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Sample records for bears ursus maritimus

  1. Polar bears, Ursus maritimus

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D.; Stirling, Ian

    2017-01-01

    Polar bears are the largest of the eight species of bears found worldwide and are covered in a pigment-free fur giving them the appearance of being white. They are the most carnivorous of bear species consuming a high-fat diet, primarily of ice-associated seals and other marine mammals. They range throughout the circumpolar Arctic to the southernmost extent of seasonal pack ice.

  2. Genetic relationships of extant brown bears (Ursus arctos) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cronin, Matthew A; MacNeil, Michael D

    2012-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) are closely related species for which extensive mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenetic comparisons have been made. We used previously published genotype data for 8 microsatellite DNA loci from 930 brown bears in 19 populations and 473 polar bears in 16 populations to compare the population genetic relationships of extant populations of the species. Genetic distances (Nei standard distance = 1.157), the proportion of private alleles (52% of alleles are not shared by the species), and Bayesian cluster analysis are consistent with morphological and life-history characteristics that distinguish polar bears and brown bears as different species with little or no gene flow among extant populations.

  3. Steroid hormone profile in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gustavson, Lisa; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Bytingsvik, Jenny

    2015-01-01

    The polar bear is an iconic Arctic species, threatened by anthropogenic impacts such as pollution and climate change. Successful reproduction of polar bears depends on a functioning steroid hormone system, which is susceptible to effects of persistent organic pollutants. The present study...... is the first study to report circulating concentrations of nine steroid hormones (i.e., estrogens, androgens and progestagens) in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus). The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of age, condition, location and reproductive status on steroid profile in female polar...... bears. Levels of pregnenolone (PRE), progesterone, androstenedione (AN), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2) and 17β-estradiol (βE2) were quantified in blood (serum) of free-living female polar bears (n = 15) from Svalbard, Norway, by gas...

  4. Omental torsion in a captive polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mendez-Angulo, Jose L; Funes, Francisco J; Trent, Ava M; Willette, Michelle; Woodhouse, Kerry; Renier, Anna C

    2014-03-01

    This is the first case report of an omental torsion in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). A captive, 23-yr-old, 250-kg, intact female polar bear presented to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center with a 2-day history of lethargy, depression, and vomiting. Abdominal ultrasound identified large amounts of hyperechoic free peritoneal fluid. Ultrasound-guided abdominocentesis was performed and yielded thick serosanguinous fluid compatible with a hemoabdomen. An exploratory laparotomy revealed a large amount of malodorous, serosanguineous fluid and multiple necrotic blood clots associated with a torsion of the greater omentum and rupture of a branch of the omental artery. A partial omentectomy was performed to remove the necrotic tissue and the abdomen was copiously lavaged. The polar bear recovered successfully and is reported to be clinically well 6 mo later. This condition should be considered as a differential in bears with clinical signs of intestinal obstruction and hemoabdomen.

  5. Acquired umbilical hernias in four captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Velguth, Karen E; Rochat, Mark C; Langan, Jennifer N; Backues, Kay

    2009-12-01

    Umbilical hernias are a common occurrence in domestic animals and humans but have not been well documented in polar bears. Surgical reduction and herniorrhaphies were performed to correct acquired hernias in the region of the umbilicus in four adult captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) housed in North American zoos. Two of the four bears were clinically unaffected by their hernias prior to surgery. One bear showed signs of severe discomfort following acute enlargement of the hernia. In another bear, re-herniation led to acute abdominal pain due to gastric entrapment and strangulation. The hernias in three bears were surgically repaired by debridement of the hernia ring and direct apposition of the abdominal wall, while the large defect in the most severely affected bear was closed using polypropylene mesh to prevent excessive tension. The cases in this series demonstrate that while small hernias may remain clinically inconsequential for long periods of time, enlargement or recurrence of the defect can lead to incarceration and acute abdominal crisis. Umbilical herniation has not been reported in free-ranging polar bears, and it is suspected that factors such as body condition, limited exercise, or enclosure design potentially contribute to the development of umbilical hernias in captive polar bears.

  6. PREVALENCE OF ANTIBODIES AGAINST TOXOPLASMA GONDII IN POLAR BEARS (URSUS MARITIMUS) FROM SVALBARD AND EAST GREENLAND

    Science.gov (United States)

    Serum samples from 419 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard and the Barents Sea (collected 1990 - 2000) and 108 polar bears from East Greenland (collected 1999 - 2004) were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibody prevalences were ...

  7. Is Bone Mineral Composition Disrupted by Organochlorines in East Greenland Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus)?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, C.; Dietz, R.; Born, E. W.

    2004-01-01

    We analyzed bone mineral density (BMD) in skulls of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) (n = 139) from East Greenland sampled during 1892-2002. Our primary goal was to detect possible changes in bone mineral content (osteopenia) due to elevated exposure to organochlorine [polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs.......04) and SigmaCHL (p polar...... bears may have been caused by organochlorine exposure. Udgivelsesdato: 2004-Dec...

  8. Circumpolar contaminant concentrations in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and potential population-level effects

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nuijten, R.J.M.; Hendriks, A.J.; Jenssen, B.M.; Schipper, A.M.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) currently receive much attention in the context of global climate change. However, there are other stressors that might threaten the viability of polar bear populations as well, such as exposure to anthropogenic pollutants. Lipophilic organic compounds

  9. Transthyretin-Binding Activity of Contaminants in Blood from Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Cubs

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bytingsvik, J.; Simon, E.; Leonards, P.E.G.; Lamoree, M.H.; Lie, E.; Aars, J.; Derocher, A. E.; Wiig, O.; Jenssen, B.M.; Hamers, T.

    2013-01-01

    We determined the transthyretin (TTR)-binding activity of blood-accumulating contaminants in blood plasma samples of approximately 4-months-old polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs from Svalbard sampled in 1998 and 2008. The TTR-binding activity was measured as thyroxine (T4)-like equivalents (T4-EQ

  10. Is bone mineral composition disrupted by organochlorines in east Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W

    2004-01-01

    We analyzed bone mineral density (BMD) in skulls of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) (n = 139) from East Greenland sampled during 1892-2002. Our primary goal was to detect possible changes in bone mineral content (osteopenia) due to elevated exposure to organochlorine [polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs...

  11. A novel endogenous betaretrovirus group characterized from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

    OpenAIRE

    Mayer, Jens; Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Heeger, Felix; Ávila-Arcos, Maria; Stenglein, Mark D.; Chen, Wei; Sun, Wei; Mazzoni, Camila; Osterrieder, Nikolaus; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2013-01-01

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) yielded sequences with highest similarity to the human endogenous retrovirus group HERV-K(HML-2). Further analysis of the polar bear draft genome identified an endogenous betaretrovirus group comprising 26 proviral copies and 231 solo LTRs. Molecular dating indicates the group originated before the divergence of bears from a common ancestor but is not present in all carnivores. Closely related sequences were identified in the giant panda...

  12. An Evolutionarily Young Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus Endogenous Retrovirus Identified from Next Generation Sequence Data

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kyriakos Tsangaras

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Transcriptome analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus tissues identified sequences with similarity to Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERV. Based on these sequences, four proviral copies and 15 solo long terminal repeats (LTRs of a newly described endogenous retrovirus were characterized from the polar bear draft genome sequence. Closely related sequences were identified by PCR analysis of brown bear (Ursus arctos and black bear (Ursus americanus but were absent in non-Ursinae bear species. The virus was therefore designated UrsusERV. Two distinct groups of LTRs were observed including a recombinant ERV that contained one LTR belonging to each group indicating that genomic invasions by at least two UrsusERV variants have recently occurred. Age estimates based on proviral LTR divergence and conservation of integration sites among ursids suggest the viral group is only a few million years old. The youngest provirus was polar bear specific, had intact open reading frames (ORFs and could potentially encode functional proteins. Phylogenetic analyses of UrsusERV consensus protein sequences suggest that it is part of a pig, gibbon and koala retrovirus clade. The young age estimates and lineage specificity of the virus suggests UrsusERV is a recent cross species transmission from an unknown reservoir and places the viral group among the youngest of ERVs identified in mammals.

  13. An Evolutionarily Young Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Endogenous Retrovirus Identified from Next Generation Sequence Data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Mayer, Jens; Alquezar-Planas, David E; Greenwood, Alex D

    2015-11-24

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues identified sequences with similarity to Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERV). Based on these sequences, four proviral copies and 15 solo long terminal repeats (LTRs) of a newly described endogenous retrovirus were characterized from the polar bear draft genome sequence. Closely related sequences were identified by PCR analysis of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and black bear (Ursus americanus) but were absent in non-Ursinae bear species. The virus was therefore designated UrsusERV. Two distinct groups of LTRs were observed including a recombinant ERV that contained one LTR belonging to each group indicating that genomic invasions by at least two UrsusERV variants have recently occurred. Age estimates based on proviral LTR divergence and conservation of integration sites among ursids suggest the viral group is only a few million years old. The youngest provirus was polar bear specific, had intact open reading frames (ORFs) and could potentially encode functional proteins. Phylogenetic analyses of UrsusERV consensus protein sequences suggest that it is part of a pig, gibbon and koala retrovirus clade. The young age estimates and lineage specificity of the virus suggests UrsusERV is a recent cross species transmission from an unknown reservoir and places the viral group among the youngest of ERVs identified in mammals.

  14. An Evolutionarily Young Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Endogenous Retrovirus Identified from Next Generation Sequence Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Mayer, Jens; Alquezar-Planas, David E.; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2015-01-01

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues identified sequences with similarity to Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERV). Based on these sequences, four proviral copies and 15 solo long terminal repeats (LTRs) of a newly described endogenous retrovirus were characterized from the polar bear draft genome sequence. Closely related sequences were identified by PCR analysis of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and black bear (Ursus americanus) but were absent in non-Ursinae bear species. The virus was therefore designated UrsusERV. Two distinct groups of LTRs were observed including a recombinant ERV that contained one LTR belonging to each group indicating that genomic invasions by at least two UrsusERV variants have recently occurred. Age estimates based on proviral LTR divergence and conservation of integration sites among ursids suggest the viral group is only a few million years old. The youngest provirus was polar bear specific, had intact open reading frames (ORFs) and could potentially encode functional proteins. Phylogenetic analyses of UrsusERV consensus protein sequences suggest that it is part of a pig, gibbon and koala retrovirus clade. The young age estimates and lineage specificity of the virus suggests UrsusERV is a recent cross species transmission from an unknown reservoir and places the viral group among the youngest of ERVs identified in mammals. PMID:26610552

  15. A novel endogenous betaretrovirus group characterized from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mayer, Jens; Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Heeger, Felix

    2013-01-01

    . Molecular dating indicates the group originated before the divergence of bears from a common ancestor but is not present in all carnivores. Closely related sequences were identified in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and characterized from its genome. We have designated the polar bear and giant...... panda sequences U. maritimus endogenous retrovirus (UmaERV) and A. melanoleuca endogenous retrovirus (AmeERV), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the bear virus group is nested within the HERV-K supergroup among bovine and bat endogenous retroviruses suggesting a complex evolutionary......Transcriptome analysis of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) yielded sequences with highest similarity to the human endogenous retrovirus group HERV-K(HML-2). Further analysis of the polar bear draft genome identified an endogenous betaretrovirus group comprising 26 proviral copies and 231 solo LTRs...

  16. Temporal Trends and Future Predictions of Mercury Concentrations in Northwest Greenland Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Hair

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dietz, Rune; Born, E.W.; Riget, Frank Farsø

    2011-01-01

    -2008 concentrations ofHg in Northwest Greenland polar bear hair exceeded the general guideline values of 20-30 μg/g dry weight for terrestrial wildlife, whereas the neurochemical effect level of 5.4 μg Hg/g dry weight proposed for East Greenland polar bears was exceeded in 93.5% of the cases. These results call......Hair samples from 117 Northwest Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were taken during 1892-2008 and analyzed for total mercury (hereafterHg). The sample represented 28 independent years and the aim of the study was to analyze for temporal Hg trends. Mercury concentrations showed yearly...

  17. Enlarged clitoris in wild polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be misdiagnosed as pseudohermaphroditism

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, C.; Leifsson, Páll Skuli; Dietz, R.

    2005-01-01

    A 23-year-old female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) killed in an Inuit hunt in East Greenland on July 9, 1999 had a significantly enlarged clitoris resembling, in size, form and colour, those of previously reported 'pseudohermaphroditic' polar bears from Svalbard. It has been suggested that an enzyme...... and internal reproductive organs of the present were similar to a reference group of 23 normal adult female polar bears from East Greenland collected in 1999-2002. The aberrant bear was a female genotype, and macroscopic examination of her internal reproductive organs indicated that she was reproductively....... It is hence possible that the previously reported adult female polar bear pseudohermaphrodites from Svalbard are in fact misdiagnoses. Therefore, future studies examining pseudohermaphroditism in wildlife should consider that certain occurrences are natural events, e.g., enlarged clitoris in the present East...

  18. Femoral fracture repair using a locking plate technique in an adult captive polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimmerman, Dawn M; Dew, Terry; Douglass, Michael; Perez, Edward

    2010-02-01

    To report successful femoral fracture repair in a polar bear. Case report. Female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) 5 years and approximately 250 kg. A closed, complete, comminuted fracture of the distal midshaft femur was successfully reduced and stabilized using a compression plating technique with 2 specialized human femur plates offering axial, rotational, and bending support, and allowing the bone to share loads with the implant. Postoperative radiographs were obtained at 11.5 weeks, 11 months, and 24 months. Bone healing characterized by marked periosteal reaction was evident at 11 months with extensive remodeling evident at 24 months. No complications were noted. Distal mid shaft femoral fracture was reduced, stabilized, and healed in an adult polar bear with a locking plate technique using 2 plates. Previously, femoral fractures in polar bears were considered irreparable. Use of 2 plates applied with a locking plate technique can result in successful fracture repair despite large body weight and inability to restrict postoperative activity.

  19. A retrospective study of end-stage renal disease in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaDouceur, Elise E B; Davis, Barbara; Tseng, Flo

    2014-03-01

    This retrospective study summarizes 11 cases of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from eight zoologic institutions across the United States and Canada. Ten bears were female, one was male, and the mean age at the time of death was 24 yr old. The most common clinical signs were lethargy, inappetence, and polyuria-polydipsia. Biochemical findings included azotemia, anemia, hyperphosphatemia, and isosthenuria. Histologic examination commonly showed glomerulonephropathies and interstitial fibrosis. Based on submissions to a private diagnostic institution over a 16-yr period, ESRD was the most commonly diagnosed cause of death or euthanasia in captive polar bears in the United States, with an estimated prevalence of over 20%. Further research is needed to discern the etiology of this apparently common disease of captive polar bears.

  20. Gene transcription in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from disparate populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Waters, Shannon C.; Meyerson, Randi; Rode, Karyn D.; Atwood, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    Polar bears in the Beaufort (SB) and Chukchi (CS) Seas experience different environments due primarily to a longer history of sea ice loss in the Beaufort Sea. Ecological differences have been identified as a possible reason for the generally poorer body condition and reproduction of Beaufort polar bears compared to those from the Chukchi, but the influence of exposure to other stressors remains unknown. We use molecular technology, quantitative PCR, to identify gene transcription differences among polar bears from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as well as captive healthy polar bears. We identified significant transcriptional differences among a priori groups (i.e., captive bears, SB 2012, SB 2013, CS 2013) for ten of the 14 genes of interest (i.e., CaM, HSP70, CCR3, TGFβ, COX2, THRα, T-bet, Gata3, CD69, and IL17); transcription levels of DRβ, IL1β, AHR, and Mx1 did not differ among groups. Multivariate analysis also demonstrated separation among the groups of polar bears. Specifically, we detected transcript profiles consistent with immune function impairment in polar bears from the Beaufort Sea, when compared with Chukchi and captive polar bears. Although there is no strong indication of differential exposure to contaminants or pathogens between CS and SB bears, there are clearly differences in important transcriptional responses between populations. Further investigation is warranted to refine interpretation of potential effects of described stress-related conditions for the SB population.

  1. Lumbar laminectomy in a captive, adult polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morrison, John F; Vakharia, Kunal; Moreland, Douglas B

    2017-01-01

    Animals held in captivity tend to live longer than do their wild counterparts, and as such, are prone to developing age-related degenerative injuries. Here, we present a case of an adult female polar bear with symptomatic lumbar stenosis. There is a paucity of literature on large mammalian spine surgery, and anatomical differences between humans and other vertebrates must be taken into consideration. A 24-year-old female polar bear residing at the zoo was found to have decreased motor function in her hind legs. Diagnostic myelography performed at the L7/S1 level demonstrated lumbar stenosis at L5/6 for which a laminectomy was performed. Postoperatively, she returned to premorbid functional level, with no apparent associated adverse sequelae. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of spine surgery in a polar bear and demonstrates that neurosurgical diagnostic and operative techniques developed for humans can also be applied to large mammals with successful results.

  2. Factors influencing annual fecal testosterone metabolite profiles in captive male polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curry, E; Roth, T L; MacKinnon, K M; Stoops, M A

    2012-12-01

    The objectives of this study were to assess the effects of season, breeding activity, age and latitude on fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations in captive, adult male polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Fourteen polar bears from 13 North American zoos were monitored for 12-36 months, producing 25-year-long testosterone profiles. Results indicated that testosterone was significantly higher during the breeding season (early January through the end of May) compared with the non-breeding season with the highest concentrations excreted from early January through late March. Variations in excretion patterns were observed among individuals and also between years within an individual, with testosterone peaks closely associated with breeding activity. Results indicate that fecal testosterone concentrations are influenced by season, breeding activity and age, but not by latitude. This is the first report describing longitudinal fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations in individual adult male polar bears. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  3. A novel endogenous betaretrovirus group characterized from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, Jens; Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Heeger, Felix; Avila-Arcos, María; Stenglein, Mark D; Chen, Wei; Sun, Wei; Mazzoni, Camila J; Osterrieder, Nikolaus; Greenwood, Alex D

    2013-08-15

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) yielded sequences with highest similarity to the human endogenous retrovirus group HERV-K(HML-2). Further analysis of the polar bear draft genome identified an endogenous betaretrovirus group comprising 26 proviral copies and 231 solo LTRs. Molecular dating indicates the group originated before the divergence of bears from a common ancestor but is not present in all carnivores. Closely related sequences were identified in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and characterized from its genome. We have designated the polar bear and giant panda sequences U. maritimus endogenous retrovirus (UmaERV) and A. melanoleuca endogenous retrovirus (AmeERV), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the bear virus group is nested within the HERV-K supergroup among bovine and bat endogenous retroviruses suggesting a complex evolutionary history within the HERV-K group. All individual remnants of proviral sequences contain numerous frameshifts and stop codons and thus, the virus is likely non-infectious. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Acute Chagas' cardiopathy in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus in Guadalajara, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Jaime-Andrade G.

    1997-08-01

    Full Text Available We report a 24 year old female polar bear (Ursus maritimus who contracted Chagas' infection at the Guadalajara Zoo, in Jalisco, México, and died of acute Chagas' carditis 15 days later. The histopathological findings are described, as well as the presence of triatomines (Triatoma longipennis Usinger infected with Trypanosoma cruzi collected within 5 meters from the place where the animal lived in the city of Guadalajara.Relatamos o caso de uma ursa polar (Ursus maritimus de 24 anos de idade, que contraiu a infecção chagásica no Zoológico de Guadalajara, em Jalisco, no México, e morreu de cardite chagásica aguda 15 dias após o início da sintomatologia. Os achados histopatológicos são descritos, bem como a presença de triatomíneos (Triatoma longipennis Usinger infectados por Trypanosoma cruzi coletados a 5 metros do local onde o animal vivia, na cidade de Guadalajara.

  5. Crescentic glomerulonephritis in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baba, Hiroshi; Kudo, Tomoo; Makino, Yoshinori; Mochizuki, Yasumasa; Takagi, Takayo; Une, Yumi

    2013-11-01

    Spontaneous crescentic glomerulonephritis (CrGN) in animals has only been reported in dog and sheep. We report the pathological features of CrGN in a 17-year-old male polar bear that died due to renal failure. Histologically, the lesions were characterized by fibrocellular crescents, adhesion between Bowman's capsule and the glomerular capillary tuft and an increase in the mesangial matrix in glomeruli. The proliferating cells in the crescent were partly immunopositive for cytokeratin and intensely positive for vimentin, WT-1 and α-smooth muscle actin, suggesting they originated from parietal epithelial cells. Ultrastructually, thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and loss of epithelial cell foot processes were observed with electron-dense deposits.

  6. Crescentic Glomerulonephritis in a Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    BABA, Hiroshi; KUDO, Tomoo; MAKINO, Yoshinori; MOCHIZUKI, Yasumasa; TAKAGI, Takayo; UNE, Yumi

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT Spontaneous crescentic glomerulonephritis (CrGN) in animals has only been reported in dog and sheep. We report the pathological features of CrGN in a 17-year-old male polar bear that died due to renal failure. Histologically, the lesions were characterized by fibrocellular crescents, adhesion between Bowman’s capsule and the glomerular capillary tuft and an increase in the mesangial matrix in glomeruli. The proliferating cells in the crescent were partly immunopositive for cytokeratin and intensely positive for vimentin, WT-1 and α-smooth muscle actin, suggesting they originated from parietal epithelial cells. Ultrastructually, thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and loss of epithelial cell foot processes were observed with electron-dense deposits. PMID:23856758

  7. Size and density of East Greenland polar bear (Ursus maritimus) skulls

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Bechshoft, Thea Ø.; Rigét, Frank F.

    2013-01-01

    density (BMD) in 87 East Greenland male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in the time period of 1892-2010. The purpose of the study was to investigate if these measures are potential candidates as indicators for stress associated with climate change and long-range transported toxic industrial...... of the limited sample size in period 2 and lower mean age in period 4. Therefore, precautions should be taken towards a final conclusion on BMD and CBL as bioindicators for climate oscillations and exposure to toxic environmental chemicals. It is recommended that the sampling and archiving of East Greenland...... chemicals. The analyses showed that both BMD and CBL in polar bears sampled in period 4 (1999-2010, n = 57) were significantly lower when compared with period 2 (1920-1936, n = 19) (both p

  8. Use of hyaluronidase to improve chemical immobilization of free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cattet, Marc R L; Obbard, Martyn E

    2010-01-01

    We assessed the efficacy and safety of hyaluronidase to improve chemical immobilization of free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus) captured from helicopter by remote drug delivery along the Ontario coast line of northwestern James Bay and southern Hudson Bay during September 2005 and October 2007. We used a single blind study design in which one person prepared and loaded all darts without the shooter knowing whether hyaluronidase (150 IU per dart) or sterile water was added to the immobilizing drug mixture of xylazine and zolazepam-tiletamine (XZT). We found that we often required more than one dart to immobilize bears in the control group (XZT+sterile water; >1 dart for 15 of 28 captures) versus the treatment group (XZT+hyaluronidase; >1 dart for seven of 26 captures). As a consequence, treatment bears were generally immobilized with smaller XZT dosages (7.9 vs. 9.4 mg/kg; P = 0.08) and shorter induction (10 vs. 15 min; P = 0.004) than control bears. We found no differences in vital rates and serum biochemistry results between control and treatment bears. We did find, however, that induction times correlated directly with rectal temperature at polar bears. Overall we found hyaluronidase to be effective and safe for capture of polar bears. We recommend further study to determine whether effects of hyaluronidase are dose dependent and recommend that others involved with capture of seasonally fat species such as polar bears consider use of hyaluronidase to improve chemical immobilization.

  9. Establishing a definition of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health: A guide to research and management activities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patyk, Kelly A.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Nol, Pauline; Sonne, C.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Wiig, Øystein; Aars, Jon; Regehr, Eric V.; Gustafson, L.; Atwood, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    The meaning of health for wildlife and perspectives on how to assess and measure health, are not well characterized. For wildlife at risk, such as some polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations, establishing comprehensive monitoring programs that include health status is an emerging need. Environmental changes, especially loss of sea ice habitat, have raised concern about polar bear health. Effective and consistent monitoring of polar bear health requires an unambiguous definition of health. We used the Delphi method of soliciting and interpreting expert knowledge to propose a working definition of polar bear health and to identify current concerns regarding health, challenges in measuring health, and important metrics for monitoring health. The expert opinion elicited through the exercise agreed that polar bear health is defined by characteristics and knowledge at the individual, population, and ecosystem level. The most important threats identified were in decreasing order: climate change, increased nutritional stress, chronic physiological stress, harvest management, increased exposure to contaminants, increased frequency of human interaction, diseases and parasites, and increased exposure to competitors. Fifteen metrics were identified to monitor polar bear health. Of these, indicators of body condition, disease and parasite exposure, contaminant exposure, and reproductive success were ranked as most important. We suggest that a cumulative effects approach to research and monitoring will improve the ability to assess the biological, ecological, and social determinants of polar bear health and provide measurable objectives for conservation goals and priorities and to evaluate progress.

  10. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laidre, K. L.; Regehr, E. V.; Akcakaya, H. R.; Amstrup, S. C.; Atwood, T.; Lunn, N.; Obbard, M.; Stern, H. L., III; Thiemann, G.; Wiig, O.

