The Adelie penguin is one of the most well studied breeds of penguins found in the Antarctic and Subantarctic region, particularly in the area of breeding (Stonehouse 1975). This migratory species (as mentioned before) breeds in vastly large colonies (Stonehouse 1975), the most northerly of which is found at Cape Royds (Taylor 1962).
Diving sea birds, such as the Adélie penguin, are key species of oceanic ecosystems, they put pressure on their local ecosystems in demand for nutrients stemming from their; high abundance, high metabolic rates and their expansive distribution (Chappell et al. 1993). This and the high species number of Adélie penguins found at breeding grounds makes them an ideal study species (Chappell et al. 1993).
This species of penguin primarily nest on beaches raised by the isostatic shift prior to deglaciation. Colonies congregate when sea ice opens in the early spring, colonies are large with tens of thousands up to populations of several million reported on the islands of the Scotia Arc (penguin biology). Adelie Penguins will spend the winter in the pack ice, following which they will return to their breeding grounds in October (often this will occur before the spring thaw has begun). They will lay two eggs in the nests they have built with pebbles. The chicks will be incubated over the cold of early spring and reared throughout the brief period of summer until their release at which point the juveniles will be fully feathered (penguin biology).