Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 4, pp 811–825 | Cite as

Comparison of diving behavior and foraging habitat use between chinstrap and gentoo penguins breeding in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

  • Nobuo KokubunEmail author
  • Akinori Takahashi
  • Yoshihisa Mori
  • Shinichi Watanabe
  • Hyoung-Chul Shin
Original Paper


Chinstrap, Pygoscelis antarctica, and gentoo, P. papua, penguins are sympatric species that inhabit the Antarctic Peninsula. To evaluate differences in the foraging habitat of these two species, we recorded their foraging locations and diving behavior using recently developed GPS-depth data loggers. The study was conducted on King George Island, Antarctica during the chick-guarding period of both species, from December 2006 to January 2007. The area used for foraging, estimated as the 95% kernel density of dive (>5 m) locations, overlapped partially between the two species (26.4 and 68.5% of the area overlapped for chinstrap and gentoo penguins, respectively). However, the core foraging area, estimated as the 50% kernel density, was mostly separate (12.8 and 25.0% of the area overlapped for chinstrap and gentoo penguins, respectively). Chinstrap penguins tended to use off-shelf (water depth > 200 m) regions (77% of the locations for dives >5 m), whereas gentoo penguins mainly used on-shelf (water depth < 200 m) areas (71% of dive locations). The data on foraging locations, diving behavior, and bathymetry indicated that gentoo penguins often performed benthic dives (28% of dives >5 m), whereas chinstrap penguins almost always used the epipelagic/mid-water layer (96% of dives >5 m). Diving parameters such as diving bottom duration or diving efficiency differed between the species, reflecting differences in the use of foraging habitat. The diving parameters also suggested that the on-shelf benthic layer was profitable foraging habitat for gentoo penguins. Conversely, the relationship between trip duration, date, and stomach content mass suggested that the chinstrap penguins went further from the colony to forage as the season progressed, possibly reflecting a reduction in prey availability near the colony. Our results suggest that chinstrap and gentoo penguins segregated their foraging habitat in the Antarctic coastal marine environment, possibly due to inter- and intra-specific competition for common prey resources.


Generalize Linear Mixed Model South Shetland Island Antarctic Krill Gentoo Penguin Trip Duration 
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We would like to thank all the members of the King Sejong Station, Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), especially Dr. M-Y. Choe and Dr. S-H. Lee, for logistic support in the field. We are also grateful to Dr. K. Shimatani for help with data analyses, Dr. N. Yamaguchi for statistical advice with R software and Dr. T. Iwami for help identifying fish species. Anonymous reviewers provided numerous suggestions and comments that help improve the manuscript greatly. This work was conducted as an international joint research project, under the auspices of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition and the Korea Antarctic Research Program. This study was partially supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Research Fellowship for Young Scientists to NK and a JSPS research grant (20310016) to AT. SW was supported by the program “Bio-logging Science, The University of Tokyo (UTBLS)” led by Dr. N. Miyazaki. A research grant (PM06010) from Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries provided partial support for the logistics of this expedition. The Ministry of the Environment, Japan, issued the permits required to conduct this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nobuo Kokubun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Akinori Takahashi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yoshihisa Mori
    • 3
  • Shinichi Watanabe
    • 4
  • Hyoung-Chul Shin
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Polar ScienceThe Graduate University for Advanced StudiesTachikawa, TokyoJapan
  2. 2.National Institute of Polar ResearchTachikawa, TokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Animal ScienceTeikyo University of Technology and ScienceYamanashiJapan
  4. 4.Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  5. 5.Korea Polar Research InstituteIncheonKorea

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