    2016-12-01

    Loss of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is the most serious threat to polar bears (Ursus maritimus) throughout their circumpolar range. We performed a data-based sensitivity analysis with respect to this threat by evaluating the potential response of the global polar bear population to projected sea-ice conditions. We conducted 1) an assessment of generation length for polar bears, 2) developed of a standardized sea-ice metric representing important habitat characteristics for the species; and 3) performed population projections over three generations, using computer simulation and statistical models representing alternative relationships between sea ice and polar bear abundance. Using three separate approaches, the median percent change in mean global population size for polar bears between 2015 and 2050 ranged from -4% (95% CI = -62%, 50%) to -43% (95% CI = -76%, -20%). Results highlight the potential for large reductions in the global population if sea-ice loss continues. They also highlight the large amount of uncertainty in statistical projections of polar bear abundance and the sensitivity of projections to plausible alternative assumptions. The median probability of a reduction in the mean global population size of polar bears greater than 30% over three generations was approximately 0.71 (range 0.20-0.95. The median probability of a reduction greater than 50% was approximately 0.07 (range 0-0.35), and the probability of a reduction greater than 80% was negligible.

  11. Establishing a definition of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health: a guide to research and management activities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Patyk, Kelly A; Duncan, Colleen; Nol, Pauline; Sonne, Christian; Laidre, Kristin; Obbard, Martyn; Wiig, Øystein; Aars, Jon; Regehr, Eric; Gustafson, Lori L; Atwood, Todd

    2015-05-01

    The meaning of health for wildlife and perspectives on how to assess and measure health, are not well characterized. For wildlife at risk, such as some polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations, establishing comprehensive monitoring programs that include health status is an emerging need. Environmental changes, especially loss of sea ice habitat, have raised concern about polar bear health. Effective and consistent monitoring of polar bear health requires an unambiguous definition of health. We used the Delphi method of soliciting and interpreting expert knowledge to propose a working definition of polar bear health and to identify current concerns regarding health, challenges in measuring health, and important metrics for monitoring health. The expert opinion elicited through the exercise agreed that polar bear health is defined by characteristics and knowledge at the individual, population, and ecosystem level. The most important threats identified were in decreasing order: climate change, increased nutritional stress, chronic physiological stress, harvest management, increased exposure to contaminants, increased frequency of human interaction, diseases and parasites, and increased exposure to competitors. Fifteen metrics were identified to monitor polar bear health. Of these, indicators of body condition, disease and parasite exposure, contaminant exposure, and reproductive success were ranked as most important. We suggest that a cumulative effects approach to research and monitoring will improve the ability to assess the biological, ecological, and social determinants of polar bear health and provide measurable objectives for conservation goals and priorities and to evaluate progress. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  12. In vitro assay shows that PCB metabolites completely saturate thyroid hormone transport capacity in blood of wild polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gutleb, A.C.; Cenijn, P.H.; van Velzen, P.; Lie, E.; Ropstad, E.; Skaare, J.U.; Malmberg, T.; Bergman, A.; Gabrielsen, G. W.; Legler, J.

    2010-01-01

    Persistent chemicals accumulate in the arctic environment due to their chemical reactivity and physicochemical properties and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are the most concentrated pollutant class in polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Metabolism of PCB and polybrominated biphenyl ether (PBDE)

  13. High contributions of sea ice derived carbon in polar bear (Ursus maritimus tissue.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas A Brown

    Full Text Available Polar bears (Ursus maritimus rely upon Arctic sea ice as a physical habitat. Consequently, conservation assessments of polar bears identify the ongoing reduction in sea ice to represent a significant threat to their survival. However, the additional role of sea ice as a potential, indirect, source of energy to bears has been overlooked. Here we used the highly branched isoprenoid lipid biomarker-based index (H-Print approach in combination with quantitative fatty acid signature analysis to show that sympagic (sea ice-associated, rather than pelagic, carbon contributions dominated the marine component of polar bear diet (72-100%; 99% CI, n = 55, irrespective of differences in diet composition. The lowest mean estimates of sympagic carbon were found in Baffin Bay bears, which were also exposed to the most rapidly increasing open water season. Therefore, our data illustrate that for future Arctic ecosystems that are likely to be characterised by reduced sea ice cover, polar bears will not only be impacted by a change in their physical habitat, but also potentially in the supply of energy to the ecosystems upon which they depend. This data represents the first quantifiable baseline that is critical for the assessment of likely ongoing changes in energy supply to Arctic predators as we move into an increasingly uncertain future for polar ecosystems.

  14. High contributions of sea ice derived carbon in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissue.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Thomas A; Galicia, Melissa P; Thiemann, Gregory W; Belt, Simon T; Yurkowski, David J; Dyck, Markus G

    2018-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely upon Arctic sea ice as a physical habitat. Consequently, conservation assessments of polar bears identify the ongoing reduction in sea ice to represent a significant threat to their survival. However, the additional role of sea ice as a potential, indirect, source of energy to bears has been overlooked. Here we used the highly branched isoprenoid lipid biomarker-based index (H-Print) approach in combination with quantitative fatty acid signature analysis to show that sympagic (sea ice-associated), rather than pelagic, carbon contributions dominated the marine component of polar bear diet (72-100%; 99% CI, n = 55), irrespective of differences in diet composition. The lowest mean estimates of sympagic carbon were found in Baffin Bay bears, which were also exposed to the most rapidly increasing open water season. Therefore, our data illustrate that for future Arctic ecosystems that are likely to be characterised by reduced sea ice cover, polar bears will not only be impacted by a change in their physical habitat, but also potentially in the supply of energy to the ecosystems upon which they depend. This data represents the first quantifiable baseline that is critical for the assessment of likely ongoing changes in energy supply to Arctic predators as we move into an increasingly uncertain future for polar ecosystems.

  15. Serum corticosteroid binding globulin expression is modulated by fasting in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chow, Brian A; Hamilton, Jason; Cattet, Marc R L; Stenhouse, Gordon; Obbard, Martyn E; Vijayan, Mathilakath M

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from several subpopulations undergo extended fasting during the ice-free season. However, the animals appear to conserve protein despite the prolonged fasting, though the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. We hypothesized that elevated concentrations of corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), the primary cortisol binding protein in circulation, lead to cortisol resistance and provide a mechanism for protein conservation during extended fasting. The metabolic state (feeding vs. fasting) of 16 field sampled male polar bears was determined based on their serum urea to creatinine ratio (>25 for feeding vs. polar bears sampled. Serum CBG expression was greater in lactating females relative to non-lactating females and males. CBG expression was significantly higher in fasting males when compared to non-fasting males. This leads us to suggest that CBG expression may serve as a mechanism to conserve protein during extended fasting in polar bears by reducing systemic free cortisol concentrations. This was further supported by a lower serum glucose concentration in the fasting bears. As well, a lack of an enhanced adrenocortical response to acute capture stress supports our hypothesis that chronic hunger is not a stressor in this species. Overall, our results suggest that elevated serum CBG expression may be an important adaptation to spare proteins by limiting cortisol bioavailability during extended fasting in polar bears. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Temporal trends and future predictions of mercury concentrations in Northwest Greenland polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hair.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dietz, R; Born, E W; Rigét, F; Aubail, A; Sonne, C; Drimmie, R; Basu, N

    2011-02-15

    Hair samples from 117 Northwest Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were taken during 1892-2008 and analyzed for total mercury (hereafter Hg). The sample represented 28 independent years and the aim of the study was to analyze for temporal Hg trends. Mercury concentrations showed yearly significant increases of 1.6-1.7% (p polar bear Hg exposure is 95.6-96.2% anthropogenic in its origin. Assuming a continued anthropogenic increase, this model estimated concentrations in 2050 and 2100 will be 40- and 92-fold the baseline concentration, respectively, which is equivalent to a 97.5 and 98.9% man-made contribution. None of the 2001-2008 concentrations of Hg in Northwest Greenland polar bear hair exceeded the general guideline values of 20-30 μg/g dry weight for terrestrial wildlife, whereas the neurochemical effect level of 5.4 μg Hg/g dry weight proposed for East Greenland polar bears was exceeded in 93.5% of the cases. These results call for detailed effect studies in main target organs such as brain, liver, kidney, and sexual organs in the Northwest Greenland polar bears.

  17. Serosurvey for Trichinella in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard and the Barents Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Asbakk, Kjetil; Aars, Jon; Derocher, Andrew E; Wiig, Oystein; Oksanen, Antti; Born, Erik W; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Godfroid, Jacques; Kapel, Christian M O

    2010-09-20

    Blood samples of live-caught polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard collected 1991-2000 (Period 1) and 2006-2008 (Period 2) and from the pack ice of the Barents Sea collected in Period 1, were assayed for antibodies against Trichinella spp. by ELISA. Of 54 cubs-of-the-year included in the Period 1 sample, 53 were seronegative, indicating that exposure to Trichinella infected meat is uncommon during the first months of life for polar bears in the Svalbard region. Of 30 mother-offspring pairs, 18 mothers were seropositive with seronegative offspring (n=27), suggesting (1) that maternal antibodies had dropped to levels below detection limit by the time of capture in April (offspring approximately 4 months old), and (2) supporting experimental studies in other animal models showing that vertical transmission of Trichinella spp. is uncommon. Bear 1 year and older had higher prevalence in Svalbard (78%) than in the Barents Sea (51%). There was no temporal change in prevalence for bears from Svalbard during the time between the two periods. The prevalence increased with age in both sexes. A positive correlation was found between anti-Toxoplasma gondii and anti-Trichinella spp. antibodies.

  18. Identifying and managing an adverse food reaction in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) by an elimination diet trial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Monson, Sara; Minter, Larry J; Krouse, Marissa; De Voe, Ryan S

    2014-06-01

    A 16-yr-old polar bear (Ursus maritimus) presented with severe diarrhea shortly following transfer to the North Carolina Zoological Park. Multiple diagnostic procedures were performed over several months and the cause of the chronic diarrhea was inconclusive. Histologically, colonic mucosal biopsies were consistent with severe chronic eosinophilic and lymphoplasmacytic colitis with no evidence of etiologic agents present. A dietary elimination trial was conducted and an adverse food reaction to the dog chow in the diet was confirmed.

  19. Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus: population biology and anthropogenic threats

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Magnus Andersen

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available This paper examines how anthropogenic threats, such as disturbance, pollution and climate change, are linked to polar bear (Ursus maritimus population biology in the Svalbard and Barents Sea area, with the aim to increase our understanding of how human activity may impact the population. Overharvesting drastically reduced the population of polar bears in the Barents Sea region from about 1870 to 1970. After harvesting was stopped—in 1956 in Russia and 1973 in Norway—the population grew to an estimated 2650 individuals (95% confidence interval 1900–3600 in 2004, and maternity denning in the Svalbard Archipelago became more widely distributed. During recent decades, the population has faced challenges from a variety of new anthropogenic impacts: a range of pollutants, an increasing level of human presence and activity as well as changes in ice conditions. Contaminants bioaccumulate up through the marine food web, culminating in this top predator that consumes ringed, bearded and harp seals. Females with small cubs use land-fast sea ice for hunting and are therefore vulnerable to disturbance by snowmobile drivers. Sea-ice diminution, associated with climate change, reduces polar bears’ access to denning areas and could negatively affect the survival of cubs. There are clear linkages between population biology and current anthropogenic threats, and we suggest that future research and management should focus on and take into consideration the combined effects of several stressors on polar bears.

  20. Individual effects of seasonal changes, visitor density, and concurrent bear behavior on stereotypical behaviors in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Krista R; Harrison, Michelle L; Size, Daniele D; MacDonald, Suzanne E

    2015-01-01

    Stereotypical behaviors in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be detrimental to their welfare. These behaviors can be reduced through enrichment programs but are often not completely eliminated, so identifying potential triggers is important. The present study investigated the influences of seasonal changes, visitor density, and concurrent bear activity on stereotypical behaviors exhibited by 3 captive polar bears at the Toronto Zoo. All bears exhibited these behaviors; however, individual differences were found in duration and form. The male exhibited less stereotypical behavior during spring, and the females exhibited less stereotypical behavior during winter. An increase in visitor density was associated with more stereotypical behavior in 1 female but less stereotypical behavior in the other 2 bears. All bears engaged in more stereotypical behaviors when the other bears were inactive, and 1 female engaged in more stereotypical behaviors when the other bears were out of sight. Further, when conspecifics were active, all bears engaged in less stereotypical behaviors. Given the variability among individual bears, future enrichment programs must be tailored to the needs of individuals to maximize efficacy.

  1. Bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bear (Ursus maritimus in Arctic Svalbard

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brusetti Lorenzo

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Polar bears (Ursus maritimus are major predators in the Arctic marine ecosystem, feeding mainly on seals, and living closely associated with sea ice. Little is known of their gut microbial ecology and the main purpose of this study was to investigate the microbial diversity in faeces of polar bears in Svalbard, Norway (74-81°N, 10-33°E. In addition the level of blaTEM alleles, encoding ampicillin resistance (ampr were determined. In total, ten samples were collected from ten individual bears, rectum swabs from five individuals in 2004 and faeces samples from five individuals in 2006. Results A 16S rRNA gene clone library was constructed, and all sequences obtained from 161 clones showed affiliation with the phylum Firmicutes, with 160 sequences identified as Clostridiales and one sequence identified as unclassified Firmicutes. The majority of the sequences (70% were affiliated with the genus Clostridium. Aerobic heterotrophic cell counts on chocolate agar ranged between 5.0 × 104 to 1.6 × 106 colony forming units (cfu/ml for the rectum swabs and 4.0 × 103 to 1.0 × 105 cfu/g for the faeces samples. The proportion of ampr bacteria ranged from 0% to 44%. All of 144 randomly selected ampr isolates tested positive for enzymatic β-lactamase activity. Three % of the ampr isolates from the rectal samples yielded positive results when screened for the presence of blaTEM genes by PCR. BlaTEM alleles were also detected by PCR in two out of three total faecal DNA samples from polar bears. Conclusion The bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bears in their natural environment in Svalbard is low compared to other animal species, with all obtained clones affiliating to Firmicutes. Furthermore, only low levels of blaTEM alleles were detected in contrast to their increasing prevalence in some clinical and commensal bacterial populations.

  2. Bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Arctic Svalbard.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glad, Trine; Bernhardsen, Pål; Nielsen, Kaare M; Brusetti, Lorenzo; Andersen, Magnus; Aars, Jon; Sundset, Monica A

    2010-01-14

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are major predators in the Arctic marine ecosystem, feeding mainly on seals, and living closely associated with sea ice. Little is known of their gut microbial ecology and the main purpose of this study was to investigate the microbial diversity in faeces of polar bears in Svalbard, Norway (74-81 degrees N, 10-33 degrees E). In addition the level of blaTEM alleles, encoding ampicillin resistance (ampr) were determined. In total, ten samples were collected from ten individual bears, rectum swabs from five individuals in 2004 and faeces samples from five individuals in 2006. A 16S rRNA gene clone library was constructed, and all sequences obtained from 161 clones showed affiliation with the phylum Firmicutes, with 160 sequences identified as Clostridiales and one sequence identified as unclassified Firmicutes. The majority of the sequences (70%) were affiliated with the genus Clostridium. Aerobic heterotrophic cell counts on chocolate agar ranged between 5.0 x 10(4) to 1.6 x 10(6) colony forming units (cfu)/ml for the rectum swabs and 4.0 x 10(3) to 1.0 x 10(5) cfu/g for the faeces samples. The proportion of ampr bacteria ranged from 0% to 44%. All of 144 randomly selected ampr isolates tested positive for enzymatic beta-lactamase activity. Three % of the ampr isolates from the rectal samples yielded positive results when screened for the presence of blaTEM genes by PCR. BlaTEM alleles were also detected by PCR in two out of three total faecal DNA samples from polar bears. The bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bears in their natural environment in Svalbard is low compared to other animal species, with all obtained clones affiliating to Firmicutes. Furthermore, only low levels of blaTEM alleles were detected in contrast to their increasing prevalence in some clinical and commensal bacterial populations.

  3. Relationships between POPs, biometrics and circulating steroids in male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciesielski, Tomasz M; Hansen, Ingunn Tjelta; Bytingsvik, Jenny; Hansen, Martin; Lie, Elisabeth; Aars, Jon; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Styrishave, Bjarne

    2017-11-01

    The aim of this study was to determine the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and biometric variables on circulating levels of steroid hormones (androgens, estrogens and progestagens) in male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard, Norway (n = 23). Levels of pregnenolone (PRE), progesterone (PRO), androstenedione (AN), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone (TS), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2) and 17β-estradiol (βE2) were quantified in polar bear serum by gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS), while POPs were measured in plasma. Subsequently, associations between hormone concentrations (9 steroids), POPs (21 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 8 OH-PCBs, 8 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and OCP metabolites, and 2 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)) and biological variables (age, head length, body mass, girth, body condition index), capture date, location (latitude and longitude), lipid content and cholesterol levels were examined using principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal projections to latent structures (OPLS) modelling. Average concentrations of androgens, estrogens and progestagens were in the range of 0.57-83.7 (0.57-12.4 for subadults, 1.02-83.7 for adults), 0.09-2.69 and 0.57-2.44 nmol/L, respectively. The steroid profiles suggest that sex steroids were mainly synthesized through the Δ-4 pathway in male polar bears. The ratio between androgens and estrogens significantly depended on sexual maturity with androgen/estrogen ratios being approximately 60 times higher in adult males than in subadult males. PCA plots and OPLS models indicated that TS was positively related to biometrics, such as body condition index in male polar bears. A negative relationship was also observed between POPs and DHT. Consequently, POPs and body condition may potentially affect the endocrinological function of steroids, including development of reproductive tissues and sex organs and the

  4. Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls decrease circulating steroids in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gustavson, Lisa; Ciesielski, Tomasz M; Bytingsvik, Jenny; Styrishave, Bjarne; Hansen, Martin; Lie, Elisabeth; Aars, Jon; Jenssen, Bjørn M

    2015-04-01

    As a top predator in the Arctic food chain, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are exposed to high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Because several of these compounds have been reported to alter endocrine pathways, such as the steroidogenesis, potential disruption of the sex steroid synthesis by POPs may cause implications for reproduction by interfering with ovulation, implantation and fertility. Blood samples were collected from 15 female polar bears in Svalbard (Norway) in April 2008. The concentrations of nine circulating steroid hormones; dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione (AN), testosterone (TS), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2), 17β-estradiol (βE2), pregnenolone (PRE) and progesterone (PRO) were determined. The aim of the study was to investigate associations among circulating levels of specific POP compounds and POP-metabolites (hydroxylated PCBs [OH-PCBs] and hydroxylated PBDEs [OH-PBDEs]), steroid hormones, biological and capture variables in female polar bears. Inverse correlations were found between circulating levels of PRE and AN, and circulating levels of OH-PCBs. There were no significant relationships between the steroid concentrations and other analyzed POPs or the variables capture date and capture location (latitude and longitude), lipid content, condition and body mass. Although statistical associations do not necessarily represent direct cause-effect relationships, the present study indicate that OH-PCBs may affect the circulating levels of AN and PRE in female polar bears and that OH-PCBs thus may interfere with the steroid homeostasis. Increase in PRO and a decrease in AN concentrations suggest that the enzyme CYP17 may be a potential target for OH-PCBs. In combination with natural stressors, ongoing climate change and contaminant exposure, it is possible that OH-PCBs may disturb the reproductive potential of polar bears. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Arctic Svalbard

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    Background Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are major predators in the Arctic marine ecosystem, feeding mainly on seals, and living closely associated with sea ice. Little is known of their gut microbial ecology and the main purpose of this study was to investigate the microbial diversity in faeces of polar bears in Svalbard, Norway (74-81°N, 10-33°E). In addition the level of blaTEM alleles, encoding ampicillin resistance (ampr) were determined. In total, ten samples were collected from ten individual bears, rectum swabs from five individuals in 2004 and faeces samples from five individuals in 2006. Results A 16S rRNA gene clone library was constructed, and all sequences obtained from 161 clones showed affiliation with the phylum Firmicutes, with 160 sequences identified as Clostridiales and one sequence identified as unclassified Firmicutes. The majority of the sequences (70%) were affiliated with the genus Clostridium. Aerobic heterotrophic cell counts on chocolate agar ranged between 5.0 × 104 to 1.6 × 106 colony forming units (cfu)/ml for the rectum swabs and 4.0 × 103 to 1.0 × 105 cfu/g for the faeces samples. The proportion of ampr bacteria ranged from 0% to 44%. All of 144 randomly selected ampr isolates tested positive for enzymatic β-lactamase activity. Three % of the ampr isolates from the rectal samples yielded positive results when screened for the presence of blaTEM genes by PCR. BlaTEM alleles were also detected by PCR in two out of three total faecal DNA samples from polar bears. Conclusion The bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bears in their natural environment in Svalbard is low compared to other animal species, with all obtained clones affiliating to Firmicutes. Furthermore, only low levels of blaTEM alleles were detected in contrast to their increasing prevalence in some clinical and commensal bacterial populations. PMID:20074323

  6. Temporal monitoring of liver and kidney lesions in contaminated East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1999-2010.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Letcher, Robert J; Leifsson, Pall S; Rigét, Frank F; Bechshøft, Thea Ø; Bossi, Rossana; Asmund, Gert; Dietz, Rune

    2012-11-01

    Organohalogen contaminants bioaccumulate to high concentrations in tissues of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). The exposure levels are in the order to be toxic to inner organs like liver and kidney. We therefore investigated the temporal development of lesions in liver (n=115) and kidney (n=122) samples from East Greenland polar bears taken over the 12 year period from 1999 to 2010. Seven liver and seven kidney lesions were observed of which six were age-related. Controlling for this, the analyses showed that hepatic steatosis and renal cell infiltrations, glomerular sclerosis and tubular hyperplasia decreased over the investigated time period (all ppolar bears. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. The utility of harvest recoveries of marked individuals to assess polar bear (Ursus maritimus) survival

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Laake, Jeff; Laidre, Kristin L.; Born, Erik W.; Atkinson, Stephen N.

    2012-01-01

    Management of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations requires the periodic assessment of life history metrics such as survival rate. This information is frequently obtained during short-term capture and marking efforts (e.g., over the course of three years) that result in hundreds of marked bears remaining in the population after active marking is finished. Using 10 additional years of harvest recovery subsequent to a period of active marking, we provide updated estimates of annual survival for polar bears in the Baffin Bay population of Greenland and Canada. Our analysis suggests a decline in survival of polar bears since the period of active marking that ended in 1997; some of the decline in survival can likely be attributed to a decline in springtime ice concentration over the continental shelf of Baffin Island. The variance around the survival estimates is comparatively high because of the declining number of marks available; therefore, results must be interpreted with caution. The variance of the estimates of survival increased most substantially in the sixth year post-marking. When survival estimates calculated with recovery-only and recapture-recovery data sets from the period of active marking were compared, survival rates were indistinguishable. However, for the period when fewer marks were available, survival estimates were lower using the recovery-only data set, which indicates that part of the decline we detected for 2003 – 09 may be due to using only harvest recovery data. Nevertheless, the decline in the estimates of survival is consistent with population projections derived from harvest numbers and earlier vital rates, as well as with an observed decline in the extent of sea ice habitat.

  8. Transthyretin-binding activity of contaminants in blood from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bytingsvik, Jenny; Simon, Eszter; Leonards, Pim E G; Lamoree, Marja; Lie, Elisabeth; Aars, Jon; Derocher, Andrew E; Wiig, Oystein; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Hamers, Timo

    2013-05-07

    We determined the transthyretin (TTR)-binding activity of blood-accumulating contaminants in blood plasma samples of approximately 4-months-old polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs from Svalbard sampled in 1998 and 2008. The TTR-binding activity was measured as thyroxine (T4)-like equivalents (T4-EQMeas). Our findings show that the TTR-binding activity related to contaminant levels was significantly lower (45%) in 2008 than in 1998 (mean ± standard error of mean: 1998, 2265 ± 231 nM; 2008, 1258 ± 170 nM). Although we cannot exclude a potential influence of between-year differences in capture location and cub body mass, our findings most likely reflect reductions of TTR-binding contaminants or their precursors in the arctic environment (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs]). The measured TTR-binding activity correlated positively with the cubs' plasma levels of hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs). No such association was found between TTR-binding activity and the plasma levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). The OH-PCBs explained 60 ± 7% and 54 ± 4% of the TTR-binding activity in 1998 and 2008, respectively, and PFASs explained ≤1.2% both years. Still, almost half the TTR-binding activity could not be explained by the contaminants we examined. The considerable levels of TTR-binding contaminants warrant further effect directed analysis (EDA) to identify the contaminants responsible for the unexplained part of the observed TTR-binding activity.

  9. A Review of Infectious Agents in Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) and Their Long-Term Ecological Relevance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fagre, Anna C; Patyk, Kelly A; Nol, Pauline; Atwood, Todd; Hueffer, Karsten; Duncan, Colleen

    2015-09-01

    Disease was a listing criterion for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008; it is therefore important to evaluate the current state of knowledge and identify any information gaps pertaining to diseases in polar bears. We conducted a systematic literature review focused on infectious agents and associated health impacts identified in polar bears. Overall, the majority of reports in free-ranging bears concerned serosurveys or fecal examinations with little to no information on associated health effects. In contrast, most reports documenting illness or pathology referenced captive animals and diseases caused by etiologic agents not representative of exposure opportunities in wild bears. As such, most of the available infectious disease literature has limited utility as a basis for development of future health assessment and management plans. Given that ecological change is a considerable risk facing polar bear populations, future work should focus on cumulative effects of multiple stressors that could impact polar bear population dynamics.

  10. Dental and Temporomandibular Joint Pathology of the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winer, J N; Arzi, B; Leale, D M; Kass, P H; Verstraete, F J M

    2016-01-01

    Museum specimens (maxillae and/or mandibles) from 317 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were examined macroscopically according to predefined criteria and 249 specimens were included in this study. The specimens were acquired between 1906 and 2011. There were 126 specimens (50.6%) from male animals, 93 (37.3%) from female animals and 30 (12.1%) from animals of unknown sex. The ages of the animals ranged from neonate to adult, with 125 adults (50.2%) and 124 young adults (49.8%) included and neonates/juveniles excluded from the study. The number of teeth available for examination was 7,638 (73.5%); 12.3% of teeth were absent artefactually, 0.8% were deemed absent due to acquired tooth loss and 13.4% were absent congenitally. With respect to tooth morphology, 20 teeth (0.26% of available teeth) in 18 specimens (7.2% of available specimens) were small vestigial structures with crowns that were flush with the level of surrounding alveolar bone. One supernumerary tooth and one tooth with enamel hypoplasia were encountered. Persistent deciduous teeth and teeth with an aberrant number of roots were not found. Relatively few teeth (3.7%) displayed attrition/abrasion, 90% of which were the maxillary and mandibular incisor teeth, in 41 polar bears (16.5%). Nearly twice as many adult specimens exhibited attrition/abrasion as those from young adults; significantly more males were affected than females. Dental fractures were noted in 52 polar bears, affecting 20.9% of specimens and 1.3% of the total number of teeth present. More adult polar bears had dental fractures than young adults. There were 21 specimens (8.4%) that displayed overt periapical disease, affecting a total of 24 dental alveoli (0.23%). Some degree of periodontitis was seen in 199 specimens (79.9%); however, only 12.6% of dental alveoli had bony changes indicative of periodontitis. Lesions consistent with temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA) were found in 23 specimens (9.2%). TMJ-OA was significantly

  11. The influence of climate variability on polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and ringed seal (Pusa hispida) population dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rosing-Asvid, A.

    2006-01-01

    Unusually high polar bear (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) predation on ringed seal (Pusa hispida (Schreber, 1775)) pups and increased survival of polar bear cubs during mild springs is documented in published articles. Strong predation on newborn ringed seal pups in early spring, however, is likely...... to lower the overall energy intake of polar bears if ringed seal pups are their main food, because the energetic value of ringed seal pups increases 7-8 times during the 6 week lactation period. So although hunting success in early spring increases cub survival during the period after den emergence......,when they are most vulnerable, it is likely to increase the number of starving bears later in the season. This negative-feedback effect of strong spring predation will not occur in areas where other seal species are abundant during summer, and polar bears in such areas are likely to exhibit population growth during...

  12. Age and seasonal variability of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in free-ranging East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dietz, Rune; Riget, Frank F.; Sonne, Christian; Letcher, Robert J.; Backus, Sean; Born, Erik W.; Kirkegaard, Maja; Muir, Derek C.G.

    2007-01-01

    Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analysed in adipose tissue from 92 East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled during 1999-2001. Mean ΣPBDE concentrations were 70 ng/g lipid weight (lw) (range: 22-192 ng/g lw) and showed no relationship with age or sex. Of the 32 analysed PBDE congeners; BDE47, BDE153, BDE99 and BDE100 dominated, and comprised 99.6% of the ΣPBDE concentration. The ΣPBDE concentration had a highly significant correlation with ΣPCB, ΣCHL, dieldrin, HCB and ΣHCH concentrations. We found a seasonal pattern of median ΣPBDE concentration with 1.2 to 1.8 times higher concentrations in March to July than the rest of the year. The seasonal variation also provides a clue to the seasonal exposure, bio-availability, toxic exposure and degradation. We suggest that future geographical PBDE data comparisons may not need corrections for sex or age, but such data sets should be corrected for seasonal variability, using the presented correctional trigonometric regression. - Mean ΣPBDE concentrations of East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were 69.5 ng/g lw (range: 21.7-192 ng/g lw) and showed a seasonal pattern with no relationship with age and sex

  13. Three decades (1983-2010) of contaminant trends in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Part 1: legacy organochlorine contaminants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank F; Sonne, Christian; Born, Erik W; Bechshøft, Thea; McKinney, Melissa A; Letcher, Robert J

    2013-09-01

    Legacy organochlorine contaminants were determined in adipose tissues from 294 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in East Greenland in 23 of the 28years between 1983 and 2010. Of 19 major legacy contaminants and congeners (ΣPCB, 4 PCB congeners (CB153, 180, 170/190), ΣDDT, p,p'-DDE, p,p' -DDD and p,p'-DDT, α- and β-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), HCB, octachlorostyrene, dieldrin, oxychlordane, cis- and trans-chlordane, cis- and trans-nonachlor, heptachlor epoxide and BB-153), 18 showed statistically significant average yearly declines of -4.4% (range: -2.0 to -10.8%/year) among subadult polar bears (i.e. femalespolar bear tissues. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Molecular phylogeny and SNP variation of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus) derived from genome sequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cronin, Matthew A; Rincon, Gonzalo; Meredith, Robert W; MacNeil, Michael D; Islas-Trejo, Alma; Cánovas, Angela; Medrano, Juan F

    2014-01-01

    We assessed the relationships of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus) with high throughput genomic sequencing data with an average coverage of 25× for each species. A total of 1.4 billion 100-bp paired-end reads were assembled using the polar bear and annotated giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) genome sequences as references. We identified 13.8 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the 3 species aligned to the polar bear genome. These data indicate that polar bears and brown bears share more SNP with each other than either does with black bears. Concatenation and coalescence-based analysis of consensus sequences of approximately 1 million base pairs of ultraconserved elements in the nuclear genome resulted in a phylogeny with black bears as the sister group to brown and polar bears, and all brown bears are in a separate clade from polar bears. Genotypes for 162 SNP loci of 336 bears from Alaska and Montana showed that the species are genetically differentiated and there is geographic population structure of brown and black bears but not polar bears.

  15. Three decades (1983-2010) of contaminant trends in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Part 2

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank F; Sonne, Christian

    2013-01-01

    Legacy organochlorine contaminants were determined in adipose tissues from 294 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in East Greenland in 23 of the 28years between 1983 and 2010. Of 19 major legacy contaminants and congeners (ΣPCB, 4 PCB congeners (CB153, 180, 170/190), ΣDDT, p,p'-DDE, p,p' -DDD...... and p,p'-DDT, α- and β-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), HCB, octachlorostyrene, dieldrin, oxychlordane, cis- and trans-chlordane, cis- and trans-nonachlor, heptachlor epoxide and BB-153), 18 showed statistically significant average yearly declines of -4.4% (range: -2.0 to -10.8%/year) among subadult polar...... bears (i.e. females...

  16. Characterization of blood lipoproteins and validation of cholesterol and triacylglycerol assays for free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, John P; Frank, Nicholas; Greller, Katie A; Harlow, Henry J; Ben-David, Merav

    2013-05-01

    Blood triacylglycerol (TG) and lipoproteins are important variables for evaluating nutritional status of wildlife, but measurements are often expensive and difficult. Performance of a small, portable blood analyzer intended for human medical diagnostics was evaluated in measuring these variables in plasma and serum from free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus), which are experiencing nutritional stress related to sea ice loss. The analyzer accurately tracked changes in concentration of total cholesterol (Ctotal), cholesterol associated with high-density lipoprotein (CHDL), and TG during a validation protocol of diluting samples and spiking them with exogenous cholesterol and glycerol. Values of Ctotal and TG agreed well with values obtained by other methods (ultracentrifugation followed by colorimetric assays); agreement was variable for values of cholesterol associated with specific lipoproteins. Similar to a study of captive polar bears, ultracentrifugation methods revealed greater TG in very low-density lipoproteins than in low-density lipoprotein, which is unusual and merits additional study.

  17. Geographical distribution of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Norwegian and Russian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lie, E.; Bernhoft, A.; Riget, F.; Belikov, Stanislav; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Derocher, A.E.; Garner, G.W.; Wiig, O.; Skaare, J.U.

    2003-01-01

    Geographical variation of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) was studied in blood samples from 90 adult female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Kara Sea, East-Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea. In all regions, oxychlordane was the dominant OCP. Regional differences in mean levels of HCB, oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor, ??-HCH, ??-HCH and p,p???-DDE were found. The highest levels of oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and DDE were found in polar bears from Franz Josef Land and Kara Sea. HCB level was lowest in polar bears from Svalbard. Polar bears from Chukchi Sea had the highest level of ??- and ??-HCH. The lowest ??-HCH concentration was found in bears from Kara Sea. In all the bears, ???HCHs was dominated by ??-HCH. The geographical variation in OCP levels and pattern may suggest regional differences in pollution sources and different feeding habits in the different regions. Polar bears from the Western Russian Arctic were exposed to higher levels of chlordanes and p,p???-DDE than polar bears from locations westwards and eastwards from this region. This may imply the presence of a significant pollution source in the Russian Arctic area. The study suggests that the western Russian Arctic is the most contaminated region of the Arctic and warrants further research. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Influence of carbon and lipid sources on variation of mercury and other trace elements in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Routti, Heli; Letcher, Robert J; Born, Erik W; Branigan, Marsha; Dietz, Rune; Evans, Thomas J; McKinney, Melissa A; Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonne, Christian

    2012-12-01

    In the present study, the authors investigated the influence of carbon and lipid sources on regional differences in liver trace element (As, Cd, Cu, total Hg, Mn, Pb, Rb, Se, and Zn) concentrations measured in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) (n = 121) from 10 Alaskan, Canadian Arctic, and East Greenland subpopulations. Carbon and lipid sources were assessed using δ(13) C in muscle tissue and fatty acid (FA) profiles in subcutaneous adipose tissue as chemical tracers. A negative relationship between total Hg and δ(13) C suggested that polar bears feeding in areas with higher riverine inputs of terrestrial carbon accumulate more Hg than bears feeding in areas with lower freshwater input. Mercury concentrations were also positively related to the FA 20:1n-9, which is biosynthesized in large amounts in Calanus copepods. This result raises the hypothesis that Calanus glacialis are an important link in the uptake of Hg in the marine food web and ultimately in polar bears. Unadjusted total Hg, Se, and As concentrations showed greater geographical variation among polar bear subpopulations compared with concentrations adjusted for carbon and lipid sources. The Hg concentrations adjusted for carbon and lipid sources in Bering-Chukchi Sea polar bear liver tissue remained the lowest among subpopulations. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that carbon and lipid sources for polar bears should be taken into account when one is assessing spatial and temporal trends of long-range transported trace elements. Copyright © 2012 SETAC.

  19. Long-distance swimming by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea during years of extensive open water

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) depend on sea ice for catching marine mammal prey. Recent sea-ice declines have been linked to reductions in body condition, survival, and population size. Reduced foraging opportunity is hypothesized to be the primary cause of sea-ice-linked declines, but the costs of travel through a deteriorated sea-ice environment also may be a factor. We used movement data from 52 adult female polar bears wearing Global Positioning System (GPS) collars, including some with dependent young, to document long-distance swimming (>50 km) by polar bears in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas. During 6 years (2004-2009), we identified 50 long-distance swims by 20 bears. Swim duration and distance ranged from 0.7 to 9.7 days (mean = 3.4 days) and 53.7 to 687.1 km (mean = 154.2 km), respectively. Frequency of swimming appeared to increase over the course of the study. We show that adult female polar bears and their cubs are capable of swimming long distances during periods when extensive areas of open water are present. However, long-distance swimming appears to have higher energetic demands than moving over sea ice. Our observations suggest long-distance swimming is a behavioral response to declining summer sea-ice conditions.

  20. Prevalence and spatio-temporal variation of an alopecia syndrome in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd C.; Peacock, Elizabeth; Burek, K.A.; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.; Bodenstein, Barbara L.; Beckmen, Kimberlee B.; Durner, George M.

    2015-01-01

    Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species and has potential energetic consequences for sustaining a normal core body temperature, especially for Arctic marine mammals routinely exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on a thick layer of adipose tissue and a dense pelage to ameliorate convective heat loss while moving between sea ice and open water. From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied by exudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures, and the apparent prevalence varied by years with peaks occurring in 1999 (16%) and 2012 (28%). The probability that a bear had alopecia was greatest for subadults and for bears captured in the Prudhoe Bay region, and alopecic individuals had a lower body condition score than unaffected individuals. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates.

  1. Catalogue of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal den locations in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring regions, Alaska, 1910-2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Douglas, David C.

    2010-01-01

    This report presents data on the approximate locations and methods of discovery of 392 polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal dens found in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring regions between 1910 and 2010 that are archived by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska. A description of data collection methods, biases associated with collection method, primary time periods, and spatial resolution are provided. Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea and nearby regions den on both the sea ice and on land. Standardized VHF surveys and satellite radio telemetry data provide a general understanding of where polar bears have denned in this region over the past 3 decades. Den observations made during other research activities and anecdotal reports from other government agencies, coastal residents, and industry personnel also are reported. Data on past polar bear maternal den locations are provided to inform the public and to provide information for natural resource agencies in planning activities to avoid or minimize interference with polar bear maternity dens.

  2. Prevalence and spatio-temporal variation of an alopecia syndrome in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd; Peacock, Elizabeth; Burek-Huntington, Kathy; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie; Bodenstein, Barbara; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Durner, George

    2015-01-01

    Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species and has potential energetic consequences for sustaining a normal core body temperature, especially for Arctic marine mammals routinely exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on a thick layer of adipose tissue and a dense pelage to ameliorate convective heat loss while moving between sea ice and open water. From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied by exudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures, and the apparent prevalence varied by years with peaks occurring in 1999 (16%) and 2012 (28%). The probability that a bear had alopecia was greatest for subadults and for bears captured in the Prudhoe Bay region, and alopecic individuals had a lower body condition score than unaffected individuals. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates.

  3. Population genetic studies of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus): A summary of available data and interpretation of results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scribner, Kim T.; Garner, G.W.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Cronin, M.A.; Dizon, Andrew E.; Chivers, Susan J.; Perrin, William F.

    1997-01-01

    A summary of existing population genetics literature is presented for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and interpreted in the context of the species' life-history characteristics and regional heterogeneity in environmental regimes and movement patterns. Several nongenetic data sets including morphology, contaminant levels, geographic variation in reproductive characteristics, and the location and distribution of open-water foraging habitat suggest some degree of spatial structuring. Eleven populations are recognized by the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group. Few genetics studies exist for polar bears. Interpretation and generalizations of regional variation in intra- and interpopulation levels of genetic variability are confounded by the paucity of data from many regions and by the fact that no single informative genetic marker has been employed in multiple regions. Early allozyme studies revealed comparatively low levels of genetic variability and no compelling evidence of spatial structuring. Studies employing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) also found low levels of genetic variation, a lack of phylogenetic structure, and no significant evidence for spatial variation in haplotype frequency. In contrast, microsatellite variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) loci have revealed significant heterogeneity in allele frequency among populations in the Canadian Arctic. These regions are characterized by archipelgic patterns of sea-ice movements. Further studies using highly polymorphic loci are needed in regions characterized by greater polar bear dependency on pelagic sea-ice movements and in regions for which no data currently exist (i.e., Laptev and Novaya Zemlya/Franz Josef).

  4. Tissue-specific congener composition of organohalogen and metabolite contaminants in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gebbink, Wouter A.; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Kirkegaard, Maja; Riget, Frank F.; Born, Erik W.; Muir, Derek C.G.; Letcher, Robert J.

    2008-01-01

    Congener patterns of the major organohalogen contaminant classes of PCBs, PBDEs and their metabolites and/or by-products (OH-PCBs, MeSO 2 -PCBs, OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs) were examined in adipose tissue, liver, brain and blood of East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PCB, OH-PCB, MeSO 2 -PCB and PBDE congener patterns showed significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) mainly in the liver and the brain relative to the adipose tissue and the blood. OH-PBDEs and MeO-PBDEs were not detected in the brain and liver, but had different patterns in blood versus the adipose tissue. Novel OH-polybrominated biphenyls (OH-PBBs), one tri- and two tetra-brominated OH-PBBs were detected in all tissues and blood. Congener pattern differences among tissues and blood are likely due to a combination of factors, e.g., biotransformation and retention in the liver, retention in the blood and blood-brain barrier transport. Our findings suggest that different congener pattern exposures to these classes of contaminants should be considered with respect to potential target tissue-specific effects in East Greenland polar bears. - Tissues-specific (adipose tissue, liver, brain and blood) differences exist for the congener patterns of PCBs, PBDEs and their metabolites/degradation products in East Greenland polar bears

  5. Are liver and renal lesions in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus associated with high mercury levels?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Born Erik W

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background In the Arctic, polar bears (Ursus maritimus bio-accumulate mercury as they prey on polluted ringed seals (Phoca hispida and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus. Studies have shown that polar bears from East Greenland are among the most mercury polluted species in the Arctic. It is unknown whether these levels are toxic to liver and kidney tissue. Methods We investigated the histopathological impact from anthropogenic long-range transported mercury on East Greenland polar bear liver (n = 59 and kidney (n = 57 tissues. Results Liver mercury levels ranged from 1.1–35.6 μg/g wet weight and renal levels ranged from 1–50 μg/g wet weight, of which 2 liver values and 9 kidney values were above known toxic threshold level of 30 μg/g wet weight in terrestrial mammals. Evaluated from age-correcting ANCOVA analyses, liver mercury levels were significantly higher in individuals with visible Ito cells (p Conclusion Based on these relationships and the nature of the chronic inflammation we conclude that the lesions were likely a result of recurrent infections and ageing but that long-term exposure to mercury could not be excluded as a co-factor. The information is important as it is likely that tropospheric mercury depletion events will continue to increase the concentrations of this toxic heavy metal in the Sub Arctic and Arctic marine food webs.

  6. Three decades (1983-2010) of contaminant trends in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Part 2: brominated flame retardants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank F; Sonne, Christian; Born, Erik W; Bechshøft, Thea; McKinney, Melissa A; Drimmie, Robert J; Muir, Derek C G; Letcher, Robert J

    2013-09-01

    Brominated flame retardants were determined in adipose tissues from 294 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in East Greenland in 23 of the 28years between 1983 and 2010. Significant linear increases were found for sum polybrominated diphenyl ether (ΣPBDE), BDE100, BDE153, and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). Average increases of 5.0% per year (range: 2.9-7.6%/year) were found for the subadult polar bears. BDE47 and BDE99 concentrations did not show a significant linear trend over time, but rather a significant non-linear trend peaking between 2000 and 2004. The average ΣPBDE concentrations increased 2.3 fold from 25.0ng/g lw (95% C.I.: 15.3-34.7ng/g lw) in 1983-1986 to 58.5ng/g lw (95% C.I.: 43.6-73.4ng/g lw) in 2006-2010. Similar but fewer statistically significant trends were found for adult females and adult males likely due to smaller sample size and years. Analyses of δ(15)N and δ(13)C stable isotopes in hair revealed no clear linear temporal trends in trophic level or carbon source, respectively, and non-linear trends differed among sex and age groups. These increasing concentrations of organobromine contaminants contribute to complex organohalogen mixture, already causing health effects to the East Greenland polar bears. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  7. Genetic variation, relatedness, and effective population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cronin, Matthew A.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, George K.; Amstrup, Kristin S.

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are unique among bears in that they are adapted to the Arctic sea ice environment. Genetic data are useful for understanding their evolution and can contribute to management. We assessed parentage and relatedness of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, with genetic data and field observations of age, sex, and mother–offspring and sibling relationships. Genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci for 226 bears indicate that genetic variation is comparable to other populations of polar bears with mean number of alleles per locus of 7.9 and observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.71. The genetic data verified 60 field-identified mother–offspring pairs and identified 10 additional mother–cub pairs and 48 father–offspring pairs. The entire sample of related and unrelated bears had a mean pairwise relatedness index (rxy) of approximately zero, parent–offspring and siblings had rxy of approximately 0.5, and 5.2% of the samples had rxy values within the range expected for parent-offspring. Effective population size (Ne= 277) and the ratio of Ne to total population size (Ne/N = 0.182) were estimated from the numbers of reproducing males and females. Ne estimates with genetic methods gave variable results. Our results verify and expand field data on reproduction by females and provide new data on reproduction by males and estimates of relatedness and Ne in a polar bear population.

  8. Skull pathology in East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1892 to 2002 in relation to organochlorine pollution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sonne, Christian; Riget, Frank F.; Dietz, Rune; Wiig, Oystein; Kirkegaard, Maja; Born, Erik W.

    2007-01-01

    East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are heavily polluted with long-range transported organochlorines such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). To investigate the negative health impacts, a time-trend study of skull pathology was conducted on 269 East Greenland and 241 Svalbard polar bears. The skulls were sampled during 1892-2002 and 1964-1992, respectively. Seven different pathological changes were found: adonti, displacement of teeth, caries, osseous proliferations, exostosis, tooth wear and periodontitis. Only tooth wear and periodontitis was in a prevalence that allowed statistical treatment. The most severe cases of tooth wear and periodontitis were accompanied by a substantial loss of alveolar bone structure. The prevalence of tooth wear and periodontitis increased significantly with age (p < 0.001) with incisor wear being more severe than in canines, premolars and molars (p < 0.001). No sex difference was found for tooth wear (p = 0.22) while a significant difference between sexes was found for periodontitis (p = 0.01) with males having higher prevalence than females (odds ratio of 2.5 for males:females). In East Greenland, the prevalence of tooth wear was significantly higher in polar bears collected in the pre pollution period (< 1960) than in bears sampled during polluted periods (1960-1980 and 1981-2002) (p < 0.001). Regarding periodontitis, the prevalence was not significantly different between pre-pollution and pollution periods (p = 0.309). Polar bears from Svalbard had significantly higher prevalence of tooth wear (p < 0.001) and periodontitis (p = 0.02) than polar bears from East Greenland. The tooth wear and periodontitis odds ratios for Svalbard:East Greenland were 135 and 2.6, respectively. Hence, we found a clear age/sex link and geographical difference but no evidence for an association between skull pathology and exposure to organochlorines in East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears

  9. Skull pathology in East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1892 to 2002 in relation to organochlorine pollution

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sonne, Christian [National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Arctic Environment, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde (Denmark) and Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Buelowsvej 17, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C (Denmark)]. E-mail: csh@dmu.dk; Riget, Frank F. [National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Arctic Environment, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde (Denmark); Dietz, Rune [National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Arctic Environment, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde (Denmark); Wiig, Oystein [Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, PO Box 1172 Blindern, N-0562 Oslo (Norway); Kirkegaard, Maja [National Environmental Research Institute, Department of Arctic Environment, Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000 Roskilde (Denmark); Born, Erik W. [Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, PO Box 570, DK-3900 Nuuk, Greenland (Denmark)

    2007-01-01

    East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are heavily polluted with long-range transported organochlorines such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). To investigate the negative health impacts, a time-trend study of skull pathology was conducted on 269 East Greenland and 241 Svalbard polar bears. The skulls were sampled during 1892-2002 and 1964-1992, respectively. Seven different pathological changes were found: adonti, displacement of teeth, caries, osseous proliferations, exostosis, tooth wear and periodontitis. Only tooth wear and periodontitis was in a prevalence that allowed statistical treatment. The most severe cases of tooth wear and periodontitis were accompanied by a substantial loss of alveolar bone structure. The prevalence of tooth wear and periodontitis increased significantly with age (p < 0.001) with incisor wear being more severe than in canines, premolars and molars (p < 0.001). No sex difference was found for tooth wear (p = 0.22) while a significant difference between sexes was found for periodontitis (p = 0.01) with males having higher prevalence than females (odds ratio of 2.5 for males:females). In East Greenland, the prevalence of tooth wear was significantly higher in polar bears collected in the pre pollution period (< 1960) than in bears sampled during polluted periods (1960-1980 and 1981-2002) (p < 0.001). Regarding periodontitis, the prevalence was not significantly different between pre-pollution and pollution periods (p = 0.309). Polar bears from Svalbard had significantly higher prevalence of tooth wear (p < 0.001) and periodontitis (p = 0.02) than polar bears from East Greenland. The tooth wear and periodontitis odds ratios for Svalbard:East Greenland were 135 and 2.6, respectively. Hence, we found a clear age/sex link and geographical difference but no evidence for an association between skull pathology and exposure to organochlorines in East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears.

  10. Genetic variation, relatedness, and effective population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cronin, Matthew A; Amstrup, Steven C; Talbot, Sandra L; Sage, George K; Amstrup, Kristin S

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are unique among bears in that they are adapted to the Arctic sea ice environment. Genetic data are useful for understanding their evolution and can contribute to management. We assessed parentage and relatedness of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, with genetic data and field observations of age, sex, and mother-offspring and sibling relationships. Genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci for 226 bears indicate that genetic variation is comparable to other populations of polar bears with mean number of alleles per locus of 7.9 and observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.71. The genetic data verified 60 field-identified mother-offspring pairs and identified 10 additional mother-cub pairs and 48 father-offspring pairs. The entire sample of related and unrelated bears had a mean pairwise relatedness index (r(xy)) of approximately zero, parent-offspring and siblings had r(xy) of approximately 0.5, and 5.2% of the samples had r(xy) values within the range expected for parent-offspring. Effective population size (N(e) = 277) and the ratio of N(e) to total population size (N(e)/N = 0.182) were estimated from the numbers of reproducing males and females. N(e) estimates with genetic methods gave variable results. Our results verify and expand field data on reproduction by females and provide new data on reproduction by males and estimates of relatedness and N(e) in a polar bear population.

  11. Demographic and temporal variations in immunity and condition of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the southern Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuman-Lee, Lorin; Terletzky, Patricia; Atwood, Todd C.; Gese, Eric; Smith, Geoffrey; Greenfield, Sydney; Pettit, John; French, Susannah

    2017-01-01

    Assessing the health and condition of animals in their natural environment can be problematic. Many physiological metrics, including immunity, are highly influenced by specific context and recent events to which researchers may be unaware. Thus, using a multifaceted physiological approach and a context-specific analysis encompassing multiple time scales can be highly informative. Ecoimmunological tools in particular can provide important indications to the health of animals in the wild. We collected blood and hair samples from free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea and examined the influence of sex, age, and reproductive status on metrics of immunity, stress, and body condition during 2013–2015. We examined metrics of innate immunity (bactericidal ability and lysis) and stress (hair cortisol, reactive oxygen species, and oxidative barrier), in relation to indices of body condition considered to be short term (urea to creatinine ratio; UC ratio) and long term (storage energy and body mass index). We found the factors of sex, age, and reproductive status of the bear were critical for interpreting different physiological metrics. Additionally, the metrics of body condition were important predictors for stress indicators. Finally, many of these metrics differed between years, illustrating the need to examine populations on a longer time scale. Taken together, this study demonstrates the complex relationship between multiple facets of physiology and how interpretation requires us to examine individuals within a specific context.

  12. Brain region distribution and patterns of bioaccumulative perfluoroalkyl carboxylates and sulfonates in east greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greaves, Alana K; Letcher, Robert J; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune

    2013-03-01

    The present study investigated the comparative accumulation of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in eight brain regions of polar bears (Ursus maritimus, n = 19) collected in 2006 from Scoresby Sound, East Greenland. The PFAAs studied were perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs, C(6) -C(15) chain lengths) and sulfonates (C(4) , C(6) , C(8) , and C(10) chain lengths) as well as selected precursors including perfluorooctane sulfonamide. On a wet-weight basis, blood-brain barrier transport of PFAAs occurred for all brain regions, although inner regions of the brain closer to incoming blood flow (pons/medulla, thalamus, and hypothalamus) contained consistently higher PFAA concentrations compared to outer brain regions (cerebellum, striatum, and frontal, occipital, and temporal cortices). For pons/medulla, thalamus, and hypothalamus, the most concentrated PFAAs were perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), ranging from 47 to 58 ng/g wet weight, and perfluorotridecanoic acid, ranging from 43 to 49 ng/g wet weight. However, PFOS and the longer-chain PFCAs (C(10) -C(15) ) were significantly (p  0.05) different among brain regions. The burden of the sum of PFCAs, perfluoroalkyl sulfonates, and perfluorooctane sulfonamide in the brain (average mass, 392 g) was estimated to be 46 µg. The present study demonstrates that both PFCAs and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates cross the blood-brain barrier in polar bears and that wet-weight concentrations are brain region-specific. Copyright © 2012 SETAC.

  13. Traditional Knowledge About Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus in East Greenland: Changes in the Catch and Climate Over Two Decades

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristin L. Laidre

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available In Greenland, polar bears (Ursus maritimus are nutritional, economic, and cultural subsistence resources for Inuit. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK collected from subsistence hunters can provide important insights and improve management decisions when collected systematically. We report on the results of a TEK survey of subsistence polar bear hunters living in the areas around Tasiilaq and Ittoqqortoormiit, East Greenland. Twenty-five full-time polar bear hunters were interviewed between December 2014 and March 2015 in a conversation-style interview, where a local interviewer fluent in the East Greenlandic dialect asked a series of 55 predetermined questions. The primary goals were to (1 gather Inuit perspectives on polar bear subsistence quotas and hunting strategies, (2 understand how climate change is affecting the polar bear subsistence hunt, and (3 document observed changes in polar bear distribution, abundance, and biology. Approximately 40% of the Tasiilaq respondents had caught between 10 and 19 polar bears in their lifetime, while 67% of Ittoqqortoormiit respondents reported lifetime catches of ≥20 bears. In both areas, polar bears were most commonly hunted between February and April. Hunters noted large changes to the climate in the areas where they hunt polar bears. Most hunters reported loss of sea ice, receding glaciers, unstable weather, and warmer temperatures. In Tasiilaq 73% of the hunters said climate changes had affected the polar bear hunt and in Ittoqqortoormiit about 88% of respondents reported the same. Hunters indicated that sea ice loss has created more areas of open water so dog sledges have become unsafe for hunting transportation compared to 10–15 years ago (reported by 100% of hunters in Tasiilaq and 80% in Ittoqqortoormiit. In Ittoqqortoormiit, the distance traveled during polar bear hunting trips has decreased dramatically. In both areas hunters noted that more polar bears are coming into their

  14. Design of a 9K illumina BeadChip for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from RAD and transcriptome sequencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malenfant, René M; Coltman, David W; Davis, Corey S

    2015-05-01

    Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) offer numerous advantages over anonymous markers such as microsatellites, including improved estimation of population parameters, finer-scale resolution of population structure and more precise genomic dissection of quantitative traits. However, many SNPs are needed to equal the resolution of a single microsatellite, and reliable large-scale genotyping of SNPs remains a challenge in nonmodel species. Here, we document the creation of a 9K Illumina Infinium BeadChip for polar bears (Ursus maritimus), which will be used to investigate: (i) the fine-scale population structure among Canadian polar bears and (ii) the genomic architecture of phenotypic traits in the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation. To this end, we used restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing from 38 bears across their circumpolar range, as well as blood/fat transcriptome sequencing of 10 individuals from Western Hudson Bay. Six-thousand RAD SNPs and 3000 transcriptomic SNPs were selected for the chip, based primarily on genomic spacing and gene function respectively. Of the 9000 SNPs ordered from Illumina, 8042 were successfully printed, and - after genotyping 1450 polar bears - 5441 of these SNPs were found to be well clustered and polymorphic. Using this array, we show rapid linkage disequilibrium decay among polar bears, we demonstrate that in a subsample of 78 individuals, our SNPs detect known genetic structure more clearly than 24 microsatellites genotyped for the same individuals and that these results are not driven by the SNP ascertainment scheme. Here, we present one of the first large-scale genotyping resources designed for a threatened species. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. Differences in mercury bioaccumulation between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian high- and sub-Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    St Louis, Vincent L; Derocher, Andrew E; Stirling, Ian; Graydon, Jennifer A; Lee, Caroline; Jocksch, Erin; Richardson, Evan; Ghorpade, Sarah; Kwan, Alvin K; Kirk, Jane L; Lehnherr, Igor; Swanson, Heidi K

    2011-07-15

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are being impacted by climate change and increased exposure to pollutants throughout their northern circumpolar range. In this study, we quantified concentrations of total mercury (THg) in the hair of polar bears from Canadian high- (southern Beaufort Sea, SBS) and sub- (western Hudson Bay, WHB) Arctic populations. Concentrations of THg in polar bears from the SBS population (14.8 ± 6.6 μg g(-1)) were significantly higher than in polar bears from WHB (4.1 ± 1.0 μg g(-1)). On the basis of δ(15)N signatures in hair, in conjunction with published δ(15)N signatures in particulate organic matter and sediments, we estimated that the pelagic and benthic food webs in the SBS are ∼ 4.7 and ∼ 4.0 trophic levels long, whereas in WHB they are only ∼ 3.6 and ∼ 3.3 trophic levels long. Furthermore, the more depleted δ(13)C ratios in hair from SBS polar bears relative to those from WHB suggests that SBS polar bears feed on food webs that are relatively more pelagic (and longer), whereas polar bears from WHB feed on those that are relatively more benthic (and shorter). Food web length and structure accounted for ∼ 67% of the variation we found in THg concentrations among all polar bears across both populations. The regional difference in polar bear hair THg concentrations was also likely due to regional differences in water-column concentrations of methyl Hg (the toxic form of Hg that biomagnifies through food webs) available for bioaccumulation at the base of the food webs. For example, concentrations of methylated Hg at mid-depths in the marine water column of the northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago were 79.8 ± 37.3 pg L(-1), whereas, in HB, they averaged only 38.3 ± 16.6 pg L(-1). We conclude that a longer food web and higher pelagic concentrations of methylated Hg available to initiate bioaccumulation in the BS resulted in higher concentrations of THg in polar bears from the SBS region compared to those inhabiting the western

  16. Exposure to mixtures of organohalogen contaminants and associative interactions with thyroid hormones in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Villanger, Gro D; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Fjeldberg, Rita R; Letcher, Robert J; Muir, Derek C G; Kirkegaard, Maja; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune

    2011-05-01

    We investigated the multivariate relationships between adipose tissue residue levels of 48 individual organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) and circulating thyroid hormone (TH) levels in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland (1999-2001, n=62), using projection to latent structure (PLS) regression for four groupings of polar bears; subadults (SubA), adult females with cubs (AdF_N), adult females without cubs (AdF_S) and adult males (AdM). In the resulting significant PLS models for SubA, AdF_N and AdF_S, some OHCs were especially important in explaining variations in circulating TH levels: polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE)-99, PBDE-100, PBDE-153, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-52, PCB-118, cis-nonachlor, trans-nonachlor, trichlorobenzene (TCB) and pentachlorobenzene (QCB), and both negative and positive relationships with THs were found. In addition, the models revealed that DDTs had a positive influence on total 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (TT3) in AdF_S, and that a group of 17 higher chlorinated ortho-PCBs had a positive influence on total 3,5,3',5'-tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine, TT4) in AdF_N. TH levels in AdM seemed less influenced by OHCs because of non-significant PLS models. TH levels were also influenced by biological factors such as age, sex, body size, lipid content of adipose tissue and sampling date. When controlling for biological variables, the major relationships from the PLS models for SubA, AdF_N and AdF_S were found significant in partial correlations. The most important OHCs that influenced TH levels in the significant PLS models may potentially act through similar mechanisms on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, suggesting that both combined effects by dose and response addition and perhaps synergistic potentiation may be a possibility in these polar bears. Statistical associations are not evidence per se of biological cause-effect relationships. Still, the results of the present study indicate that OHCs may affect circulating

  17. Prevalence of antibodies against Brucella spp. in West Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and East Greenland muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Andersen-Ranberg, Emilie; Rajala, Elisabeth L.

    2018-01-01

    impact on human health due to consumption of raw meat or otherwise contact with tissues and fluids of infected game species such as muskoxen and polar bears. Here, we present serological results for Baffin Bay polar bears (Ursus maritimus) (n = 96) and North East Greenland muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) (n...

  18. Longitudinal fecal hormone analysis for monitoring reproductive activity in the female polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoops, M A; MacKinnon, K M; Roth, T L

    2012-12-01

    The objective was to identify suitable enzyme immunoassays to monitor gonadal and placental function in the female polar bear. Immunoreactive progesterone, progesterone metabolite (PdG), estrogen, and androgen metabolite (T) concentrations were measured in fecal samples collected over 24 mo from captive female bears (N = 20). Whereas fecal extracts produced displacement curves parallel to the standard curve for each respective steroid, T and PdG more accurately reflected reproductive events. Concentrations of fecal T increased (P bears excreted higher PdG concentrations (P bears also had a PdG rise in the Fall, suggesting they experienced either pregnancy loss or a pseudopregnancy. Differentiating pregnant and pseudopregnant states was not achieved using fecal PdG alone, but when combined with fecal T, comprehensive diagnoses could be made. Nonparturient bears demonstrated elevated (P bears did not. In summary, noninvasive hormone monitoring techniques were established for the female polar bear. Although this study was directed at facilitating management and breeding efforts of captive polar bears, the methods could be applied to studies of reproductive function in wild populations. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Xenoendocrine pollutants may reduce size of sexual organs in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Leifsson, Páll Skuli; Dietz, Rune

    2006-01-01

    Reproductive organs from 55 male and 44 female East Greenland polar bears were examined to investigate the potential negative impact from organohalogen pollutants (OHCs). Multiple regressions normalizing for age showed a significant inverse relationship between OHCs and testis length and baculum.......01) and uterine horn length and HCB (p = 0.02). The study suggests thatthere is an impact from xenoendocrine pollutants on the size of East Greenland polar bear genitalia. This may pose a riskto this polar bear subpopulation in the future because of reduced sperm and egg quality/quantity and uterus and penis size...

  20. Ovulation induction and artificial insemination of a captive polar bear (Ursus maritimus) using fresh semen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curry, Erin; Wyatt, Jeff; Sorel, Lawrence J; MacKinnon, Katherine M; Roth, Terri L

    2014-09-01

    In 2008, polar bears were listed as a species threatened with extinction by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, reproductive success has been poor despite breeding recommendations for almost every reproductively viable bear by the Species Survival Plan. Assisted reproductive technologies could complement breeding efforts by overcoming the challenges of behavioral incompatibilities and deficiencies, facilitating genetic management and increasing cub production. The goal of this study was to artificially inseminate a female polar bear after inducing ovarian activity and ovulation with exogenous hormones (equine chorionic gonadotropin and porcine luteinizing hormone). Fresh semen collected from an adult male via electroejaculation/urethral catheterization was used for the insemination. Fecal steroid monitoring indicated that the female ovulated following the exogenous hormone treatment. Progestin concentrations increased in late summer, at the time implantation was expected to occur; however, no cubs were produced. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of ovulation induction and artificial insemination in a polar bear.

  1. Xenoestrogenic and dioxin-like activity in blood of East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Erdmann, Simon Erik; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian

    2013-01-01

    The aims of the project were to (i) extract the lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the blood of 99 East Greenland polar bears and assess the combined mixture effect on the estrogen receptor (ER) and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) mediated transactivity; (ii) To evaluate...... whether the receptor transactivities were associated with selected POP markers, and (iii) compare the receptor transactivities in polar bears with earlier studies on Greenlandic Inuit. Lipophilic POPs were extracted using a combination of solid-phase extraction (SPE) and high performance liquid...... induced ER response. Positive correlations were found in subadult bears between XER and several POP biomarkers. XER and XERcomp correlated positively to each other. A total of 91% of the polar bear blood extracts elicited agonistic AhR transactivity. The AhR-TCDD equivalent (AhR-TEQ) median levels were...

  2. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Akçakaya, H. Resit; Amstrup, Steven C.; Atwood, Todd C.; Lunn, Nicholas J.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Stern, Harry; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Wiig, Øystein

    2016-01-01

    Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout their range. We evaluated the potential response of polar bears to sea-ice declines by (i) calculating generation length (GL) for the species, which determines the timeframe for conservation assessments; (ii) developing a standardized sea-ice metric representing important habitat; and (iii) using statistical models and computer simulation to project changes in the global population under three approaches relating polar bear abundance to sea ice. Mean GL was 11.5 years. Ice-covered days declined in all subpopulation areas during 1979–2014 (median −1.26 days year−1). The estimated probabilities that reductions in the mean global population size of polar bears will be greater than 30%, 50% and 80% over three generations (35–41 years) were 0.71 (range 0.20–0.95), 0.07 (range 0–0.35) and less than 0.01 (range 0–0.02), respectively. According to IUCN Red List reduction thresholds, which provide a common measure of extinction risk across taxa, these results are consistent with listing the species as vulnerable. Our findings support the potential for large declines in polar bear numbers owing to sea-ice loss, and highlight near-term uncertainty in statistical projections as well as the sensitivity of projections to different plausible assumptions.

  3. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V; Laidre, Kristin L; Akçakaya, H Resit; Amstrup, Steven C; Atwood, Todd C; Lunn, Nicholas J; Obbard, Martyn; Stern, Harry; Thiemann, Gregory W; Wiig, Øystein

    2016-12-01

    Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout their range. We evaluated the potential response of polar bears to sea-ice declines by (i) calculating generation length (GL) for the species, which determines the timeframe for conservation assessments; (ii) developing a standardized sea-ice metric representing important habitat; and (iii) using statistical models and computer simulation to project changes in the global population under three approaches relating polar bear abundance to sea ice. Mean GL was 11.5 years. Ice-covered days declined in all subpopulation areas during 1979-2014 (median -1.26 days year -1 ). The estimated probabilities that reductions in the mean global population size of polar bears will be greater than 30%, 50% and 80% over three generations (35-41 years) were 0.71 (range 0.20-0.95), 0.07 (range 0-0.35) and less than 0.01 (range 0-0.02), respectively. According to IUCN Red List reduction thresholds, which provide a common measure of extinction risk across taxa, these results are consistent with listing the species as vulnerable. Our findings support the potential for large declines in polar bear numbers owing to sea-ice loss, and highlight near-term uncertainty in statistical projections as well as the sensitivity of projections to different plausible assumptions. © 2016 The Authors.

  4. Mercury speciation in brain tissue of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krey, Anke; Kwan, Michael; Chan, Hing Man

    2012-04-01

    Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxicant that has been found at elevated concentrations in the Arctic ecosystem. Little is known about its internal dose in wildlife such as polar bears. We measured concentrations of mercury (Hg) in three different brain regions (cerebellum, frontal lobe and brain stem) of 24 polar bears collected from the Nunavik, Canada between 2000 and 2003. Speciation of Hg was measured by High Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (HPLC-ICP-MS). Concentrations of mean total Hg in brain tissue were up to 625 times lower (0.28 ± 0.07 mg kg(-1) dry weight (dw) in frontal lobe, 0.23 ± 0.07 mg kg(-1) dw in cerebellum and 0.12 ± 0.0 3mg kg(-1) dw in brain stem) than the mean total Hg concentration previously reported in polar bear liver collected from Eastern Baffin Island. Methylmercury (MeHg) accounted for 100% of the Hg found in all three brain regions analyzed. These results suggest that polar bear might reduce the toxic effects of Hg by limiting the uptake into the brain and/or decrease the rate of demethylation so that Hg can be excreted from the brain more easily. The toxicokinetics and the blood-brain-barrier mechanisms of polar bears are still unknown and further research is required. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus mating during late June on the pack ice of northern Svalbard, Norway

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas G. Smith

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Polar bears are seasonal breeders and typically mate from late March to early May. Implantation is, however, delayed until autumn, which can allow plasticity in the date of mating. As for other seasonal breeders, a rapid return to estrus after the loss of dependent offspring can be expected, even into the summer. A few earlier observations and dissections of dead animals suggest that polar bears are able to mate in summer. We report on a mating incident on 29 June 2014, the first documented mating this late in the season among wild polar bears. The female had lost her dependent cub during the period prior to the mating event. We speculate that she lost this cub late in the mating season, entered estrus and successfully mated in late June.

  6. Xenoendocrine pollutants May Reduce Size of Sexual Organs in East Greenland Polar Bears (Ursus Maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Leifsson, Pall S.; Dietz, Rune

    2006-01-01

    .01) and uterine horn length and HCB (p = 0.02). The study suggests thatthere is an impact from xenoendocrine pollutants on the size of East Greenland polar bear genitalia. This may pose a riskto this polar bear subpopulation in the future because of reduced sperm and egg quality/quantity and uterus and penis size......Reproductive organs from 55 male and 44 female East Greenland polar bears were examined to investigate the potential negative impact from organohalogen pollutants (OHCs). Multiple regressions normalizing for age showed a significant inverse relationship between OHCs and testis length and baculum...... length and weight, respectively, and was found in both subadults (dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethanes, dieldrin, chlordanes, hexacyclohexanes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)) and adults (hexachlorobenzene [HCB]) (all p

  7. Evaluation of hepatic biotransformation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krieger, Lisa K; Szeitz, András; Bandiera, Stelvio M

    2016-03-01

    Polar bears are at the top of the Arctic marine food chain and are subject to exposure and bioaccumulation of environmental chemicals of concern such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were widely used as flame retardants. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the in vitro oxidative metabolism of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabrominated diphenyl ether (BDE-47) and 2,2',4,4',5-pentabrominated diphenyl ether (BDE-99) by polar bear liver microsomes. The identification and quantification of the hydroxy-brominated diphenyl ethers formed were assessed using an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-based method. Incubation of BDE-47 with archived individual liver microsomes, prepared from fifteen polar bears from northern Canada, produced a total of eleven hydroxylated metabolites, eight of which were identified using authentic standards. The major metabolites were 4'-hydroxy-2,2',4,5'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether and 5'-hydroxy-2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether. Incubation of BDE-99 with polar bear liver microsomes produced a total of eleven hydroxylated metabolites, seven of which were identified using authentic standards. The major metabolites were 2,4,5-tribromophenol and 4-hydroxy-2,2',3,4',5-pentabromodiphenyl ether. Among the CYP specific antibodies tested, anti-rat CYP2B was found to be the most active in inhibiting the formation of hydroxylated metabolites of both BDE-47 and BDE-99, indicating that CYP2B was the major CYP enzyme involved in the oxidative biotransformation of these two congeners. Our study shows that polar bears are capable of forming multiple hydroxylated metabolites of BDE-47 and BDE-99 in vitro and demonstrates the role of CYP2B in the biotransformation and possibly in the toxicity of BDE-47 and BDE-99 in polar bears. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Xenoestrogenic and dioxin-like activity in blood of East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erdmann, Simon E; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Bechshøft, Thea Ø; Vorkamp, Katrin; Letcher, Robert J; Long, Manhai; Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Eva C

    2013-07-01

    The aims of the project were to (i) extract the lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the blood of 99 East Greenland polar bears and assess the combined mixture effect on the estrogen receptor (ER) and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) mediated transactivity; (ii) To evaluate whether the receptor transactivities were associated with selected POP markers, and (iii) compare the receptor transactivities in polar bears with earlier studies on Greenlandic Inuit. Lipophilic POPs were extracted using a combination of solid-phase extraction (SPE) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). ER mediated transactivity was determined using the ER luciferase reporter MVLN cell assay. The extracts were tested alone (XER) and together with 17β-estradiol (E2) as a physiological mimic (XERcomp). Dioxins and dioxin-like (DL) compounds were extracted by a combination of SPE and the Supelco Dioxin Prep System®. AhR mediated dioxin-like transactivity was determined using the AhR luciferase reporter Hepa 1.12cR cell assay. Agonistic ER transactivity was elicited by 19% of the samples, and a further increased E2 induced ER response was found for 52%, whereas 17% antagonized the E2 induced ER response. Positive correlations were found in subadult bears between XER and several POP biomarkers. XER and XERcomp correlated positively to each other. A total of 91% of the polar bear blood extracts elicited agonistic AhR transactivity. The AhR-TCDD equivalent (AhR-TEQ) median levels were higher among adult bears compared to subadult bears, but not significantly. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Relationships between POPs, biometrics and circulating steroids in male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ciesielski, Tomasz M; Hansen, Ingunn Tjelta; Bytingsvik, Jenny

    2017-01-01

    ), progesterone (PRO), androstenedione (AN), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), testosterone (TS), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2) and 17β-estradiol (βE2) were quantified in polar bear serum by gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS), while POPs were measured in plasma....../estrogen ratios being approximately 60 times higher in adult males than in subadult males. PCA plots and OPLS models indicated that TS was positively related to biometrics, such as body condition index in male polar bears. A negative relationship was also observed between POPs and DHT. Consequently, POPs and body...

  10. Reproductive performance in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) may be affected by organohalogen contaminants as shown by physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Gustavson, Kim; Rigét, Frank F.

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) feed mainly on ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and consume large quantities of blubber and consequently have one of the highest tissue concentrations of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) worldwide. In East Greenland, studies of OHC time trends and organ system health...... effects, including reproductive, were conducted during 1990–2006. However, it has been difficult to determine the nature of the effects induced by OHC exposures on wild caught polar bears using body burden data and associated changes in reproductive organs and systems. We therefore conducted a risk......, oxychlordane, HCHs, HCB, PBDEs and PFOS in East Greenland polar bears based on known OHC pharmacokinetics and dynamics in laboratory rats (Rattus rattus). The results showed that subcutaneous adipose tissue concentrations of dieldrin (range: 79–1271 ng g−1 lw) and PCBs (range: 4128–53 923 ng g−1 lw) reported...

  11. Characterization of a pancreatic islet cell tumor in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortin, Jessica S; Benoit-Biancamano, Marie-Odile

    2014-01-01

    Herein, we report a 25-year-old male polar bear suffering from a pancreatic islet cell tumor. The aim of this report is to present a case of this rare tumor in a captive polar bear. The implication of potential risk factors such as high carbohydrate diet or the presence of amyloid fibril deposits was assessed. Necropsy examination revealed several other changes, including nodules observed in the liver, spleen, pancreas, intestine, and thyroid glands that were submitted for histopathologic analysis. Interestingly, the multiple neoplastic nodules were unrelated and included a pancreatic islet cell tumor. Immunohistochemistry of the pancreas confirmed the presence of insulin and islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) within the pancreatic islet cells. The IAPP gene was extracted from the paraffin-embedded liver tissue and sequenced. IAPP cDNA from the polar bear exhibits some differences as compared to the sequence published for several other species. Different factors responsible for neoplasms in bears such as diet, infectious agents, and industrial chemical exposure are reviewed. This case report raised several issues that further studies may address by evaluating the prevalence of cancers in captive or wild animals. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Assisted reproductive technology in bear (ursidae) conservation Ailuropoda Melanoleuca, Ursus Arctos and Usus Maritimus

    OpenAIRE

    Baldoví Sánchez, Isabel; Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Facultat de Veterinària

    2014-01-01

    Póster The Ursidae family is severely threatened having 6 of the 8 bear species in danger of extinction. Due to its reproductive physiology characteristics, ursids have a low reproduction rate which aggravates in captivity. It is because of this, that reproductive assisted technology has become a key element in the conservation of this species. The following study is the compendium of the obtained results in this field in three ursid species: giant panda (Auliropoda melanoleuca), brown bea...

