Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Grizzlies set to invade high Arctic?

09.03.2005


The telltale paw prints with huge 10 centimetre-long nails spoke volumes. But now definitive corroborating DNA evidence seals the case of the most northerly sighting of a grizzly bear. The discovery fuels mounting evidence that Canada’s High Arctic is no longer the sole preserve of the polar bear – Nanuk is having to make room for its southern cousin.



The evidence of the barren ground grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) was discovered on Melville Island, an uninhabited part of the western Arctic archipelago 1,500 kilometres due north of Yellowknife, and 1,000 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. "We know grizzlies go out on the sea ice to hunt seals, but no one has ever seen one that far north," says Dr. John England a geology professor and the NSERC Northern Chair at the University of Alberta.

Dr. England got his first glimpse of the surprising Melville Island grizzly bear from the air during a helicopter ride to a geology research site in 2003. He photographed mid-distance shots of the large bear with characteristic grizzly features including a prominent shoulder hump, dark brown hair on and around the rear legs, and faded (grizzled) hair on the rest of the body.


Then in the summer of 2004, Dr. England’s research group found physical proof that a grizzly bear was indeed calling Melville Island home. Near a cabin used by researchers for temporary stop-overs, they found grizzly bear paw prints in the mud. And from the cabin’s outside walls and a guy wire attached to the roof they collected two intriguing brown hairs. These were sent for analysis to Wildlife Genetics International Inc. in Nelson, British Columbia, one of the world’s premier bear DNA labs. The result: the genetic analysis pointed to a male barren ground grizzly bear, rather than a Viscount Melville polar bear, the variety known to inhabit the Melville Island area.

During the past 15 years there have been more and more sightings for barren-ground grizzlies on the sea ice in the Arctic from the Beaufort Sea to Hudson Bay. They’re also known to be able to survive the winter and den on Victoria Island, the island separated from Melville to the north by Viscount Melville Sound.

The geologists, now bitten with the grizzly bear research, emphasize that they are not wildlife biology experts. Nonetheless, they say the discovery of a grizzly bear on Melville Island raises numerous issues. Could grizzlies move east to one day take up home on Ellesmere Island, in the heart of polar bear country? Could polar bears in the wild interbreed with brown bears, their evolutionary close cousins, as has occurred at least once in captivity? What impact will grizzlies, already known to prey on polar bear cubs, have on these northern bears?

For now, however, the greatest issue might be for the geologists themselves, says Dr. Jonathan Doupé, a postdoctoral researcher working with Dr. England. "We have bear safety courses when we go up there, and people would normally say you don’t have to worry about grizzlies because it’s really just polar bear country," he says. "But I think that’s no longer the case."

Dr. England notes that the grizzly bear find is a highly visible example of important changes occurring in the Arctic. "The Arctic is very large and diverse, and this complex but exciting environment is just coming into focus for Canadians in general. It’s now a mainstream issue."

Dr. Jonathan Doupé | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.science.ualberta.ca/news.cfm?story=34307
http://www.nserc.ca

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA eyes Pineapple Express soaking California
24.02.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
23.02.2017 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>