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 International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>