  13. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) - New endocrine disruptors in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pedersen, Kathrine Eggers; Letcher, Robert J; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Styrishave, Bjarne

    2016-11-01

    Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are emerging in the Arctic and accumulate in brain tissues of East Greenland (EG) polar bears. In vitro studies have shown that PFASs might possess endocrine disrupting abilities and therefore the present study was conducted to investigate potential PFAS induced alterations in brain steroid concentrations. The concentrations of eleven steroid hormones were determined in eight brain regions from ten EG polar bears. Pregnenolone (PRE), the dominant progestagen, was found in mean concentrations of 5-47ng/g (ww) depending on brain region. PRE showed significantly (pbears. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) found in mean concentrations 0.67-4.58ng/g (ww) was the androgen found in highest concentrations. Among the estrogens estrone (E1) showed mean concentrations of 0.90-2.21ng/g (ww) and was the most abundant. Remaining steroid hormones were generally present in concentrations below 2ng/g (ww). Steroid levels in brain tissue could not be explained by steroid levels in plasma. There was however a trend towards increasing estrogen levels in plasma resulting in increasing levels of androgens in brain tissue. Correlative analyses showed positive associations between PFASs and 17α-hydroxypregnenolone (OH-PRE) (e.g. perflouroalkyl sulfonates (∑PFSA): ppolar bears. It is, however, not possible to determine whether alterations in brain steroid concentrations arise from interference with de novo steroid synthesis or via disruption of peripheral steroidogenic tissues mainly in gonads and feedback mechanisms. Steroids are important for brain plasticity and gender specific behavior as well as postnatal development and sexually dimorph brain function. The present work indicates an urgent need for a better mechanistic understanding of how PFASs may affect the endocrine system of polar bears and potentially other mammal species. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Remote identification of maternal polar bear (Ursus maritimus) denning habitat on the Colville River Delta, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blank, Justin J.

    High resolution digital aerial photographs (1 foot pixel size) of the Colville River Delta, Alaska were examined in 3D, with the use of a digital photogrammetric workstation. Topographic features meeting the criteria required for adequate snow accumulation, and subsequent construction of terrestrial polar bear maternal dens, were identified and digitized into an ArcGIS line shapefile. Effectiveness, efficiency, and accuracy were improved when compared to previous polar bear denning habitat efforts which utilized contact photo prints and a pocket stereoscope in other geographic areas of northern Alaska. Accuracy of photograph interpretation was systematically evaluated visually from the air with the use of a helicopter and physically on the ground. Results show that the mapping efforts were successful in identifying den habitat 91.3% of the time. Knowledge denning habitat can improve and inform decision making by managers and regulators when considering travel and development in the study area. An understanding of polar bear denning habitat extent and location will be a crucial tool for planning activities within the study area in a way that minimizes conflicts with maternal dens.

  15. Enhanced biological processes associated with alopecia in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Stott, Jeffrey L.; Waters, Shannon C.; Atwood, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    Populations of wildlife species worldwide experience incidents of mass morbidity and mortality. Primary or secondary drivers of these events may escape classical detection methods for identifying microbial insults, toxin exposure, or additional stressors. In 2012, 28% of polar bears sampled in a study in the southern Beaufort Sea region of Alaska had varying degrees of alopecia that was concomitant with reduced body condition. Concurrently, elevated numbers of sick or dead ringed seals were detected in the southern Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering seas in 2012, resulting in the declaration of an unusual mortality event (UME) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The primary and possible ancillary causative stressors of these events are unknown, and related physiological changes within individual animals have been undetectable using classical diagnostic methods. Here we present an emerging technology as a potentially guiding investigative approach aimed at elucidating the circumstances responsible for the susceptibility of certain polar bears to observed conditions. Using transcriptomic analysis we identified enhanced biological processes including immune response, viral defense, and response to stress in polar bears with alopecia. Our results support an alternative mechanism of investigation into the causative agents that, when used proactively, could serve as an early indicator for populations and species at risk. We suggest that current or classical methods for investigation into events of unusual morbidity and mortality can be costly, sometimes unfocused, and often inconclusive. Advances in technology allow for implementation of a holistic system of surveillance and investigation that could provide early warning of health concerns in wildlife species important to humans.

  16. Enhanced biological processes associated with alopecia in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A Keith; Stott, Jeffrey; Waters, Shannon; Atwood, Todd

    2015-10-01

    Populations of wildlife species worldwide experience incidents of mass morbidity and mortality. Primary or secondary drivers of these events may escape classical detection methods for identifying microbial insults, toxin exposure, or additional stressors. In 2012, 28% of polar bears sampled in a study in the southern Beaufort Sea region of Alaska had varying degrees of alopecia that was concomitant with reduced body condition. Concurrently, elevated numbers of sick or dead ringed seals were detected in the southern Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering seas in 2012, resulting in the declaration of an unusual mortality event (UME) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The primary and possible ancillary causative stressors of these events are unknown, and related physiological changes within individual animals have been undetectable using classical diagnostic methods. Here we present an emerging technology as a potentially guiding investigative approach aimed at elucidating the circumstances responsible for the susceptibility of certain polar bears to observed conditions. Using transcriptomic analysis we identified enhanced biological processes including immune response, viral defense, and response to stress in polar bears with alopecia. Our results support an alternative mechanism of investigation into the causative agents that, when used proactively, could serve as an early indicator for populations and species at risk. We suggest that current or classical methods for investigation into events of unusual morbidity and mortality can be costly, sometimes unfocused, and often inconclusive. Advances in technology allow for implementation of a holistic system of surveillance and investigation that could provide early warning of health concerns in wildlife species important to humans. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  17. Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis in the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Knut.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prüss, H; Leubner, J; Wenke, N K; Czirják, G Á; Szentiks, C A; Greenwood, A D

    2015-08-27

    Knut the polar bear of the Berlin Zoological Garden drowned in 2011 following seizures and was diagnosed as having suffered encephalitis of unknown etiology after exhaustive pathogen screening. Using the diagnostic criteria applied to human patients, we demonstrate that Knut's encephalitis is almost identical to anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis which is a severe autoimmune disease representing the most common non-infectious encephalitis in humans. High concentrations of antibodies specific against the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor were detected in Knut's cerebrospinal fluid. Histological examination demonstrated very similar patterns of plasma cell infiltration and minimal neuronal loss in affected brain areas. We conclude that Knut suffered anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis making his the first reported non-human case of this treatable disease. The results suggest that anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis may be a disease of broad relevance to mammals that until now has remained undiagnosed.

  18. Persistent organic pollutants and penile bone mineral density in East Greenland and Canadian polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1996-2015

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Daugaard-Petersen, Tobias; Langebaek, Rikke; Riget, Frank F.

    2018-01-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are long-range transported to the Arctic via atmospheric and oceanic currents, where they biomagnify to high concentrations in the tissues of apex predators such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus). A major concern of POP exposure is their physiological effects o......) and Western Hudson (WH) Bay subpopulations (all p osteoporosis index for the EG subpopulation using WH bears as a reference group gave a T-score of -1.44 which indicate risk of osteopenia. Concentrations of ΣPCB74(polychlorinated biphenyls), ΣDDT3....... POPs. Other important factors such as nutritional status, body mass and body condition was not available for the statistical modelling. Since on-going environmental changes are known to affect these, future studies need to incorporate nutritional, endocrine and genetic parameters to further understand...

  19. Spatial and temporal variation in size of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sexual organs and its use in pollution and climate change studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W; Riget, Frank F; Leifsson, Pall S; Bechshøft, Thea Ø; Kirkegaard, Maja

    2007-11-15

    Sexual organs and their development are susceptible to atmospheric transported environmental xenoendocrine pollutants and climate change (food availability). We therefore investigated sexual organs from 55 male and 44 female East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to obtain information about growth/size and sexual maturity. Then, the genitalia size was compared with those previously reported from Canadian and Svalbard polar bears. Growth models showed that East Greenland male polar bears reached sexual maturity around 7 years of age and females around 4 years of age. When comparing East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears, the size of baculum and uterus were significantly lower in the East Greenland polar bears (ANOVA: all p polar bears, a similar baculum pattern was found for East Greenland vs. Canadian polar bears. It is speculated whether this could be a result of the general high variation in polar bear body size, temporal distribution patterns of anthropogenic long-range transported persistent organic pollutants or climate change (decreasing food availability). The present investigation represents conservation and background data for future spatial and temporal assessments of hunting, pollution and climate change scenarios.

  20. An immunohistochemical study of retinol-binding protein (RBP) in livers of free-living polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from east Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heier, Annabelle; Sonne, Christian; Gröne, Andrea; Leifsson, Pall S; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W; Bacciarini, Luca N

    2005-09-01

    From 1999 to 2002 samples from 114 free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were collected in the municipality of Scoresby Sound, East Greenland, to detect levels of organochlorines and potential histopathologic changes. Livers of 16 female polar bears from this group were evaluated histologically and analyzed for hepatic retinol-binding protein by immunohistochemistry. Retinol-binding protein is the main transport protein for retinol, an important vitamin A metabolite in the polar bear. Only mild pathologic changes were noted on histologic evaluation of the livers. Small lymphocytic or lymphohistiocytic infiltrates were present in all the livers. Small lipid granulomas, mild periportal fibrosis, and bile duct proliferation were found in several cases. Immunohistochemistry for retinol-binding protein of hepatic tissue from free-ranging polar bears showed no distinct difference in staining intensity by a number of criteria: age, season (fasting and nonfasting), or lactation status. The staining was diffuse to finely stippled in the cytoplasm and showed very little variation among the animals. Because of the lack of macroscopic changes and the absence of severe histologic liver lesions, these polar bears were assumed to be healthy. The diffuse cytoplasmic retinol-binding protein staining in hepatocytes of free-ranging polar bears varies markedly from the prominent granular, less intense staining of captive polar bears investigated previously.

  1. Persistent organic pollutants and penile bone mineral density in East Greenland and Canadian polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1996-2015.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daugaard-Petersen, Tobias; Langebæk, Rikke; Rigét, Frank F; Dyck, Markus; Letcher, Robert J; Hyldstrup, Lars; Jensen, Jens-Erik Bech; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian

    2018-05-01

    Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are long-range transported to the Arctic via atmospheric and oceanic currents, where they biomagnify to high concentrations in the tissues of apex predators such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus). A major concern of POP exposure is their physiological effects on vital organ-tissues posing a threat to the health and survival of polar bears. Here we examined the relationship between selected POPs and baculum bone mineral density (BMD) in the East Greenland and seven Canadian subpopulations of polar bears. BMD was examined in 471 bacula collected between years 1996-2015 while POP concentrations in adipose tissue were determined in 67-192 of these individuals collected from 1999 to -2015. A geographical comparison showed that baculum BMD was significantly lowest in polar bears from East Greenland (EG) when compared to Gulf of Boothia (GB), Southern Hudson (SH) and Western Hudson (WH) Bay subpopulations (all p bears as a reference group gave a T-score of -1.44 which indicate risk of osteopenia. Concentrations of ΣPCB 74 (polychlorinated biphenyls), ΣDDT 3 (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes), p,p'-DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), ΣHCH 3 (hexachlorohexane) and α-HCH was significantly highest in EG bears while ΣPBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), BDE-47 and BDE-153 was significantly highest in SH bears (all p polar bears despite the positive statistical correlations of BMD vs. POPs. Other important factors such as nutritional status, body mass and body condition was not available for the statistical modelling. Since on-going environmental changes are known to affect these, future studies need to incorporate nutritional, endocrine and genetic parameters to further understand how POP exposure may disrupt bone homeostasis and affect baculum BMD across polar bear subpopulations. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. In vitro assay shows that PCB metabolites completely saturate thyroid hormone transport capacity in blood of wild polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutleb, Arno C; Cenijn, Peter; Velzen, Martin van; Lie, Elisabeth; Ropstad, Erik; Skaare, Janneche Utne; Malmberg, Tina; Bergman, Ake; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Legler, Juliette

    2010-04-15

    Persistent chemicals accumulate in the arctic environment due to their chemical reactivity and physicochemical properties and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are the most concentrated pollutant class in polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Metabolism of PCB and polybrominated biphenyl ether (PBDE) flame-retardants alter their toxicological properties and these metabolites are known to interfere with the binding of thyroid hormone (TH) to transthyretin (TTR) in rodents and humans. In polar bear plasma samples no binding of [125I]-T(4) to TTR was observed after incubation and PAGE separation. Incubation of the plasma samples with [14C]-4-OH-CB107, a compound with a higher binding affinity to TTR than the endogenous ligand T(4) resulted in competitive binding as proven by the appearance of a radio labeled TTR peak in the gel. Plasma incubation with T(4) up to 1 mM, a concentration that is not physiologically relevant anymore did not result in any visible competition. These results give evidence that the binding sites on TTR for T(4) in wild living polar bears are completely saturated. Such saturation of binding sites can explain observed lowered levels of THs and could lead to contaminant transport into the developing fetus.

  3. Reproductive performance in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) may be affected by organohalogen contaminants as shown by physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Gustavson, Kim; Rigét, Frank F; Dietz, Rune; Birkved, Morten; Letcher, Robert J; Bossi, Rossana; Vorkamp, Katrin; Born, Erik W; Petersen, Gitte

    2009-12-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) feed mainly on ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and consume large quantities of blubber and consequently have one of the highest tissue concentrations of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) worldwide. In East Greenland, studies of OHC time trends and organ system health effects, including reproductive, were conducted during 1990-2006. However, it has been difficult to determine the nature of the effects induced by OHC exposures on wild caught polar bears using body burden data and associated changes in reproductive organs and systems. We therefore conducted a risk quotient (RQ) evaluation to more quantitatively evaluate the effect risk on reproduction (embryotoxicity and teratogenicity) based on the critical body residue (CBR) concept and using a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. We applied modelling approaches to PCBs, p,p'-DDE, dieldrin, oxychlordane, HCHs, HCB, PBDEs and PFOS in East Greenland polar bears based on known OHC pharmacokinetics and dynamics in laboratory rats (Rattus rattus). The results showed that subcutaneous adipose tissue concentrations of dieldrin (range: 79-1271 ng g(-1) lw) and PCBs (range: 4128-53,923 ng g(-1) lw) reported in bears in the year 1990 were in the range to elicit possible adverse health effects on reproduction in polar bears in East Greenland (all RQs > or = 1). Similar results were found for PCBs (range: 1928-17,376 ng g(-1) lw) and PFOS (range: 104-2840 ng g(-1) ww) in the year 2000 and for dieldrin (range: 43-640 ng g(-1) lw), PCBs (range: 3491-13,243 ng g(-1) lw) and PFOS (range: 1332-6160 ng g(-1) ww) in the year 2006. The concentrations of oxychlordane, DDTs, HCB and HCHs in polar bears resulted in RQspolar bears correlated to OHC exposure are supported by the present study. This study also indicates that PBPK models may be a supportive tool in the evaluation of possible OHC-mediated health effects for Arctic wildlife.

  4. East Greenland and Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus): adaptive variation between two populations using skull morphometrics as an indicator of environmental and genetic differences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pertoldi, Cino; Sonne, Christian; Wiig, Øystein; Baagøe, Hans J; Loeschcke, Volker; Bechshøft, Thea Østergaard

    2012-06-01

    A morphometric study was conducted on four skull traits of 37 male and 18 female adult East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) collected 1892-1968, and on 54 male and 44 female adult Barents Sea polar bears collected 1950-1969. The aim was to compare differences in size and shape of the bear skulls using a multivariate approach, characterizing the variation between the two populations using morphometric traits as an indicator of environmental and genetic differences. Mixture analysis testing for geographic differentiation within each population revealed three clusters for Barents Sea males and three clusters for Barents Sea females. East Greenland consisted of one female and one male cluster. A principal component analysis (PCA) conducted on the clusters defined by the mixture analysis, showed that East Greenland and Barents Sea polar bear populations overlapped to a large degree, especially with regards to females. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) showed no significant differences in morphometric means between the two populations, but differences were detected between clusters from each respective geographic locality. To estimate the importance of genetics and environment in the morphometric differences between the bears, a PCA was performed on the covariance matrix derived from the skull measurements. Skull trait size (PC1) explained approx. 80% of the morphometric variation, whereas shape (PC2) defined approx. 15%, indicating some genetic differentiation. Hence, both environmental and genetic factors seem to have contributed to the observed skull differences between the two populations. Overall, results indicate that many Barents Sea polar bears are morphometrically similar to the East Greenland ones, suggesting an exchange of individuals between the two populations. Furthermore, a subpopulation structure in the Barents Sea population was also indicated from the present analyses, which should be considered with regards to future management

  5. Combined thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography with mass spectrometric analysis of lipid classes and fatty acids in malnourished polar bears (Ursus maritimus) which swam to Iceland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eibler, Dorothee; Krüger, Sabine; Skírnisson, Karl; Vetter, Walter

    2017-03-01

    Between 2008 and 2011, four polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Greenland population swam and/or drifted on ice to Iceland where they arrived in very poor body condition. Body fat resources in these animals were only between 0% and 10% of the body weight (usually 25%). Here we studied the lipid composition in different tissues (adipose tissue if available, liver, kidney and muscle). Lipid classes were determined by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and on-column gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The fatty acid pattern of total lipids and free fatty acids was analyzed by GC/MS in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. Additionally, cholesteryl esters and native fatty acid methyl esters, initially detected as zones in thin layer chromatograms, were enriched by solid phase extraction and quantified by GC/MS. The ratio of free fatty acids to native fatty acid methyl esters could be correlated with the remained body lipids in the polar bears and thus may also serve as a marker for other starving animals or even for humans. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Effects of biometrics, location and persistent organic pollutants on blood clinical-chemical parameters in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard, Norway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ciesielski, Tomasz Maciej; Sonne, Christian; Ormbostad, Ingunn; Aars, Jon; Lie, Elisabeth; Bytingsvik, Jenny; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2018-05-31

    In the present study, blood clinical-chemical parameters (BCCPs) were analysed in 20 female and 18 male Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) captured in spring 2007. The aim was to study how age, body condition (BC), biometrics, plasma lipid content and geographical location may confound the relationship between persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including PCBs, HCB, chlordanes, DDTs, HCHs, mirex and OH-PCBs and the concentrations of 12 specific BCCPs (hematocrit [HCT], hemoglobin [HB], aspartate aminotransferase [ASAT], alanine aminotransferase [ALAT], γ-glutamyltransferase [GGT], creatine kinase [CK], triglycerides [TG], cholesterol [CHOL], high-density lipoprotein [HDL], creatinine (CREA], urea, potassium (K]), and to investigate if any of these BCCPs may be applied as potential biomarkers for POP exposure in polar bears. Initial PCA and O-PLS modelling showed that age, lipids, BC and geographical location (longitude and latitude) were important parameters explaining BCCPs in females. Following subsequent partial correlation analyses correcting for age and lipids, multiple POPs in females were still significantly correlated with HCT and HDL (all p biometrics, lipids and longitude in males, multiple POPs were significantly correlated with HCT, ASAT, GGT and CHOL (all p < 0.05). In conclusion, several confounding parameters has to be taken into account when studying the relations between BCCPs and POPs in polar bears. When correcting for these, in particular HCT may be used as a simple cost-efficient biomarker of POP exposure in polar bears. Furthermore, decreasing HDL concentrations and increasing CHOL concentration with increasing POP concentrations may indicate responses related to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. We therefore suggest to further study POP exposure and lipidome response to increase knowledge of the risk of cardiometabolic syndrome in polar bears. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  7. Bioaccumulation and biotransformation of brominated and chlorinated contaminants and their metabolites in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Letcher, Robert J; Gebbink, Wouter A; Sonne, Christian; Born, Erik W; McKinney, Melissa A; Dietz, Rune

    2009-11-01

    We report on the comparative bioaccumulation, biotransformation and/or biomagnification from East Greenland ringed seal (Pusa hispida) blubber to polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues (adipose, liver and brain) of various classes and congeners of persistent chlorinated and brominated contaminants and metabolic by-products: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordanes (CHLs), hydroxyl (OH-) and methylsulfonyl (MeSO(2)-) PCBs, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), OH-PBBs, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) flame retardants and OH- and methoxyl (MeO-) PBDEs, 2,2-dichloro-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethene (p,p'-DDE), 3-MeSO(2)-p,p'-DDE, pentachlorophenol (PCP) and 4-OH-heptachlorostyrene (4-OH-HpCS). We detected all of the investigated contaminants in ringed seal blubber with high frequency, the main diet of East Greenland bears, with the exception of OH-PCBs and 4-OH-HpCS, which indicated that these phenolic contaminants were likely of metabolic origin and formed in the bears from accumulated PCBs and octachlorostyrene (OCS), respectively, rather than being bioaccumulated from a seal blubber diet. For all of the detectable sum of classes or individual organohalogens, in general, the ringed seal to polar bear mean BMFs for SigmaPCBs, p,p'-DDE, SigmaCHLs, SigmaMeSO(2)-PCBs, 3-MeSO(2)-p,p'-DDE, PCP, SigmaPBDEs, total-(alpha)-HBCD, SigmaOH-PBDEs, SigmaMeO-PBDEs and SigmaOH-PBBs indicated that these organohalogens bioaccumulate, and in some cases there was tissue-specific biomagnification, e.g., BMFs for bear adipose and liver ranged from 2 to 570. The blood-brain barrier appeared to be effective in minimizing brain accumulation as BMFs were bear tissues appeared to be mainly accumulated from the seal blubber rather than being metabolic formed from PBDEs in the bears. In vitro PBDE depletion assays using polar bear hepatic microsomes, wherein the rate of oxidative metabolism of PBDE congeners was very slow, supported the probability that accumulation

  8. Potentiation of ecological factors on the disruption of thyroid hormones by organo-halogenated contaminants in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Barents Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourgeon, Sophie; Riemer, Astrid Kolind; Tartu, Sabrina; Aars, Jon; Polder, Anuschka; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Routti, Heli

    2017-10-01

    As apex predators, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are among the most heavily polluted organisms in the Arctic. In addition to this anthropogenic stressor, climate warming has been shown to negatively affect their body condition, reproductive output and survival. Among potential underlying physiological mechanisms, thyroid hormones (THs), which control thermoregulation, metabolism and reproduction, can be affected by a variety of both natural and anthropogenic factors. While THs have been extensively used as proxies for pollution exposure in mammals, including polar bears, there is a lack of knowledge of their natural variations. In this context, we examined seasonal variations in body condition and circulating TH concentrations in free-ranging female polar bears. Females with variable reproductive status (i.e., solitary, with cubs of the year or with yearlings) were sampled from locations with contrasted sea ice conditions. Furthermore, we studied THs in relation to levels of organo-halogenated contaminants. As predicted, solitary females were in better condition than females caring for offspring, especially in spring. In addition, TH levels were lower in autumn compared to spring, although this seasonal effect was mainly observed in solitary females. Finally, the negative relationships between organochlorine and perfluoroalkyl substances and some THs suggest a possible alteration of homeostasis of THs. Since the latter relationships were only observed during spring, we emphasize the importance of considering the ecological factors when using THs as proxies for pollution exposure. Yet, the combined effects of natural and anthropogenic stressors on THs might impair the ability of polar bears to adapt to ongoing climate changes. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Assessment of neurotoxic effects of mercury in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krey, Anke; Ostertag, Sonja K; Chan, Hing Man

    2015-03-15

    Marine mammals are indicator species of the Arctic ecosystem and an integral component of the traditional Inuit diet. The potential neurotoxic effects of increased mercury (Hg) in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are not clear. We assessed the risk of Hg-associated neurotoxicity to these species by comparing their brain Hg concentrations with threshold concentrations for toxic endpoints detected in laboratory animals and field observations: clinical symptoms (>6.75 mg/kg wet weight (ww)), neuropathological signs (>4 mg/kg ww), neurochemical changes (>0.4 mg/kg ww), and neurobehavioral changes (>0.1mg/kg ww). The total Hg (THg) concentrations in the cerebellum and frontal lobe of ringed seals and polar bears were 3mg/kg ww. Our results suggest that brain THg levels in polar bears are below levels that induce neurobehavioral effects as reported in the literature, while THg concentrations in ringed seals are within the range that elicit neurobehavioral effects and individual ringed seals exceed the threshold for neurochemical changes. The relatively high THg concentration in beluga whales exceeds all of the neurotoxicity thresholds assessed. High brain selenium (Se):Hg molar ratios were observed in all three species, suggesting that Se could protect the animals from Hg-associated neurotoxicity. This assessment was limited by several factors that influence neurotoxic effects in animals, including: animal species; form of Hg in the brain; and interactions with modifiers of Hg-associated toxicity, such as Se. Comparing brain Hg concentrations in wildlife with concentrations of appropriate laboratory studies can be used as a tool for risk characterization of the neurotoxic effects of Hg in Arctic marine mammals. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling of immune, reproductive and carcinogenic effects from contaminant exposure in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) across the Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dietz, Rune; Gustavson, Kim; Sonne, Christian; Desforges, Jean-Pierre; Rigét, Frank F; Pavlova, Viola; McKinney, Melissa A; Letcher, Robert J

    2015-07-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) consume large quantities of seal blubber and other high trophic marine mammals and consequently have some of the highest tissue concentrations of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) among Arctic biota. In the present paper we carried out a risk quotient (RQ) evaluation on OHC-exposed polar bears harvested from 1999 to 2008 and from 11 circumpolar subpopulations spanning from Alaska to Svalbard in order to evaluate the risk of OHC-mediated reproductive effects (embryotoxicity, teratogenicity), immunotoxicity and carcinogenicity (genotoxicity). This RQ evaluation was based on the Critical Body Residue (CBR) concept and a Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic Modelling (PBPK) approach using OHC concentrations measured in polar bear adipose or liver tissue. The range of OHC concentrations within polar bear populations were as follows for adipose, sum polychlorinated biphenyls ∑PCBs (1797-10,537 ng/g lw), sum methylsulphone-PCB ∑MeSO2-PCBs (110-672 ng/g lw), sum chlordanes ∑CHLs (765-3477 ng/g lw), α-hexachlorocyclohexane α-HCH (8.5-91.3 ng/g lw), β-hexachlorocyclohexane β-HCH (65.5-542 ng/g lw), sum chlorbenzenes ∑ClBzs (145-304 ng/g lw), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane ∑DDTs (31.5-206 ng/g lw), dieldrin (69-249 ng/g lw), polybrominated diphenyl ethers ∑PBDEs (4.6-78.4 ng/g lw). For liver, the perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) concentrations ranged from 231-2792 ng/g ww. The total additive RQ from all OHCs ranged from 4.3 in Alaska to 28.6 in East Greenland bears for effects on reproduction, immune health and carcinogenicity, highlighting the important result that the toxic effect threshold (i.e. RQ>1) was exceeded for all polar bear populations assessed. PCBs were the main contributors for all three effect categories, contributing from 70.6% to 94.3% of the total risk and a RQ between 3.8-22.5. ∑MeSO2-PCBs were the second highest effect contributor for reproductive and immunological effects (0.17polar bears. We therefore

  11. Thyroid hormones and deiodinase activity in plasma and tissues in relation to high levels of organohalogen contaminants in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabrielsen, Kristin Møller; Krokstad, Julie Stene; Villanger, Gro Dehli; Blair, David A D; Obregon, Maria-Jesus; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Letcher, Robert J; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies have shown relationships between organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) and circulating levels of thyroid hormones (THs) in arctic wildlife. However, there is a lack of knowledge concerning the possible functional effects of OHCs on TH status in target tissues for TH-dependent activity. The relationships between circulating (plasma) levels of OHCs and various TH variables in plasma as well as in liver, muscle and kidney tissues from East Greenland sub-adult polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in 2011 (n=7) were therefore investigated. The TH variables included 3.3',5.5'-tetraiodothyronine or thyroxine (T4), 3.3',5-triiodothyronine (T3) and type 1 (D1) and type 2 (D2) deiodinase activities. Principal component analysis (PCA) combined with correlation analyses demonstrated negative relationships between individual polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their hydroxylated (OH-) metabolites and T4 in both plasma and muscle. There were both positive and negative relationships between individual OHCs and D1 and D2 activities in muscle, liver and kidney tissues. In general, PCBs, OH-PCBs and polybrominated dipehenyl ethers (PBDEs) were positively correlated to D1 and D2 activities, whereas organochlorine pesticides and byproducts (OCPs) were negatively associated with D1 and D2 activities. These results support the hypothesis that OHCs can affect TH status and action in the target tissues of polar bears. TH levels and deiodinase activities in target tissues can be sensitive endpoints for exposure of TH-disrupting compounds in arctic wildlife, and thus, tissue-specific responses in target organs should be further considered when assessing TH disruption in wildlife studies. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Organohalogen concentrations and a gross and histologic assessment of multiple organ systems in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, C.

