“Alberta bears have remarkably diverse diets,” said Dr. Mark Boyce, biological sciences professor at the U of A and co-author on the study. “They’ll eat just about anything.”
Ants, fruits, moose and plants are a few staples of the Alberta grizzly bear’s diet. This new research study was the most comprehensive examination of grizzly bear foods ever conducted in Canada. Using global positioning system (GPS) radiotelemetry technology and analyzing 665 feces collected from 18 grizzly bears over a period of three years, the scientists found that the bears packed a lot of activity into 24 hours. The research was recently published in the “Journal of Mammalogy.”
Much is known about what bears in mountainous areas eat but little is known of the diets of grizzly bears living in boreal forests also used by humans. As well, this new research looked at five different activities the bears use to find food—whether it feeds on flowers, insects, fruits, digs for plants or kills other animals, specifically ungulates.
The diverse diets of the Alberta grizzly bear helps cushion them against climate change and other vagaries of the environment, said Boyce. Specifically, the research team found that the bears living in the foothills are effective predators on moose and deer. They are especially good at killing moose calves during the difficult spring period when other foods like berries are not yet available, said Boyce. Mountain bears are largely vegetarian, by comparison.
The scientists identified 40 different food items, examining each for seasonal patterns of use and differences among mountain and foothills environments. Digging the root of sweet vetch plants dominated early spring diets, while preying on ungulates—or hooved animals--was greatest during late spring, although the timing varied between foothill and mountain bears. Moose were the most common ungulate eaten by the bear (83 per cent), especially newborns (54 per cent), with white-tailed and mule deer (16 per cent) and elk (1 per cent) more minor in comparison. Rodents, insects (primarily ants), and birds were also consumed. Green vegetation dominated early summer diets and as fruit ripened in early August, berries such as soopolallie and mountain huckleberry were added to the bears’ menu. The scientists also learned that most of the activity of the east slopes bears takes place in the daytime, especially morning and the evening. This is in contrast to bears living in spots where more frequent contact with humans take place, such as Banff National Park where most bear activity has become nocturnal.
Although the bears are filling up on these different food sources, being so near to highways and roads is dangerous for the animals.
“Bears are eating substantial amounts of clover and alfalfa, which are common roadside plantings,” said Boyce. “Because these roadside plantings are attractive to bears, this can put the bears at risk of contact with humans. Nearly all new roads being constructed in the province are built by industry, either for timber harvest or oil and gas development.
“We should encourage industry to avoid using such attractive food items when planting in ditches and roadsides. It would be much better to use native grasses and other native plants to stabilize road banks and ditches. Most bear deaths occur near roads and we want to avoid attracting bears to areas near roads.”
Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
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...
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...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
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...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy