Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Polar bears in southern Beaufort Sea spending more time on land and open water

08.01.2010
Bears changing habitat in response to sea ice conditions

A long-term study showing the changes in habitat associations of polar bears in response to sea ice conditions in the southern Beaufort Sea has implications for polar bear management in Alaska.

Karyn Rode, a polar bear biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska and one of the study's authors, says data collected between 1979 and 2005 show that polar bears in the region are occurring more frequently on land and in open water and less frequently on ice during the fall. This means there are increased chances for human/bear interaction. The paper was published in the December issue of Arctic – the journal of the Arctic Institute of North America.

Polar bears were observed over the 27-year period by U.S. government Minerals Management Services staff as part of the fall bowhead whale aerial survey conducted annually in the southern Beaufort Sea. Ice conditions were also recorded.

... more about:
»Arctic »Beaufort Sea »Polar Day »polar bear »sea ice

Data showed that as ice conditions changed, bears were being found on different habitats. Between 1979 and 1987, 12% of bear sightings were associated with no ice. Between 1997 and 2005 however, 90% of bear sightings were associated with no ice.

"When bears were seen, they were more often seen in open water and on land than on sea ice. At the same time, changes were observed in ice, suggesting that these observations are connected," says Rode.

In addition, the number of bears sighted steadily increased from 138 bears in the years 1979-1987, to 271 bears between 1988 and 1996, and finally to 468 bears between 1997 and 2005. Rode warns that this study was not designed to estimate the number of bears using the nearshore area. Data were drawn from studies created to track bowhead whale migration routes, not polar bear populations. Therefore, it should not be concluded that more bears are occurring in the nearshore waters off the Southern Beaufort Sea coast.

However, Rode states that "Our results do suggest that bears that use the nearshore area are more likely to occur on land in recent years because their preferred habitat, sea ice, is unavailable.

"This is one of the few data sets available over such a long time frame. It shows there has been a shift in habitat use," she says.

In the Beaufort Sea region, there was less ice in 2005 than when the study period began in 1979. In general, freeze up is later and spring melt comes earlier with measurements showing since 1979 the summer melt period has increased by 13 days per decade. This is one reason for the region's rapid retreat of multi-year ice, which provides a thicker, more stable platform for hunting and denning.

This work is helpful in highlighting the need to proactively develop programs to manage bear-human interactions in coastal areas. Bear-human interactions in Native villages and with industry in Alaska have been on the rise in recent years.

This media release is part of the Promotion of Arctic Science, an Arctic Institute of North America project made possible with the generous support of the Government of Canada Program for International Polar Year.

The mission of the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary is to advance the study of the North American and circumpolar Arctic and to acquire, preserve and disseminate information on physical, environmental and social conditions in the North. More information can be found at www.arctic.ucalgary.ca

Karyn Rode | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fws.gov
http://www.arctic.ucalgary.ca

Further reports about: Arctic Beaufort Sea Polar Day polar bear sea ice

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>