    To investigate the relation between biological parameters, not earlier investigated in the polar bear, and organohalogen pollution in East Greenland polar bears, we initiated a sampling of adipose tissue, internal organs and skulls from more than 100 free-ranging polar bears killed by local...... in the adipose tissue and pathological changes in skulls and internal organs. Our results suggested a decrease in adipose tissue concentrations of organohalogens in East Greenland polar bears from 1990 to 1999-2001. Two of the biological effect parameters (FA and enlarged clitoris) did not indicate a link......, infectious agents, season and meaby chronic exposure to organohalogens. These result fill out an existing knowledge gap in potential effects of environmental, organic contaminants on fluctuating asymmetry, bone mineral density and functional anatomy (histology) in the polar bear. In addition, the results may...

  13. Possible Effects of Climate Warming on Selected Populations of Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Canadian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parkinson, Claire L.; Stirling Ian

    2006-01-01

    Polar bears are dependent on sea ice for survival. Climate warming in the Arctic has caused significant declines in coverage and thickness of sea ice in the polar basin and progressively earlier breakup in some areas. In four populations of polar bears in the eastern Canadian Arctic (including Western Hudson Bay), Inuit hunters report more bears near settlements during the open water period in recent years. These observations have been interpreted as evidence of increasing population size, resulting in increases in hunting quotas. However, long-term data on the population size and condition of polar bears in Western Hudson Bay, and population and harvest data from Baffin Bay, make it clear that those two populations at least are declining, not increasing. While the details vary in different arctic regions, analysis of passive-microwave satellite imagery, beginning in the late 1970s, indicates that the sea ice is breaking up at progressively earlier dates, so that bears must fast for longer periods during the open water season. Thus, at least part of the explanation for the appearance of more bears in coastal communities is likely that they are searching for alternative food sources because their stored body fat depots are being exhausted. We hypothesize that, if the climate continues to warm as projected by the IPCC, then polar bears in all five populations discussed in this paper will be stressed and are likely to decline in numbers, probably significantly so. As these populations decline, there will likely also be continuing, possibly increasing, numbers of problem interactions between bears and humans as the bears seek alternate food sources. Taken together, the data reported in this paper suggest that a precautionary approach be taken to the harvesting of polar bears and that the potential effects of climate warming be incorporated into planning for the management and conservation of this species throughout the Arctic.

  14. Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) pregnane X receptors (PXR, NR1I2) differently

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lille-Langøy, Roger, E-mail: Roger.lille-langoy@bio.uib.no [University of Bergen, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 7803, N-5020 Bergen (Norway); Goldstone, Jared V. [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, 02543-1050 Woods Hole, MA (United States); Rusten, Marte [University of Bergen, Department of Molecular Biology, P.O. Box 7803, N-5020 Bergen (Norway); Milnes, Matthew R. [Mars Hill University, 100 Athletic Street, Box 6671, Mars Hill, 28754 NC (United States); Male, Rune [University of Bergen, Department of Molecular Biology, P.O. Box 7803, N-5020 Bergen (Norway); Stegeman, John J. [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, 02543-1050 Woods Hole, MA (United States); Blumberg, Bruce [University of California, Irvine, 92697 CA (United States); Goksøyr, Anders [University of Bergen, Department of Biology, P.O. Box 7803, N-5020 Bergen (Norway)

    2015-04-01

    Background: Many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulate readily in polar bears because of their position as apex predators in Arctic food webs. The pregnane X receptor (PXR, formally NR1I2, here proposed to be named promiscuous xenobiotic receptor) is a xenobiotic sensor that is directly involved in metabolizing pathways of a wide range of environmental contaminants. Objectives: In the present study, we comparably assess the ability of 51 selected pharmaceuticals, pesticides and emerging contaminants to activate PXRs from polar bears and humans using an in vitro luciferase reporter gene assay. Results: We found that polar bear PXR is activated by a wide range of our test compounds (68%) but has a slightly more narrow ligand specificity than human PXR that was activated by 86% of the 51 test compounds. The majority of the agonists identified (70%) produces a stronger induction of the reporter gene via human PXR than via polar bear PXR, however with some notable and environmentally relevant exceptions. Conclusions: Due to the observed differences in activation of polar bear and human PXRs, exposure of each species to environmental agents is likely to induce biotransformation differently in the two species. Bioinformatics analyses and structural modeling studies suggest that amino acids that are not part of the ligand-binding domain and do not interact with the ligand can modulate receptor activation. - Highlights: • Comparative study of ligand activation of human and polar bear PXRs. • Polar bear PXR is a promiscuous ligand-activated nuclear receptor but less so than human PXR. • Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear PXRs differently. • Expression and ligand promiscuity indicate that PXR is a xenosensor in polar bears.

  15. Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) pregnane X receptors (PXR, NR1I2) differently

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lille-Langøy, Roger; Goldstone, Jared V.; Rusten, Marte; Milnes, Matthew R.; Male, Rune; Stegeman, John J.; Blumberg, Bruce; Goksøyr, Anders

    2015-01-01

    Background: Many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulate readily in polar bears because of their position as apex predators in Arctic food webs. The pregnane X receptor (PXR, formally NR1I2, here proposed to be named promiscuous xenobiotic receptor) is a xenobiotic sensor that is directly involved in metabolizing pathways of a wide range of environmental contaminants. Objectives: In the present study, we comparably assess the ability of 51 selected pharmaceuticals, pesticides and emerging contaminants to activate PXRs from polar bears and humans using an in vitro luciferase reporter gene assay. Results: We found that polar bear PXR is activated by a wide range of our test compounds (68%) but has a slightly more narrow ligand specificity than human PXR that was activated by 86% of the 51 test compounds. The majority of the agonists identified (70%) produces a stronger induction of the reporter gene via human PXR than via polar bear PXR, however with some notable and environmentally relevant exceptions. Conclusions: Due to the observed differences in activation of polar bear and human PXRs, exposure of each species to environmental agents is likely to induce biotransformation differently in the two species. Bioinformatics analyses and structural modeling studies suggest that amino acids that are not part of the ligand-binding domain and do not interact with the ligand can modulate receptor activation. - Highlights: • Comparative study of ligand activation of human and polar bear PXRs. • Polar bear PXR is a promiscuous ligand-activated nuclear receptor but less so than human PXR. • Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear PXRs differently. • Expression and ligand promiscuity indicate that PXR is a xenosensor in polar bears

  16. A novel method for analysing key corticosteroids in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hair using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Weisser, Johan; Hansen, Martin; Björklund, Erland

    2016-01-01

    . This procedure allows for the simultaneous determination of multiple steroids, which is in contrast to previous polar bear studies based on ELISA techniques. Absolute method recoveries were 81%, 75% and 60% for cortisol, corticosterone and aldosterone, respectively. We applied the developed method on a hair......This paper presents the development and evaluation of a methodology for extraction, clean-up and analysis of three key corticosteroids (aldosterone, cortisol and corticosterone) in polar bear hair. Such a methodology can be used to monitor stress biomarkers in polar bears and may provide...

  17. A novel method for analysing key corticosteroids in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hair using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weisser, Johan J; Hansen, Martin; Björklund, Erland; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Styrishave, Bjarne

    2016-04-01

    This paper presents the development and evaluation of a methodology for extraction, clean-up and analysis of three key corticosteroids (aldosterone, cortisol and corticosterone) in polar bear hair. Such a methodology can be used to monitor stress biomarkers in polar bears and may provide as a useful tool for long-term and retrospective information. We developed a combined pressurized liquid extraction (PLE)-solid phase extraction (SPE) procedure for corticosteroid extraction and clean-up followed by high pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) analysis. This procedure allows for the simultaneous determination of multiple steroids, which is in contrast to previous polar bear studies based on ELISA techniques. Absolute method recoveries were 81%, 75% and 60% for cortisol, corticosterone and aldosterone, respectively. We applied the developed method on a hair sample pooled from four East Greenland polar bears. Herein cortisol and corticosterone were successfully determined in levels of 0.32±0.02ng/g hair and 0.13±0.02ng/g hair, respectively. Aldosterone was below limit of detection (LODpolar bears was consistent with cortisol levels previously determined in the Southern Hudson Bay and James Bay in Canada using ELISA kits. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  18. Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) pregnane X receptors (PXR, NR1I2) differently.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lille-Langøy, Roger; Goldstone, Jared V; Rusten, Marte; Milnes, Matthew R; Male, Rune; Stegeman, John J; Blumberg, Bruce; Goksøyr, Anders

    2015-04-01

    Many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulate readily in polar bears because of their position as apex predators in Arctic food webs. The pregnane X receptor (PXR, formally NR1I2, here proposed to be named promiscuous xenobiotic receptor) is a xenobiotic sensor that is directly involved in metabolizing pathways of a wide range of environmental contaminants. In the present study, we comparably assess the ability of 51 selected pharmaceuticals, pesticides and emerging contaminants to activate PXRs from polar bears and humans using an in vitro luciferase reporter gene assay. We found that polar bear PXR is activated by a wide range of our test compounds (68%) but has a slightly more narrow ligand specificity than human PXR that was activated by 86% of the 51 test compounds. The majority of the agonists identified (70%) produces a stronger induction of the reporter gene via human PXR than via polar bear PXR, however with some notable and environmentally relevant exceptions. Due to the observed differences in activation of polar bear and human PXRs, exposure of each species to environmental agents is likely to induce biotransformation differently in the two species. Bioinformatics analyses and structural modeling studies suggest that amino acids that are not part of the ligand-binding domain and do not interact with the ligand can modulate receptor activation. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  19. Non-invasive detection of candidate pregnancy protein biomarkers in the feces of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curry, E; Stoops, M A; Roth, T L

    2012-07-15

    Currently, there is no method of accurately and non-invasively diagnosing pregnancy in polar bears. Specific proteins may exhibit altered profiles in the feces of pregnant bears, but predicting appropriate candidate proteins to investigate is speculative at best. The objective of this study was to identify potential pregnancy biomarker proteins based on their increased abundance in the feces of pregnant polar bears compared to pseudopregnant females (controls) using two-dimensional in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mass spectrometry (MS). Three 2D-DIGE gels were performed to evaluate fecal protein profiles from controls (n=3) and pregnant polar bears (n=3). There were 2224.67±52.39 (mean±SEM) spots resolved per gel. Of these, only five proteins were elevated in the pregnant group (P99.9% confidence interval. The 11 spots represented seven distinct proteins, five of which were significantly more abundant in the pregnant group: IgGFc-binding protein, filamin-C, carboxypeptidase B, transthyretin, and immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region. To our knowledge, this was the first study that employed 2D-DIGE to identify differentially expressed proteins in fecal samples to characterize a physiological condition other than those related to gastrointestinal disorders. These promising results provided a strong foundation for ensuing efforts to develop a non-invasive pregnancy assay for use in both captive and wild polar bears. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Performance and retention of lightweight satellite radio tags applied to the ears of polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiig, Øystein; Born, Erik W.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Dietz, Rune; Jensen, Mikkel Villum; Durner, George M.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Regehr, Eric V.; St. Martin, Michelle; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Dyck, Markus

    2017-01-01

    BackgroundSatellite telemetry studies provide information that is critical to the conservation and management of species affected by ecological change. Here we report on the performance and retention of two types (SPOT-227 and SPOT-305A) of ear-mounted Argos-linked satellite transmitters (i.e., platform transmitter terminal, or PTT) deployed on free-ranging polar bears in Eastern Greenland, Baffin Bay, Kane Basin, the southern Beaufort Sea, and the Chukchi Sea during 2007–2013.ResultsTransmissions from 142 out of 145 PTTs deployed on polar bears were received for an average of 69.3 days. The average functional longevity, defined as the number of days they transmitted while still attached to polar bears, for SPOT-227 was 56.8 days and for SPOT-305A was 48.6 days. Thirty-four of the 142 (24%) PTTs showed signs of being detached before they stopped transmitting, indicating that tag loss was an important aspect of tag failure. Furthermore, 10 of 26 (38%) bears that were re-observed following application of a PTT had a split ear pinna, suggesting that some transmitters were detached by force. All six PTTs that were still on bears upon recapture had lost the antenna, which indicates that antenna breakage was a significant contributor to PTT failure. Finally, only nine of the 142 (6%) PTTs—three of which were still attached to bears—had a final voltage reading close to the value indicating battery exhaustion. This suggests that battery exhaustion was not a major factor in tag performance.ConclusionsThe average functional longevity of approximately 2 months for ear-mounted PTTs (this study) is poor compared to PTT collars fitted to adult female polar bears, which can last for several years. Early failure of the ear-mounted PTTs appeared to be caused primarily by detachment from the ear or antenna breakage. We suggest that much smaller and lighter ear-mounted transmitters are necessary to reduce the risk of tissue irritation, tissue damage, and tag detachment, and

  1. Movement of a female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in the Kara Sea during the summer sea-ice break-up.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rozhnov, V V; Platonov, N G; Naidenko, S V; Mordvintsev, I N; Ivanov, E A

    2017-01-01

    The polar bear movement trajectory in relation to onset date of the sea-ice break-up was studied in the coastal zone of the Taimyr Peninsula, eastern part of the Kara Sea, using as an example a female polar bear tagged by a radio collar with an Argos satellite transmitter. Analysis of the long-term pattern of ice melting and tracking, by means of satellite telemetry, of the female polar bear who followed the ice-edge outgoing in the north-eastern direction (in summer 2012) suggests that direction of the polar bear movement depends precisely on the direction of the sea-ice cover break-up.

  2. Brain region-specific perfluoroalkylated sulfonate (PFSA) and carboxylic acid (PFCA) accumulation and neurochemical biomarker responses in east Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Kathrine Eggers; Basu, Niladri; Letcher, Robert J.

    2015-01-01

    to bioaccumulate in lipid rich tissues of the brain among other tissues such as liver, and can reach high concentrations in top predators including the polar bear. PFCA and PFSA bioaccummulation in the brain has the potential to pose neurotoxic effects and therefore we conducted a study to investigate...... if variations in neurochemical transmitter systems i.e. the cholinergic, glutaminergic, dopaminergic and GABAergic, could be related to brain-specific bioaccumulation of PFASs in East Greenland polar bears. Nine brain regions from nine polar bears were analyzed for enzyme activity (monoamine oxidase (MAO...... regions, whereas GS activity was positively correlated with PFASs primarily in occipital lobe. Results from the present study support the hypothesis that PFAS concentrations in polar bears from East Greenland have exceeded the threshold limits for neurochemical alterations. It is not known whether...

  3. Formal behavioral evaluation of enrichment programs on a zookeeper's schedule: a case study with a polar bear (Ursus Maritimus) at the Bronx Zoo.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Canino, Wendy; Powell, David

    2010-01-01

    We conducted a brief study of the effectiveness of environmental enrichment for a polar bear at the Bronx Zoo with two objectives in mind. First we wanted to determine if a novel method of collecting data that easily fits into a zookeeper's work routine would produce usable data and if so, we wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of some new items that had been purchased for enriching the polar bear in reducing his pacing behavior. Observations were recorded for 119 days over a period of 5 months from April 2007 through August 2007. Five new items and eight previously used items were rotated and presented to the polar bear in the morning and afternoon. We recorded the bear's behavior five times per day as we passed by his exhibit during our regular work routine. Predictably, we found that the newer enrichment items were more effective at increasing play and decreasing pacing, as well as other more subtle effects on his behavior that helped us to design a better enrichment routine. More importantly, we found that this method of "multi-point scan sampling" was effective at producing ample and reliable data that could be used to analyze the bear's behavior without adding significant work to the keepers' daily routine. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  4. Polyhalogenated compounds (PCBs, chlordanes, HCB and BFRs) in four polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that swam malnourished from East Greenland to Iceland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vetter, Walter; Gall, Vanessa; Skírnisson, Karl

    2015-11-15

    Levels of organohalogen compounds (PCBs, chlordane, PBB 153, PBDEs, HCB) were determined in adipose tissue, liver, kidney and muscle of four polar bears which swam and/or drifted to Iceland in extremely malnourished condition. Since the colonization in the 9th century polar bears have been repeatedly observed in Iceland. However, in recent years three of the animals have clearly left their natural habitat in poor condition in May or June, i.e. at the end of the major feeding season. The fourth bear is believed to have drifted with melting ice to North-Eastern Iceland in mid-winter. The concentrations of the POPs were within the range or higher than the typical concentrations measured in polar bears from the East Greenland population. In addition to the targeted compounds, we tentatively detected Dechlorane 602 and its potential hydrodechlorinated Cl11-metabolite in all samples. Moreover, a polychlorinated compound which partly co-eluted with PCB 209 was detected in all liver samples but not in adipose tissue, kidney or muscle. The mass spectrum of the potential metabolite did not allow determining its structure. Polar bears are good swimmers and can reach Iceland from the ice edge of East Greenland within a few days. Potential reasons for the swims are briefly discussed. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. Persistent organic pollutants, skull size and bone density of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland 1892–2015 and Svalbard 1964–2004

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Daugaard-Petersen, Tobias; Langebæk, Rikke; Rigét, Frank F.

    2018-01-01

    that the skull size of adult East Greenland females was negatively correlated with collection year 1892–2015 (linear regression: p = 0.06). No temporal change was found for BMD or skull size in Svalbard polar bears (ANOVA: all p > 0.05) nor was there any significant difference in BMD between Svalbard and East...... Greenland subpopulations. Skull size was larger in polar bears from Svalbard than from East Greenland (two-way ANOVA: p = 0.003). T-scores reflecting risk of osteoporosis showed that adult males from both East Greenland and Svalbard are at risk of developing osteopenia. Finally, when correcting for age...

  6. In vivo and in vitro changes in neurochemical parameters related to mercury concentrations from specific brain regions of polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krey, Anke; Kwan, Michael; Chan, Hing Man

    2014-11-01

    Mercury (Hg) has been detected in polar bear brain tissue, but its biological effects are not well known. Relationships between Hg concentrations and neurochemical enzyme activities and receptor binding were assessed in the cerebellum, frontal lobes, and occipital lobes of 24 polar bears collected from Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Canada. The concentration-response relationship was further studied with in vitro experiments using pooled brain homogenate of 12 randomly chosen bears. In environmentally exposed brain samples, there was no correlative relationship between Hg concentration and cholinesterase (ChE) activity or muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) binding in any of the 3 brain regions. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in the occipital lobe showed a negative correlative relationship with total Hg concentration. In vitro experiments, however, demonstrated that Hg (mercuric chloride and methylmercury chloride) can inhibit ChE and MAO activities and muscarinic mAChR binding. These results show that Hg can alter neurobiochemical parameters but the current environmental Hg exposure level does have an effect on the neurochemistry of polar bears from northern Canada. © 2014 SETAC.

  7. Spatial and temporal trends of selected trace elements in liver tissue from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Alaska, Canada and Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Routti, H.; Letcher, R.J.; Born, E.W.; Branigan, M.; Dietz, R.; Evans, T.J.; Fisk, A.T.; Peacock, E.; Sonne, C.

    2011-01-01

    Spatial trends and comparative changes in time of selected trace elements were studied in liver tissue from polar bears from ten different subpopulation locations in Alaska, Canadian Arctic and East Greenland. For nine of the trace elements (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Rb, Se and Zn) spatial trends were investigated in 136 specimens sampled during 2005-2008 from bears from these ten subpopulations. Concentrations of Hg, Se and As were highest in the (northern and southern) Beaufort Sea area and lowest in (western and southern) Hudson Bay area and Chukchi/Bering Sea. In contrast, concentrations of Cd showed an increasing trend from east to west. Minor or no spatial trends were observed for Cu, Mn, Rb and Zn. Spatial trends were in agreement with previous studies, possibly explained by natural phenomena. To assess temporal changes of Cd, Hg, Se and Zn concentrations during the last decades, we compared our results to previously published data. These time comparisons suggested recent Hg increase in East Greenland polar bears. This may be related to Hg emissions and/or climate-induced changes in Hg cycles or changes in the polar bear food web related to global warming. Also, Hg:Se molar ratio has increased in East Greenland polar bears, which suggests there may be an increased risk for Hg 2+-mediated toxicity. Since the underlying reasons for spatial trends or changes in time of trace elements in the Arctic are still largely unknown, future studies should focus on the role of changing climate and trace metal emissions on geographical and temporal trends of trace elements. ?? 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

  8. Spatial and temporal trends of selected trace elements in liver tissue from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Routti, Heli; Letcher, Robert J; Born, Erik W; Branigan, Marsha; Dietz, Rune; Evans, Thomas J; Fisk, Aaron T; Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonne, Christian

    2011-08-01

    Spatial trends and comparative changes in time of selected trace elements were studied in liver tissue from polar bears from ten different subpopulation locations in Alaska, Canadian Arctic and East Greenland. For nine of the trace elements (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Rb, Se and Zn) spatial trends were investigated in 136 specimens sampled during 2005-2008 from bears from these ten subpopulations. Concentrations of Hg, Se and As were highest in the (northern and southern) Beaufort Sea area and lowest in (western and southern) Hudson Bay area and Chukchi/Bering Sea. In contrast, concentrations of Cd showed an increasing trend from east to west. Minor or no spatial trends were observed for Cu, Mn, Rb and Zn. Spatial trends were in agreement with previous studies, possibly explained by natural phenomena. To assess temporal changes of Cd, Hg, Se and Zn concentrations during the last decades, we compared our results to previously published data. These time comparisons suggested recent Hg increase in East Greenland polar bears. This may be related to Hg emissions and/or climate-induced changes in Hg cycles or changes in the polar bear food web related to global warming. Also, Hg:Se molar ratio has increased in East Greenland polar bears, which suggests there may be an increased risk for Hg(2+)-mediated toxicity. Since the underlying reasons for spatial trends or changes in time of trace elements in the Arctic are still largely unknown, future studies should focus on the role of changing climate and trace metal emissions on geographical and temporal trends of trace elements.

