When Dr. Steven Amstrup, chief scientist at Polar Bears International, began studying polar bears in Northern Alaska in the 1980s, he rarely saw terrestrial bears there. The sea ice just off the Bear And Jerry Friend Shirt coast lie in water full of food and the bears will spend time on the ice eating seals and other predators.
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Today, polar bears in the region have two options: follow the ice into deeper waters, which are ineffective for the summer – one that offers little food – or try to find scarce land on the mainland. “The final situation is the same: fasting times are getting longer,” Amstrup said.
Climate change is affecting Alaskan polar bears and other polar bears globally, and it is affecting bear populations in different ways and over different timelines. That helps explain why Amstrup and his colleagues examined 19 polar bear populations to analyze how each is being affected by changing local conditions. They found that unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, most polar bear populations, but not all, could disappear by 2100.
Amstrup, who published its results in the Bear And Jerry Friend Shirt journal Nature Climate Change, said: “As the world warms and the ice reacts by melting, we will see polar bears in different regions within the range of they react at different times. Amstrup has been leading research projects on polar bears since 1980, and his work placed the species under Threatened List in 2008 under the Endangered Species Act.
Researchers previously tended to analyze polar bears as a single group, often extrapolating data from widely studied subgroups for entire populations. However, Amstrup’s team worked to create separate estimates for each sub-population to take into account the diversity of the climates, habitats, ecosystems, and sea ice ecoregions they encounter.
Collecting data on polar bears has always been a major challenge. Amstrup explains that a common approach to polar bears research is to fly a helicopter over ice – or search for Hudson Bay bears on land during the summer – and shoot motionless darts at the bear before examining it substance them. The multi-year capture method is often used to see how a bear’s body condition has changed over time and scientists observe changes in the bear’s physical condition and health over time. space.
“As you can imagine, the answers from such work come pretty slow,” Amstrup said. “You can only catch so many bears or they are on a budget. How long can I keep a helicopter with me? Safe environment conditions for how long? “He points to the need for solid sea ice and good daylight, leaving relatively short opportunities, usually in the fall and spring.
Flying in the air to count bears is another popular method of research. “[It] gives you a quick look at how many bears are likely to appear in any given year,” says Amstrup, noting that this approach is limited by cost and how small areas may be. actual survey. “When you think of polar bears that live all over the Bear And Jerry Friend Shirt Arctic and you just want to go out and do aerial surveys of Hudson Bay – that’s a small part of it,” he said.
Enhancing understanding of polar bears through ‘fundamental energy’
The inherent challenges with these research methods have led researchers to try a different approach to analyzing the future of polar bears, Baseline energy use, fasting thresholds, and future sea ice predictions.
“The real problem for polar bears is that polar bears can endure as many days without the ice as polar bears can only catch food from the surface of the sea ice,” Amstrup said. “And, as the sea ice goes away, when the sea ice disappears, they have less and less time on the ice to forage, and they get longer and longer fast – longer times when they are short of food. . “He describes this approach as” fundamental energy “, noting” a fat bear like this can only last for so long without food.