinary project in collaboration with the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town, Oceans and Coasts Management of the Department of Environmental Affairs, and BirdLife South Africa. The overall aim of this project has been to identify penguin foraging areas, to monitor and detect reasons for habitat changes, and predict the potential consequences of expanding human activities on the penguin population. Since 2009, under the supervision of Prof. Les Underhill, she continued this study as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the ADU. Based on a close cooperating with the Department of Environmental Affairs in 2011 she became a co-investigator in the South African National Antarctic Programme project "Understanding the drivers of crested penguin population decreases at sub-Antarctic islands" carried out in the Prince Edward Islands and the Tristan Archipelago.

She joined the Percy FitzPatrick Institute in 2013 with her project on the “Ecology and conservation of the Northern Rockhopper penguin in the Tristan da Cunha group”. This study is embedded in the Seabird and Island Conservation research programme of the Institute and constitutes a joint initiative between the Tristan Conservation Department, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the University of Cape Town in collaboration with the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and BirdLife South Africa.

Graduated Students


Kate Robinson: Robben Island African Penguin foraging behaviour, prey availability, diet composition and body condition indices as leading indicators of foraging strategies and population dynamics. (Co-supervisors: Les Underhill, Richard Sherley)

Masters (Coursework: Conservation Biology)

Rukaya Johaadien. 2014 Aspects of the breeding biology of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes moseleyi (Co-supervisor: Peter Ryan)


Jones, C.W., Risi, M.M., Kuntz, W., Ryan, P.G., Steinfurth, A. & Bond, A.L. 2015. Bill deformities in penguins (Spheniscidae): a global review. Marine Ornithology 43: 207-209.

Bergh, M., Altwegg, R., Crawford, R.J.M., Hagen, C., Jarre, A., Sherley, R.B., Steinfurth, A., van der Merwe, L., Wanless, R.M. & Winker, H. 2014. Annex 1: an examination of the island closure related models produced by the MARAM group. MARAM/IWS/DEC14/Peng/A2:1-13.

Hagen, C., Jarre, A., Shannon, L., Sherley, R.B., Steinfurth, A., Crawford, R.J.M., van der Merwe, L., Wanless, R., Oosthuizen, H., Pichegru, L., Robinson, K., Weller, F., McInnes, A., Winker, H., Altwegg, R., Ludynia, K., Waller, L. & Makhado, A.B. 2014. Evaluating the state of knowledge on fishing exclusions around major African Penguin colonies. MARAM/IWS/DEC14/Peng/A1:1-12.

Hutchings, L., Jarre, A., Weller, F.G., Steinfurth, A., Hagen, C., Sherley, R.B. & Wanless, R.M. 2014. Comments on the “River model” (de Moor and Butterworth 2014): Bounding exploitation rate, estimating escapement for critically dependent predators, or understanding the interactions between anchovy and penguin demographics? MARAM/IWS/DEC14/Peng/A7: 1-9.

Sherley, R.B., Steinfurth, A. & Hagen, C. 2014. Responses to MARAM/IWS/DEC14/Peng/B10. MARAM/IWS/DEC14/Peng/A9:1-23.

Sherley, R.B., Steinfurth, A., Hagen, C., Cook, T. & van der Merwe, L. 2014. Responses to preliminary questions from the Annual International Stock Assessment Workshop Panel, 2014. MARAM/IWS/DEC14/Peng/A12:1-18.

Boersma, P.D., Steinfurth, A., Merlen, G., Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G., Vargas, F.H. and Parker P.H. 2013. Galápagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus). In: Garcia Borboroglu, P. and Boermsa, P.D. (eds.), Penguins: Natural History and Conservation. University of Washington Press, Seattle.

Wilson, R.P., Vargas, F.H., Steinfurth, A., Riordan, P. and Macdonald D.W. 2008. What grounds some birds for life? Movement and diving in the sexually dimorphic Galápagos cormorant. Ecol Monogr 78:633-652.

Steinfurth, A., Vargas, F.H., Wilson, R.P., Macdonald, D.W. and Spindler, M. 2008. Space use by foraging Galápagos penguins during chick rearing. Endang Species Res 4:105-112.

Vargas, F.H., Lacy, R.C., Johnson, P.J., Steinfurth, A.., Crawford, R.J.M., Boersma, P.D. and Macdonald, D.W. 2007. Modelling the effect of El Niño on the persistence of small populations: The Galápagos penguin as a case study. Biol Conserv 137:138-148.

Wilson, R.P., Scolaro, A., Quintana, F., Siebert, U., thor Straten, M., Mills, K., Zimmer, I., Liebsch, N., Steinfurth, A., Spindler, G. and Müller, G. 2003. To the bottom of the heart: Clocal movement as an index of cardiac frequency, respiration and digestive evacuation in penguins. Mar Biol 144:813-827.

Wilson, R.P., Simeone, A., Luna-Jorquera, G., Steinfurth, A., Jackson, S. and Fahlman,A. 2003. Pattern of respiration in diving penguins: is the last gasp based on inspired tactics? J Exp Biol 206:1751-1763.

Wilson, R.P., Steinfurth, A., Ropert-Coudert, Y., Kato, A. and Kurita M 2002. Lip-reading in remote subjects: An attempt to quantify and separate ingestion, breathing and vocalisation in free-living animals. Mar Biol 140:17-27.