  9. Brain region-specific perfluoroalkylated sulfonate (PFSA) and carboxylic acid (PFCA) accumulation and neurochemical biomarker responses in east Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eggers Pedersen, Kathrine; Basu, Niladri; Letcher, Robert; Greaves, Alana K; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Styrishave, Bjarne

    2015-04-01

    Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is a growing class of contaminants in the Arctic environment, and include the established perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs; especially perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)) and carboxylic acids (PFCAs). PFSAs and PFCAs of varying chain length have been reported to bioaccumulate in lipid rich tissues of the brain among other tissues such as liver, and can reach high concentrations in top predators including the polar bear. PFCA and PFSA bioaccummulation in the brain has the potential to pose neurotoxic effects and therefore we conducted a study to investigate if variations in neurochemical transmitter systems i.e. the cholinergic, glutaminergic, dopaminergic and GABAergic, could be related to brain-specific bioaccumulation of PFASs in East Greenland polar bears. Nine brain regions from nine polar bears were analyzed for enzyme activity (monoamine oxidase (MAO), acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and glutamine synthetase (GS)) and receptor density (dopamine-2 (D2), muscarinic cholinergic (mAChR) and gamma-butyric acid type A (GABA-A)) along with PFSA and PFCA concentrations. Average brain ∑PFSA concentration was 25ng/g ww where PFOS accounted for 91%. Average ∑PFCA concentration was 88ng/g ww where PFUnDA, PFDoDA and PFTrDA combined accounted for 79%. The highest concentrations of PFASs were measured in brain stem, cerebellum and hippocampus. Correlative analyses were performed both across and within brain regions. Significant positive correlations were found between PFASs and MAO activity in occipital lobe (e.g. ∑PFCA; rp=0.83, p=0.041, n=6) and across brain regions (e.g. ∑PFCA; rp=0.47, p=0.001, ∑PFSA; rp=0.44, p>0.001; n=50). GABA-A receptor density was positively correlated with two PFASs across brain regions (PFOS; rp=0.33, p=0.02 and PFDoDA; rp=0.34, p=0.014; n=52). Significant negative correlations were found between mAChR density and PFASs in cerebellum (e.g. ∑PFCA; rp=-0.95, p=0.013, n=5) and across brain regions (e.g.

  10. Are organohalogen contaminants a bears (Ursus maritimus)?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Leifsson, PS

    2006-01-01

    PBDE, polychlorinated biphenyl, and hexachlorocyclohexane concentrations. The lesions were consistent with those reported previously in highly OHC-contaminated Baltic seal populations and exposed laboratory animals. The renal lesions were a result of aging. However, based on the above statistical findings as well......, whereas none was associated with the sex of the animals. In an age-controlled statistical analysis of covariance, increases in glomerular mesangial deposits and interstitial fibrosis were significantly (p

  11. Movements of female polar bears (Usrus maritimus) in the East Greenland pack ice

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wiig, Øystein; Born, Erik W.; Pedersen, Leif Toudal

    2003-01-01

    The movements of two adult female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in East Greenland and the Greenland Sea area were studied by use of satellite telemetry between the fall of 1994 and the summer of 1998. One female was tracked for 621 days, the other for 1,415 days. During this time the females used...... for a closer monitoring of the effects of this change on the East Greenland polar bear population....... movement rates varied between 0.32 and 0.76km/h. Both bears had very large home ranges (242,000 and 468,000 km(2)) within the dynamic pack ice of the Greenland Sea. The facts that the bears made extensive use of the offshore sea ice and that there is a marked reduction of the Greenland Sea ice call...

  12. Management of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Europe.

    OpenAIRE

    Klenzendorf, Sybille A.

    1997-01-01

    Management of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) in Europe. Sybille A. Klenzendorf (Abstract) Successful conservation of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Europe is associated with public acceptance of damages caused by bears. Recent increases in sheep depredation and beehive damage in central Austria resulted in the deaths of two bears there. Since bear numbers are low in most European populations, alternatives to the elimination of problem bears associated with dam...

  13. Trichinella surveillance in black bears (Ursus americanus) from Oregon, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mortenson, J A; Kent, M L; Fowler, D R; Chomel, B B; Immell, D A

    2014-01-01

    We used serology and muscle digestion to test black bears (Ursus americanus) from western Oregon, USA, for Trichinella. Results indicate black bears in Oregon are not part of a sylvatic cycle for Trichinella, and risk of human exposure to Trichinella larvae from eating black bear meat from Oregon appears low.

  14. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bears (Ursus americanus) prevent trabecular bone loss during disuse (hibernation).

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Wojda, Samantha J; Barlow, Lindsay N; Drummer, Thomas D; Castillo, Alesha B; Kennedy, Oran; Condon, Keith W; Auger, Janene; Black, Hal L; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Donahue, Seth W

    2009-12-01

    Disuse typically causes an imbalance in bone formation and bone resorption, leading to losses of cortical and trabecular bone. In contrast, bears maintain balanced intracortical remodeling and prevent cortical bone loss during disuse (hibernation). Trabecular bone, however, is more detrimentally affected than cortical bone in other animal models of disuse. Here we investigated the effects of hibernation on bone remodeling, architectural properties, and mineral density of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bear (Ursus americanus) trabecular bone in several skeletal locations. There were no differences in bone volume fraction or tissue mineral density between hibernating and active bears or between pre- and post-hibernation bears in the ilium, distal femur, or calcaneus. Though indices of cellular activity level (mineral apposition rate, osteoid thickness) decreased, trabecular bone resorption and formation indices remained balanced in hibernating grizzly bears. These data suggest that bears prevent bone loss during disuse by maintaining a balance between bone formation and bone resorption, which consequently preserves bone structure and strength. Further investigation of bone metabolism in hibernating bears may lead to the translation of mechanisms preventing disuse-induced bone loss in bears into novel treatments for osteoporosis.

  15. Gastric dilatation and volvulus in brown bear (Ursus arctos)

    OpenAIRE

    Marinković, Darko; Özvegy, Jòzsef; Aničić, Milan; Vučićević, Ivana; Nešić, Slađan; Kukolj, Vladimir

    2016-01-01

    Gastric dilatation and volvulus is a life-threatening condition characterized by rapid accumulation of food and gases that cause displacement and distension of the stomach. The large and giant, deep-chested breeds of dogs are at higher risk for developing the gastric dilatation and volvulus. Uncommonly, it can also develop in cats, but it is also described in free-range polar bears. A case of gastric dilatation and volvulus in a brown bear (Ursus arctos) is described in this paper. This case ...

  16. MEDULLOBLASTOMA IN A GRIZZLY BEAR (URSUS ARCTOS HORRIBLIS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Jeffrey W; Thomovsky, Stephanie A; Chen, Annie V; Layton, Arthur W; Haldorson, Gary; Tucker, Russell L; Roberts, Gregory

    2015-09-01

    A 3-yr-old female spayed grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) was evaluated for seizure activity along with lethargy, inappetence, dull mentation, and aggressive behavior. Magnetic resonance (MR) examination of the brain revealed a contrast-enhanced right cerebellar mass with multifocal smaller nodules located in the left cerebellum, thalamus, hippocampus, and cerebrum with resultant obstructive hydrocephalus. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed mild mononuclear pleocytosis, with differentials including inflammatory versus neoplastic processes. Blood and cerebrospinal fluid were also submitted for polymerase chain reaction and agar gel immunodiffusion to rule out infectious causes of meningitis/encephalitis. While awaiting these results, the bear was placed on steroid and antibiotic therapy. Over the next week, the bear deteriorated; she died 1 wk after MR. A complete postmortem examination, including immunohistochemisty, revealed the cerebellar mass to be a medulloblastoma. This is the only case report, to the authors' knowledge, describing a medulloblastoma in a grizzly bear.

  17. Acquired arteriovenous fistula in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tuttle, Allison D; MacLean, Robert A; Linder, Keith; Cullen, John M; Wolfe, Barbara A; Loomis, Michael

    2009-03-01

    A captive adult male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) was evaluated due to multifocal wounds of the skin and subcutaneous tissues sustained as a result of trauma from another grizzly bear. On presentation, one lesion that was located in the perineal region seemed to be a deep puncture with purple tissue protruding from it. This perineal wound did not heal in the same manner or rate as did the other wounds. Twenty-five days after initial detection, substantial active hemorrhage from the lesion occurred and necessitated anesthesia for examination of the bear. The entire lesion was surgically excised, which later proved curative. An acquired arteriovenous fistula was diagnosed via histopathology. Arteriovenous fistulas can develop after traumatic injury and should be considered as a potential complication in bears with nonhealing wounds.

  18. Helminths of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the Kola Peninsula.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bugmyrin, S V; Tirronen, K F; Panchenko, D V; Kopatz, A; Hagen, S B; Eiken, H G; Kuznetsova, A S

    2017-06-01

    We present data on the species composition of helminths in brown bears (Ursus arctos) from the Murmansk Region, Russia. The absence of any information about helminths of brown bear in the region necessitated the conduct of these studies. Samples were collected in 2014 and 2015 in the southern part of the Kola Peninsula from the White Sea coastal habitats. Annually, in the study area, 1-3 bears are legally hunted and biological samples for examination are very difficult to obtain. Therefore, we used fecal samples. We studied 93 feces and identified parasite eggs identified in 43 of them by morphometric criteria. The surveys revealed eggs of the following helminths: Dicrocoelium sp., Diphyllobothrium sp., Anoplocephalidae, Capillariidae, Baylisascaris sp., Strongylida 1, and Strongylida 2. These results represent the first reconnaissance stage, which allowed characterizing the taxonomic diversity and prevalence of parasites of brown bears of the Kola Peninsula.

  19. Platelet function in brown bear (Ursus arctos compared to man

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Särndahl Eva

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Information on hemostasis and platelet function in brown bear (Ursus arctos is of importance for understanding the physiological, protective changes during hibernation. Objective The study objective was to document platelet activity values in brown bears shortly after leaving the den and compare them to platelet function in healthy humans. Methods Blood was drawn from immobilized wild brown bears 7-10 days after leaving the den in mid April. Blood samples from healthy human adults before and after clopidogrel and acetylsalicylic acid administration served as control. We analyzed blood samples by standard blood testing and platelet aggregation was quantified after stimulation with various agonists using multiple electrode aggregometry within 3 hours of sampling. Results Blood samples were collected from 6 bears (3 females between 1 and 16 years old and from 10 healthy humans. Results of adenosine diphosphate, aspirin, and thrombin receptor activating peptide tests in bears were all half or less of those in humans. Platelet and white blood cell counts did not differ between species but brown bears had more and smaller red blood cells compared with humans. Conclusion Using three different tests, we conclude that platelet function is lower in brown bears compared to humans. Our findings represent the first descriptive study on platelet function in brown bears and may contribute to explain how bears can endure denning without obvious thrombus building. However, the possibility that our findings reflect test-dependent and not true biological variations in platelet reactivity needs further studies.

  20. HYDROCEPHALUS IN THREE JUVENILE NORTH AMERICAN BLACK BEARS (URSUS AMERICANUS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferguson, Sylvia H; Novak, Janelle; Hecht, Silke; Craig, Linden E

    2016-06-01

    Hydrocephalus has been reported in a variety of species, including the North American black bear ( Ursus americanus ). This report describes three cases of hydrocephalus in this species from wild bears aged 3-4 mo considered retrospectively from necropsy records of one institution. Clinical signs included cortical blindness and ataxia. Primary gross findings were doming of the skull, gyri compression and flattening, and lateral ventricle dilation. Two cases had severe bilateral ventricular dilation with loss of the septum pellucidum; atrophy of the surrounding corpus callosum; and bilateral periventricular tears involving the caudate nuclei, internal capsule, and adjacent cerebrum. Histologically, the cases with periventricular tearing had severe axonal loss and degeneration, malacia, hemorrhage, and variable periventricular astrocytosis. All cases were likely congenital, given the bears' age and lack of an apparent acquired obstruction.

  1. Disseminated pleomorphic myofibrosarcoma in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mete, A; Woods, L; Famini, D; Anderson, M

    2012-01-01

    The pathological and diagnostic features of a widely disseminated pleomorphic high-grade myofibroblastic sarcoma are described in a 23-year-old male brown bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). Firm, solid, white to tan neoplastic nodules, often with cavitated or soft grey-red necrotic centres, were observed throughout most internal organs, subcutaneous tissues and skeletal muscles on gross examination. Microscopically, the tumour consisted of pleomorphic spindle cells forming interlacing fascicles with a focal storiform pattern with large numbers of bizarre polygonal multinucleate cells, frequently within a collagenous stroma. Immunohistochemistry, Masson's trichrome stain and transmission electron microscopy designated the myofibroblast as the cell of origin. This is the first case of a high-grade myofibrosarcoma in a grizzly bear. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  2. Tetranucleotide microsatellite loci from the black bear (Ursus americanus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanderlin, J.S.; Faircloth, B.C.; Shamblin, B.; Conroy, M.J.

    2009-01-01

    We describe primers and polymerase chain reaction conditions to amplify 21 tetranucleotide microsatellite DNA loci in black bears (Ursus americanus). We tested primers using individuals from two populations, one each in Georgia and Florida. Among individuals from Georgia (n = 29), primer pairs yielded an average of 2.9 alleles (range, one to four) and an average observed heterozygosity (HO) of 0.50 (range, 0.00 to 0.79). Among individuals from Florida (n = 19), primer pairs yielded an average of 5.7 alleles (range, one to 14) and an HO of 0.55 (range, 0.00 to 1.00). A comparison of previously developed markers with individuals from Georgia suggests that bear populations in Georgia and Florida have reduced allelic diversity relative to other populations. ?? 2008 The Authors.

  3. Spatial memory in captive American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zamisch, Valeria; Vonk, Jennifer

    2012-11-01

    The spatial memory and foraging strategies of four adult captive-born American black bears (Ursus americanus) were explored in four experiments using a simulated foraging task. In the first three experiments, each session consisted of two phases separated by a delay: During the exploration phase, subjects foraged among a set of baited and unbaited sites. During the delay, the same locations were rebaited and subjects were released again and allowed to search the sites (search phase). In Experiments 1a and 1b, different sites were baited each day and the interval between exploration and search was short (4 hr or 15 min). Subjects were not accurate at recovering the food items in either experiment. In Experiment 2, an "informed forager" paradigm was used in which one subject was given privileged knowledge about the location of the food during the exploration phase and was later released with an "uninformed" competitor during the search phase. The bears did not achieve above-chance recovery accuracy even in the presence of a competitor. In Experiment 3, the same two of four sites were continually baited and the bears were released simultaneously over a period of 20 days, with each baiting separated by 2 or 3 days. As a group, the bears' foraging accuracy with repeated baiting and longer intervals approached greater than chance accuracy. Results suggest some limitations on bears' use of spatial memory in captive environments, but reveal the potential for use of spatial memory over longer delays.

  4. Hemotropic mycoplasma infection in wild black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iso, Takehiro; Suzuki, Jin; Sasaoka, Fumina; Sashida, Hinako; Watanabe, Yusaku; Fujihara, Masatoshi; Nagai, Kazuya; Harasawa, Ryô

    2013-04-12

    This is the first report on Mycoplasma infection in wild bears. We report a novel hemotropic Mycoplasma (also called hemoplasma) detected in a free-ranging black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) in Japan. We then used real-time PCR to look for hemoplasma DNA in blood samples collected from 15 bears and found that eight (53%) were positive. Among these eight PCR samples, seven showed a melting temperature of around 85.5°C, while the remaining one showed a single peak at 82.26°C. Almost the entire region of the 16S rRNA gene as well as the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic transcribed spacer (ITS) region from the sample that showed a melting temperature of 82.26°C was successfully amplified by means of end-point PCR. The nucleotide sequences of the 16S rRNA gene and the ITS region were then determined and compared with those of authentic Mycoplasma species. Our examinations revealed the presence of a novel hemoplasma in Japanese black bears. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. First report of Taenia arctos (Cestoda: Taeniidae) from grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in North America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Catalano, Stefano; Lejeune, Manigandan; Verocai, Guilherme G; Duignan, Pádraig J

    2014-04-01

    The cestode Taenia arctos was found at necropsy in the small intestine of a grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) and a black bear (Ursus americanus) from Kananaskis Country in southwestern Alberta, Canada. The autolysis of the tapeworm specimens precluded detailed morphological characterization of the parasites but molecular analysis based on mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene confirmed their identity as T. arctos. This is the first report of T. arctos from definitive hosts in North America. Its detection in Canadian grizzly and black bears further supports the Holarctic distribution of this tapeworm species and its specificity for ursids as final hosts. Previously, T. arctos was unambiguously described at its adult stage in brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) from Finland, and as larval stages in Eurasian elk (Alces alces) from Finland and moose (Alces americanus) from Alaska, USA. Given the morphological similarity between T. arctos and other Taenia species, the present study underlines the potential for misidentification of tapeworm taxa in previous parasitological reports from bears and moose across North America. The biogeographical history of both definitive and intermediate hosts in the Holarctic suggests an ancient interaction between U. arctos, Alces spp., and T. arctos, and a relatively recent host-switching event in U. americanus. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Cardiac function adaptations in hibernating grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T

    2010-03-01

    Research on the cardiovascular physiology of hibernating mammals may provide insight into evolutionary adaptations; however, anesthesia used to handle wild animals may affect the cardiovascular parameters of interest. To overcome these potential biases, we investigated the functional cardiac phenotype of the hibernating grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) during the active, transitional and hibernating phases over a 4 year period in conscious rather than anesthetized bears. The bears were captive born and serially studied from the age of 5 months to 4 years. Heart rate was significantly different from active (82.6 +/- 7.7 beats/min) to hibernating states (17.8 +/- 2.8 beats/min). There was no difference from the active to the hibernating state in diastolic and stroke volume parameters or in left atrial area. Left ventricular volume:mass was significantly increased during hibernation indicating decreased ventricular mass. Ejection fraction of the left ventricle was not different between active and hibernating states. In contrast, total left atrial emptying fraction was significantly reduced during hibernation (17.8 +/- 2.8%) as compared to the active state (40.8 +/- 1.9%). Reduced atrial chamber function was also supported by reduced atrial contraction blood flow velocities and atrial contraction ejection fraction during hibernation; 7.1 +/- 2.8% as compared to 20.7 +/- 3% during the active state. Changes in the diastolic cardiac filling cycle, especially atrial chamber contribution to ventricular filling, appear to be the most prominent macroscopic functional change during hibernation. Thus, we propose that these changes in atrial chamber function constitute a major adaptation during hibernation which allows the myocardium to conserve energy, avoid chamber dilation and remain healthy during a period of extremely low heart rates. These findings will aid in rational approaches to identifying underlying molecular mechanisms.

  7. EVALUATION OF CARDIOLOGIC FUNCTIONS IN CAPTIVE EURASIAN BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS ARCTOS) IN TURKEY.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cihan, Huseyin; Yilmaz, Zeki; Aytug, Nilufer

    2016-03-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the cardiac functions in healthy Eurasian brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) living in a seminatural area during their active season. Twelve clinically healthy brown bears were selected based on their normal physical examination, hematologic, and serum biochemistry results. These bears were divided into two groups based on age; subadult (bears. Notching of QRS complexes and peaked T wave were also observed in both groups. Left ventricular diameter at systole and diastole in adult bears was wider (P bears. Subadult bears had reduced aortic diameter compared to adult bears (P bears.

  8. Questioning current practice in brown bear, Ursus arctos, conservation in Europe that undervalues taxonomy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gippoliti, S.

    2016-07-01

    The present paper highlights problems associated with the currently–accepted taxonomy of brown bear, Ursus arctos, and their consequences for conservation at the European level. The enormous morphological variability within Ursus arctos is not acknowledged in current taxonomy and conservation practice. Seven major clades are recognized in Ursus arctos by molecular researchers, and although Western Europe maintains most of the populations belonging to the relict Clade 1 brown bear lineage, no reference to this is made in current conservation policy. Furthermore, the tiny population of Apennine brown bears, characterized by unique skull morphology, is not even recognized as a distinct ESU (evolutionari significant unit) by current European legislation, nor is it included in the IUCN Red List. This may have serious consequences as brown bear conservation in Western Europe has been mainly based on restocking and reintroduction programs. (Author)

  9. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in American Black Bears ( Ursus americanus ) of the Central Appalachians, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cox, John J; Murphy, Sean M; Augustine, Ben C; Guthrie, Joseph M; Hast, John T; Maehr, Sutton C; McDermott, Joseph

    2017-07-01

    We assessed Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence in 53 free-ranging American black bears ( Ursus americanus ) in the Central Appalachian Mountains, US. Seroprevalence was 62% with no difference between males and females or between juvenile and adult bears. Wildlife agencies should consider warnings in hunter education programs to reduce the chances for human infection from this source.

  10. Prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in North Carolina Eastern Black Bears ( Ursus americanus ).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westmoreland, Lori S H; Stoskopf, Michael K; Maggi, Ricardo G

    2016-10-01

    We detected Anaplasma phagocytophilum by DNA amplification in whole blood from free-ranging, hunter-killed American black bears ( Ursus americanus ) from the east coast of North Carolina, US. Molecular prevalence for Anaplasma phagocytophilum was 3% from 68 black bears. No DNA of other Anaplasma or Ehrlichia spp. was identified.

  11. Fractal analysis of polar bear hairs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wang Qing-Li

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Hairs of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus are of superior properties such as the excellent thermal protection. Why do polar bears can resist such cold environment? The paper concludes that its fractal porosity plays an important role, and its fractal dimensions are very close to the golden mean, 1.618, revealing the possible optimal structure of polar bear hair.

  12. One of the last wild brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the Netherlands (Noordwijk)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Plicht, Johannes; Kuijper, Wim J.; Verheijen, Ivo K.A.; Ramcharan, André; Kolfschoten, T. van

    2016-01-01

    Early in 2016, bones of a left front leg of a brown bear (Ursus arctos) were found in the dunes between Noordwijk and Zandvoort (Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen - Amsterdam Water Supply Dunes). The stratigraphical composition of the find horizon was identified as the old surface (palaeosoil) of the

  13. Role of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the flow of marine nitrogen into a terrestrial ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grant V. Hilderbrand; Thomas A. Hanley; Charles T. Robbins; Charles C. Schwartz

    1999-01-01

    We quantified the amount, spatial distribution, and importance of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.)-derived nitrogen (N) by brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. We tested and confirmed the hypothesis that the stable isotope signature (δ15N) of N in foliage of white spruce (

  14. First case of Trichodectes pinguis (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera: Trichodectidae) on a Bear (Ursus arctos) in Turkey.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dik, Bilal; Orunç Kılınç, Özlem

    2015-12-01

    This study was conducted to provide morphological characters of Trichodectes pinguis Burmeister, 1838 that was found on a European brown bear (Ursus arctos Linnaeus) that was found injured in the Van province, eastern Turkey. Three lice specimens were collected from the bear, and they were identified as T. pinguis. The morphological characteristics of this species were provided in this study. T. pinguis was reported for the first time in Turkey.

  15. Consumption of seeds of southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) by Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mattson, David J.; Arundel, Terry A.

    2013-01-01

    We report a discovery of black bears (Ursus americanus) consuming seeds of southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) on north slopes of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona, in high-elevation, mixed-species conifer forest. In one instance, a bear had obtained seeds from cones excavated from a larder horde made by a red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). Consumption of seeds of southwestern white pine by bears had not been previously documented. This discovery adds to the number of species of pine used by bears for food as well as the geographic range within which the behavior occurs.

  16. Can polar bear hairs absorb environmental energy?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    He Ji-Huan

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available A polar bear (Ursus maritimus has superior ability to survive in harsh Arctic regions, why does the animal have such an excellent thermal protection? The present paper finds that the unique labyrinth cavity structure of the polar bear hair plays an important role. The hair can not only prevent body temperature loss but can also absorb energy from the environment.

  17. Foot-and-mouth disease in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Officer, Kirsty; Lan, Nguyen Thi; Wicker, Leanne; Hoa, Nguyen Thi; Weegenaar, Annemarie; Robinson, Jill; Ryoji, Yamaguchi; Loukopoulos, Panayiotis

    2014-09-01

    Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious, debilitating, and globally significant viral disease typically affecting cloven-hoofed hosts. The diagnosis of FMD in bears in Vietnam is described. The current study describes a confirmed case of FMD in a bear species, and the clinical signs compatible with FMD in a Malayan sun bear. Thirteen Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and 1 Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) were apparently affected. In August 2011, an adult bear became lethargic, and developed footpad vesicles. Over 15 days, 14 out of 17 bears developed similar signs; the remaining 3 co-housed bears and another 57 resident bears did not. All affected bears developed vesicles on all footpads, and most were lethargic for 24-48 hr. Nasal and oral lesions were noted in 6 and 3 cases, respectively. Within 1 month, all looked normal. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) was detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, classified as serotype O, and isolated by virus isolation techniques. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated clustering of 3 bear isolates, in a branch distinct from other FMDV type O isolates. The outbreak likely occurred due to indirect contact with livestock, and was facilitated by the high density of captive bears. It showed that Asiatic black bears are capable of contracting FMDV and developing clinical disease, and that the virus spreads easily between bears in close contact. © 2014 The Author(s).

  18. Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls decrease circulating steroids in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gustavson, Lisa; Ciesielski, Tomasz M; Bytingsvik, Jenny

    2015-01-01

    ), androstenedione (AN), testosterone (TS), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2), 17β-estradiol (βE2), pregnenolone (PRE) and progesterone (PRO) were determined. The aim of the study was to investigate associations among circulating levels of specific POP compounds and POP...

  19. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) – New endocrine disruptors in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Kathrine Eggers; Letcher, Robert J.; Sonne, Christian

    2016-01-01

    in brain steroid concentrations arise from interference with de novo steroid synthesis or via disruption of peripheral steroidogenic tissues mainly in gonads and feedback mechanisms. Steroids are important for brain plasticity and gender specific behavior as well as postnatal development and sexually...

