In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated that penguins in Antarctica emit copious amounts of nitrous oxide via their feces. So much so, that the researchers went ”cuckoo” from being surrounded by penguin poop. “Penguin guano produces significantly high levels of nitrous oxide around their colonies. The maximum emissions are about 100 times higher than in a recently fertilized Danish field,” Elberling said in a University of Copenhagen release. He described the experience of being around the colonies as “truly intense.” However, there is something very special about the comings and goings of king penguins. Tremendous amounts of nitrous oxide, better known as laughing gas, are released via their guano, according to a 2019 study completed by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and their colleagues.“Penguin guano produces significantly high levels of nitrous oxide around their colonies. The maximum emissions are about 100 times higher than in a recently fertilised Danish field. It is truly intense — not least because nitrous oxide is 300 times more polluting than CO2,” explains Professor Bo Elberling, of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. When these penguins poop, fueled by a diet of fish, squid and krill, nitrogen is released from their feces into the ground. The bacteria in the soil then converts the nitrogen into nitrous oxide — a greenhouse gas commonly known as laughing gas.“It is clear to us that the level of nitrous oxide is very high in places where there are penguins — and thereby guano — and vice versa, lower in places where there is none,” Elberling said in a statement.There are some climate concerns, too.On their own, these droppings and their emissions aren’t enough to impact Earth’s overall energy budget, Elberling said. But the research does show how penguins influence their environments, which is especially significant as the colonies grow.“A future expansion of penguins into newly available ice-free polar coastal areas may therefore markedly increase the local (greenhouse gas) budget,” the study says. Further research may also develop a deeper understanding of how the droppings affect the Earth and its atmosphere, which could help the fight against greenhouse gases, Elberling said.