The species most strongly associated with Antarctica are the emperor (Aptenodytes forsteri) and Adelie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) which have their home on the Antarctic continent, and Macaroni (Eudyptes chrysolophus), gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica) and king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) which prefer a little less harsh environment further north.
Penguins do not fly, but are excellent swimmers and divers. They feed on krill and other small crustaceans but also on fish and squid depending on the penguin species. Dives for prey up to 535 m deep have been recorded for emperor penguins. However, the chinstrap which is the most common penguin species in Antarctica, and the one dominating around the South Orkneys where IMR have their monitoring, catch most of their prey in the upper 10 m.
Chinstrap eggs usually hatch in early January and chicks typically fledge around two months later. During that breeding period, they are particularly vulnerable to food deprival. An aim of the IMR work in the Southern Ocean is to find out to which extent the fishery competes with penguins for the food resources.