  20. Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls decrease circulating steroids in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gustavson, Lisa; Ciesielski, Tomasz M.; Bytingsvik, Jenny

    2015-01-01

    ), androstenedione (AN), testosterone (TS), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2), 17β-estradiol (βE2), pregnenolone (PRE) and progesterone (PRO) were determined. The aim of the study was to investigate associations among circulating levels of specific POP compounds and POP...

  1. Xenoestrogenic and dioxin-like activity in blood of East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Erdmann, Simon Erik; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian

    2013-01-01

    chromatography (HPLC). ER mediated transactivity was determined using the ER luciferase reporter MVLN cell assay. The extracts were tested alone (XER) and together with 17β-estradiol (E2) as a physiological mimic (XERcomp). Dioxins and dioxin-like (DL) compounds were extracted by a combination of SPE...... and the Supelco Dioxin Prep System®. AhR mediated dioxin-like transactivity was determined using the AhR luciferase reporter Hepa 1.12cR cell assay. Agonistic ER transactivity was elicited by 19% of the samples, and a further increased E2 induced ER response was found for 52%, whereas 17% antagonized the E2...

  2. Behaviour of solitary adult Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos when approached by humans on foot.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gro Kvelprud Moen

    Full Text Available Successful management has brought the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos L. back from the brink of extinction, but as the population grows and expands the probability of bear-human encounters increases. More people express concerns about spending time in the forest, because of the possibility of encountering bears, and acceptance for the bear is decreasing. In this context, reliable information about the bear's normal behaviour during bear-human encounters is important. Here we describe the behaviour of brown bears when encountering humans on foot. During 2006-2009, we approached 30 adult (21 females, 9 males GPS-collared bears 169 times during midday, using 1-minute positioning before, during and after the approach. Observer movements were registered with a handheld GPS. The approaches started 869±348 m from the bears, with the wind towards the bear when passing it at approximately 50 m. The bears were detected in 15% of the approaches, and none of the bears displayed any aggressive behaviour. Most bears (80% left the initial site during the approach, going away from the observers, whereas some remained at the initial site after being approached (20%. Young bears left more often than older bears, possibly due to differences in experience, but the difference between ages decreased during the berry season compared to the pre-berry season. The flight initiation distance was longer for active bears (115±94 m than passive bears (69±47 m, and was further affected by horizontal vegetation cover and the bear's age. Our findings show that bears try to avoid confrontations with humans on foot, and support the conclusions of earlier studies that the Scandinavian brown bear is normally not aggressive during encounters with humans.

  3. SURGICAL CORRECTION OF BILATERAL PATELLAR LUXATION IN AN AMERICAN BLACK BEAR CUB (URSUS AMERICANUS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bennett, Katarina R; Desmarchelier, Marion R; Bailey, Trina R

    2015-06-01

    A wild orphaned male American black bear cub ( Ursus americanus ) presented with hind limb gait abnormalities and was found to have bilateral grade 3 laterally luxating patellas. There were no other significant abnormalities detected on neurologic, radiographic, or hematologic examinations. The trochlear grooves were deepened with a chondroplasty, and the redundant soft tissues imbricated. There was a marked improvement in the bear's gait postoperatively, with an apparent full return to function. To the authors' knowledge, patellar luxation has not been reported in the Ursidae family, and the success in this case suggests that this technique may be used in large wild or captive carnivore cubs.

  4. Studies on endoparasites of the black bear (Ursus americanus) in the southeastern United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crum, J M; Nettles, V F; Davidson, W R

    1978-04-01

    Examination of 53 black bears (Ursus americanus) from six states in the southeastern United States revealed at least 17 species of endoparasites, including Sarcocystis sp., Spirometra mansonoides (spargana), Macracanthorhynchus ingens, Ancylostoma caninum, Arthrocephalus lotoris, Baylisascaris transfuga, Capillaria aerophila, Capillaria putorii, Crenosoma sp., Cyathospirura sp., Dirofilaria immitis, Gnathostoma sp., Gongylonema pulchrum, microfilariae, Molineus barbatus, Physaloptera sp. and Strongyloides sp. Twelve of these represent new host records for black bear, and two are considered to be new species. Data are presented on prevalence, intensity and geographic distribution of each species. Pathologic effects were associated with infections of spargana of S. mansonoides and adults of C. aerophilia.

  5. Exertional myopathy in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) captured by leghold snare.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cattet, Marc; Stenhouse, Gordon; Bollinger, Trent

    2008-10-01

    We diagnosed exertional myopathy (EM) in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) that died approximately 10 days after capture by leghold snare in west-central Alberta, Canada, in June 2003. The diagnosis was based on history, post-capture movement data, gross necropsy, histopathology, and serum enzyme levels. We were unable to determine whether EM was the primary cause of death because autolysis precluded accurate evaluation of all tissues. Nevertheless, comparison of serum aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase concentrations and survival between the affected bear and other grizzly bears captured by leghold snare in the same research project suggests EM also occurred in other bears, but that it is not generally a cause of mortality. We propose, however, occurrence of nonfatal EM in grizzly bears after capture by leghold snare has potential implications for use of this capture method, including negative effects on wildlife welfare and research data.

  6. Chewing lice Trichodectes pinguis pinguis in Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Núria Fandos Esteruelas

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available In April 2014 and 2015, we noted localized alopecia (neck, forelimbs, and chest and hyperpigmentation on two adult brown bears (Ursus arctos captured in central-south Sweden for ecological studies under the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project. In spring 2015, a brown bear was shot because of human-wildlife conflict in the same region. This bear also had extensive alopecia and hyperpigmentation. Ectoparasites were collected from the affected skin areas in all three individuals and preserved in ethanol for identification. Based on morphological characteristics, the lice were identified as Trichodectes spp. and Trichodectes pinguis pinguis. To our knowledge, these are the first reported cases of chewing lice in free-ranging brown bears in Scandinavia.

  7. 77 FR 23432 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Special Rule for the Polar Bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-19

    ... Polar Bear AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; availability of draft... and advisable to provide for the conservation of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus). The Secretary has the discretion to prohibit by regulation with respect to the polar bear any act prohibited by section...

  8. One-dimensional heat conduction equation of the polar bear hair

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhu Wei-Hong

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Hairs of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus possess special membrane-pore structure. The structure enables the polar bear to survive in the harsh Arctic regions. In this paper, the membrane-pore structure be approximately considered as fractal space, 1-D heat conduction equation of the polar bear hair is established and the solution of the equation is obtained.

  9. Population viability and connectivity of the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laufenberg, Jared S.; Clark, Joseph D.

    2014-01-01

    In 1992, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) granted Ursus americanus luteolus (Louisiana black bear) threatened status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, listing loss and fragmentation of habitat as the primary threats. A study was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the University of Tennessee, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the USFWS to estimate demographic rates and genetic structure of Louisiana black bear populations; evaluate relations between environmental and anthropogenic factors and demographic, genetic, and movement characteristics of Louisiana black bear populations; and develop data-driven stochastic population projection models to assess long-term persistence of individual subpopulations and the overall black bear population in Louisiana.

  10. Trichinella Surveillance in Black Bears ( Ursus americanus ) from the Dehcho Region, Northwest Territories, Canada, 2002-15.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larter, Nicholas C; Elkin, Brett T; Forbes, Lorry B; Wagner, Brent; Allaire, Danny G

    2017-04-01

    We used muscle digestion to test black bears ( Ursus americanus ) from the southwestern Northwest Territories, Canada, for Trichinella. Results showed a prevalence of 4.1%. Some bears had infection intensities of more than one larva per gram of muscle tissue; this level in meat is considered to pose a human consumption safety risk.

  11. Isolation and characterization of new genetic types of toxoplasma gondii and prevalence of trichinella murrelli from black bear (Ursus americanus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Black bears (Ursus americanus) are hosts for two important zoonotic parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spp. and bears are hunted for human consumption in the USA. Little is known of the genetic diversity of T. gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study, antibodies to T. gondii we...

  12. Serosurvey for selected pathogens in free-ranging American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Maryland, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bronson, Ellen; Spiker, Harry; Driscoll, Cindy P

    2014-10-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Maryland, USA, live in forested areas in close proximity to humans and their domestic pets. From 1999 to 2011, we collected 84 serum samples from 63 black bears (18 males; 45 females) in five Maryland counties and tested them for exposure to infectious, including zoonotic, pathogens. A large portion of the bears had antibody to canine distemper virus and Toxoplasma gondii, many at high titers. Prevalences of antibodies to zoonotic agents such as rabies virus and to infectious agents of carnivores including canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus were lower. Bears also had antibodies to vector-borne pathogens common to bears and humans such as West Nile virus, Borrelia burgdorferi, Rickettsia rickettsii, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Antibodies were detected to Leptospira interrogans serovars Pomona, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, and Bratislava. We did not detect antibodies to Brucella canis or Ehrlichia canis. Although this population of Maryland black bears demonstrated exposure to multiple pathogens of concern for humans and domesticated animals, the low levels of clinical disease in this and other free-ranging black bear populations indicate the black bear is likely a spillover host for the majority of pathogens studied. Nevertheless, bear populations living at the human-domestic-wildlife interface with increasing human and domestic animal exposure should continue to be monitored because this population likely serves as a useful sentinel of ecosystem health.

  13. Application of brown bear (Ursus arctos) records for retrospective assessment of mercury.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Solgi, Eisa; Ghasempouri, Seyed Mahmoud

    2015-01-01

    Because mercury (Hg) is released into the atmosphere, wildlife living in habitats located far from point sources of metal may still be at risk. Mercury accumulation, previously considered a risk for aquatic ecosystems, is also found in many wildlife terrestrial species. The aim of the present study was to examine total Hg concentrations in the brown bear (Ursus arctos) by measurement of metal in hair from museum collections in Iran. Another objective of this investigation was to characterize the risk of Hg exposure in bears in several parts of Iran. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) hair samples (n = 35) were collected from 14 provinces in Iran for analysis of Hg contamination, performed using an advanced mercury analyzer (model Leco 254 AMA, USA) according to ASTM standard D-6722. Total Hg levels in Iranian bears from all areas ranged from 115.81 to 505.82 μg/kg, with a mean of 193.39 ng/g. Mercury concentrations in brown bear hair from different provinces in Iran were as follows in descending order: Khorasan Razavi > Esfahan > Khozestan > Yazd > Lorestan > Charmahalva Bakhtiari > Bushehr > Mazandaran > Markazi > Tehran > Ardebil > Gilan > East Azerbaijan. The highest content of Hg was found in the south (206.62 ± 31.95 ng/g), whereas the lowest levels were detected in the west (167.71 ± 32.97 ng/g). Overall total Hg content in bear hair was below harmful levels for this species. A decreasing trend was noted in the period 1986-2006, which may be mainly due to reduction of global Hg emissions. Data suggest that food habits and habitat are two important factors that influence Hg accumulation in bears.

  14. 75 FR 24545 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-05-05

    ... Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear in the United States AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior... designation of critical habitat for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973... for the polar bear and on the DEA, and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We...

  15. Salvaging urospermic ejaculates from brown bear (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomes-Alves, S; Alvarez, M; Nicolas, M; Martínez-Rodríguez, C; Borragán, S; Chamorro, C A; Anel, L; de Paz, P

    2014-11-30

    The objective of this study was to reverse the osmotic stress of sperm in urine contaminated bear ejaculates that were obtained by electroejaculation using pre-freezing washing or density gradient centrifugation isolation. In Experiment 1, ejaculates were divided into six aliquots, five were diluted in each washing extender: 200, 300, 400, 500 and 700 mOsm/kg (prepared from a Tes-Tris-Fructose base, adding water or fructose as corresponds), at a 1:2 ratio (raw semen: washing solution, v/v); and the other aliquot was handled without washing (Control group). Samples were centrifuged at 600 × g for 6 min prior to freezing. In Experiment 2, ejaculates were divided into two aliquots: one was diluted 1:1 with TCG (Tris-Citric acid-Glucose) and centrifuged at 600 × g for 6 min (Centrifugation Control; C-Control); the other was treated with PureSperm density gradient column. After treatments, samples were cryopreserved. Sperm motility, viability (SYBR-14/propidium iodide (PI)) and acrosomal status (peanut agglutinin-fluorescein isothiocyanate (PNA-FITC)/PI) were analyzed before and after freezing. Ejaculates with an initial osmolality of less than 120 mOsm/kg treated with pre-freezing washing, and the Control sample had greater pre-freezing sperm motility than the raw ejaculate, but sperm viability was not different among these groups. The samples washed with 700 mOsm/kg solutions had the least pre-freezing viability. In the post-thawing evaluation, pre-freezing washing treatments did not provide any improvement in comparison with the Control sample, and treatment with 700 mOsm/kg extender had deleterious effects in all urospermic samples. PureSperm density gradient centrifugation applied to urospermic raw semen was suitable for improving sperm motility and viability of pre-freezing samples and the selected spermatozoa had greater freezing capacity. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. PREVALENCE OF BABESIA SPP., EHRLICHIA SPP., AND TICK INFESTATIONS IN OKLAHOMA BLACK BEARS (URSUS AMERICANUS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Skinner, Delaina; Mitcham, Jessica R; Starkey, Lindsay A; Noden, Bruce H; Fairbanks, W Sue; Little, Susan E

    2017-10-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) are commonly infested with ticks throughout their range, but there are few surveys for tick-borne disease agents in bears. To characterize tick infestations and determine the prevalence of current infection with Babesia spp. and past or current infection with Ehrlichia spp. in newly re-established populations of black bears in east central and southeastern Oklahoma, US, we identified adult (n=1,048) and immature (n=107) ticks recovered from bears (n=62). We evaluated serum and whole blood samples from a subset (n=49) for antibodies reactive to, and characteristic DNA fragments of, Ehrlichia spp., as well as characteristic DNA fragments of Babesia spp. Amblyomma americanum, the most common tick identified, was found on a majority (56/62; 90%) of bears and accounted for 697/1,048 (66.5%) of all ticks recovered. Other ticks included Dermacentor variabilis (338/1,048; 32.3%) from 36 bears, Amblyomma maculatum (9/1,048; 0.9%) from three bears, and Ixodes scapularis (4/1,048; 0.4%) from three bears. Antibodies reactive to Ehrlichia spp. were detected in every bear tested (49/49; 100%); maximum inverse titers to Ehrlichia chaffeensis ranged from 64-4,096 (geometric mean titer 1,525). However, PCR failed to identify active infection with E. chaffeensis, Ehrlichia ewingii, or an Ehrlichia ruminantium-like agent. Infection with Babesia spp. was detected by PCR in 3/49 (6%) bears. Together these data confirm that tick infestations and infection with tick-borne disease agents are common in bears in the southern US. The significance of these infestations and infections to the health of bears, if any, and the identity of the Ehrlichia spp. responsible for the antibody reactivity seen, warrant further evaluation.

  17. MHC class II DQB diversity in the Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus japonicus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yasukochi, Yoshiki; Kurosaki, Toshifumi; Yoneda, Masaaki; Koike, Hiroko; Satta, Yoko

    2012-11-29

    The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are one of the most important genetic systems in the vertebrate immune response. The diversity of MHC genes may directly influence the survival of individuals against infectious disease. However, there has been no investigation of MHC diversity in the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus). Here, we analyzed 270-bp nucleotide sequences of the entire exon 2 region of the MHC DQB gene by using 188 samples from the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) from 12 local populations. Among 185 of 188 samples, we identified 44 MHC variants that encoded 31 different amino acid sequences (allotypes) and one putative pseudogene. The phylogenetic analysis suggests that MHC variants detected from the Japanese black bear are derived from the DQB locus. One of the 31 DQB allotypes, Urth-DQB*01, was found to be common to all local populations. Moreover, this allotype was shared between the black bear on the Asian continent and the Japanese black bear, suggesting that Urth-DQB*01 might have been maintained in the ancestral black bear population for at least 300,000 years. Our findings, from calculating the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions, indicate that balancing selection has maintained genetic variation of peptide-binding residues at the DQB locus of the Japanese black bear. From examination of genotype frequencies among local populations, we observed a considerably lower level of observed heterozygosity than expected. The low level of observed heterozygosity suggests that genetic drift reduced DQB diversity in the Japanese black bear due to a bottleneck event at the population or species level. The decline of DQB diversity might have been accelerated by the loss of rare variants that have been maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection. Nevertheless, DQB diversity of the black bear appears to be relatively high compared with some other endangered mammalian species. This result suggests that

  18. MHC class II DQB diversity in the Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus japonicus

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-01

    Background The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are one of the most important genetic systems in the vertebrate immune response. The diversity of MHC genes may directly influence the survival of individuals against infectious disease. However, there has been no investigation of MHC diversity in the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus). Here, we analyzed 270-bp nucleotide sequences of the entire exon 2 region of the MHC DQB gene by using 188 samples from the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) from 12 local populations. Results Among 185 of 188 samples, we identified 44 MHC variants that encoded 31 different amino acid sequences (allotypes) and one putative pseudogene. The phylogenetic analysis suggests that MHC variants detected from the Japanese black bear are derived from the DQB locus. One of the 31 DQB allotypes, Urth-DQB*01, was found to be common to all local populations. Moreover, this allotype was shared between the black bear on the Asian continent and the Japanese black bear, suggesting that Urth-DQB*01 might have been maintained in the ancestral black bear population for at least 300,000 years. Our findings, from calculating the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions, indicate that balancing selection has maintained genetic variation of peptide-binding residues at the DQB locus of the Japanese black bear. From examination of genotype frequencies among local populations, we observed a considerably lower level of observed heterozygosity than expected. Conclusions The low level of observed heterozygosity suggests that genetic drift reduced DQB diversity in the Japanese black bear due to a bottleneck event at the population or species level. The decline of DQB diversity might have been accelerated by the loss of rare variants that have been maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection. Nevertheless, DQB diversity of the black bear appears to be relatively high compared with some other endangered mammalian

  19. MHC class II DQB diversity in the Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus japonicus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yasukochi Yoshiki

    2012-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The major histocompatibility complex (MHC genes are one of the most important genetic systems in the vertebrate immune response. The diversity of MHC genes may directly influence the survival of individuals against infectious disease. However, there has been no investigation of MHC diversity in the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus. Here, we analyzed 270-bp nucleotide sequences of the entire exon 2 region of the MHC DQB gene by using 188 samples from the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus from 12 local populations. Results Among 185 of 188 samples, we identified 44 MHC variants that encoded 31 different amino acid sequences (allotypes and one putative pseudogene. The phylogenetic analysis suggests that MHC variants detected from the Japanese black bear are derived from the DQB locus. One of the 31 DQB allotypes, Urth-DQB*01, was found to be common to all local populations. Moreover, this allotype was shared between the black bear on the Asian continent and the Japanese black bear, suggesting that Urth-DQB*01 might have been maintained in the ancestral black bear population for at least 300,000 years. Our findings, from calculating the ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions, indicate that balancing selection has maintained genetic variation of peptide-binding residues at the DQB locus of the Japanese black bear. From examination of genotype frequencies among local populations, we observed a considerably lower level of observed heterozygosity than expected. Conclusions The low level of observed heterozygosity suggests that genetic drift reduced DQB diversity in the Japanese black bear due to a bottleneck event at the population or species level. The decline of DQB diversity might have been accelerated by the loss of rare variants that have been maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection. Nevertheless, DQB diversity of the black bear appears to be relatively high compared with some other

  20. Social network analysis of mating patterns in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Jennifer A; Xu, Ran; Frank, Kenneth; Draheim, Hope; Scribner, Kim T

    2015-08-01

    Nonrandom mating can structure populations and has important implications for population-level processes. Investigating how and why mating deviates from random is important for understanding evolutionary processes as well as informing conservation and management. Prior to the implementation of parentage analyses, understanding mating patterns in solitary, elusive species like bears was virtually impossible. Here, we capitalize on a long-term genetic data set collected from black bears (Ursus americanus) (N = 2422) in the Northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) of Michigan, USA. We identified mated pairs using parentage analysis and applied logistic regression (selection) models that controlled for features of the social network, to quantify the effects of individual characteristics, and spatial and population demographic factors on mating dynamics. Logistic regression models revealed that black bear mating was associated with spatial proximity of mates, male age, the time a pair had coexisted, local population density and relatedness. Mated pairs were more likely to contain older males. On average, bears tended to mate with nearby individuals to whom they were related, which does not support the existence of kin recognition in black bears. Pairwise relatedness was especially high for mated pairs containing young males. Restricted dispersal and high male turnover from intensive harvest mortality of NLP black bears are probably the underlying factors associated with younger male bears mating more often with female relatives. Our findings illustrate how harvest has the potential to disrupt the social structure of game species, which warrants further attention for conservation and management. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  1. Genomic analysis of expressed sequence tags in American black bear Ursus americanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Sen; Shao, Chunxuan; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Stewart, Nathan C; Xu, Yichi; Tøien, Øivind; Barnes, Brian M; Fedorov, Vadim B; Yan, Jun

    2010-03-26

    Species of the bear family (Ursidae) are important organisms for research in molecular evolution, comparative physiology and conservation biology, but relatively little genetic sequence information is available for this group. Here we report the development and analyses of the first large scale Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) resource for the American black bear (Ursus americanus). Comprehensive analyses of molecular functions, alternative splicing, and tissue-specific expression of 38,757 black bear EST sequences were conducted using the dog genome as a reference. We identified 18 genes, involved in functions such as lipid catabolism, cell cycle, and vesicle-mediated transport, that are showing rapid evolution in the bear lineage Three genes, Phospholamban (PLN), cysteine glycine-rich protein 3 (CSRP3) and Troponin I type 3 (TNNI3), are related to heart contraction, and defects in these genes in humans lead to heart disease. Two genes, biphenyl hydrolase-like (BPHL) and CSRP3, contain positively selected sites in bear. Global analysis of evolution rates of hibernation-related genes in bear showed that they are largely conserved and slowly evolving genes, rather than novel and fast-evolving genes. We provide a genomic resource for an important mammalian organism and our study sheds new light on the possible functions and evolution of bear genes.

  2. Genomic analysis of expressed sequence tags in American black bear Ursus americanus

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

    Background Species of the bear family (Ursidae) are important organisms for research in molecular evolution, comparative physiology and conservation biology, but relatively little genetic sequence information is available for this group. Here we report the development and analyses of the first large scale Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) resource for the American black bear (Ursus americanus). Results Comprehensive analyses of molecular functions, alternative splicing, and tissue-specific expression of 38,757 black bear EST sequences were conducted using the dog genome as a reference. We identified 18 genes, involved in functions such as lipid catabolism, cell cycle, and vesicle-mediated transport, that are showing rapid evolution in the bear lineage Three genes, Phospholamban (PLN), cysteine glycine-rich protein 3 (CSRP3) and Troponin I type 3 (TNNI3), are related to heart contraction, and defects in these genes in humans lead to heart disease. Two genes, biphenyl hydrolase-like (BPHL) and CSRP3, contain positively selected sites in bear. Global analysis of evolution rates of hibernation-related genes in bear showed that they are largely conserved and slowly evolving genes, rather than novel and fast-evolving genes. Conclusion We provide a genomic resource for an important mammalian organism and our study sheds new light on the possible functions and evolution of bear genes. PMID:20338065

  3. Impacts of Human Recreation on Brown Bears (Ursus arctos): A Review and New Management Tool.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortin, Jennifer K; Rode, Karyn D; Hilderbrand, Grant V; Wilder, James; Farley, Sean; Jorgensen, Carole; Marcot, Bruce G

    2016-01-01

    Increased popularity of recreational activities in natural areas has led to the need to better understand their impacts on wildlife. The majority of research conducted to date has focused on behavioral effects from individual recreations, thus there is a limited understanding of the potential for population-level or cumulative effects. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are the focus of a growing wildlife viewing industry and are found in habitats frequented by recreationists. Managers face difficult decisions in balancing recreational opportunities with habitat protection for wildlife. Here, we integrate results from empirical studies with expert knowledge to better understand the potential population-level effects of recreational activities on brown bears. We conducted a literature review and Delphi survey of brown bear experts to better understand the frequencies and types of recreations occurring in bear habitats and their potential effects, and to identify management solutions and research needs. We then developed a Bayesian network model that allows managers to estimate the potential effects of recreational management decisions in bear habitats. A higher proportion of individual brown bears in coastal habitats were exposed to recreation, including photography and bear-viewing than bears in interior habitats where camping and hiking were more common. Our results suggest that the primary mechanism by which recreation may impact brown bears is through temporal and spatial displacement with associated increases in energetic costs and declines in nutritional intake. Killings in defense of life and property were found to be minimally associated with recreation in Alaska, but are important considerations in population management. Regulating recreation to occur predictably in space and time and limiting recreation in habitats with concentrated food resources reduces impacts on food intake and may thereby, reduce impacts on reproduction and survival. Our results suggest that

  4. Role of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the flow of marine nitrogen into a terrestrial ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hilderbrand, G V; Hanley, Thomas A; Robbins, Charles T; Schwartz, C C

    1999-12-01

    We quantified the amount, spatial distribution, and importance of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.)-derived nitrogen (N) by brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. We tested and confirmed the hypothesis that the stable isotope signature (δ 15 N) of N in foliage of white spruce (Picea glauca) was inversely proportional to the distance from salmon-spawning streams (r=-0.99 and Pbrown bears, relative to their distance from a stream, were highly correlated with δ 15 N depletion of foliage across the same gradient (r=-0.98 and -0.96 and Pbrown bears were 37.2±2.9 kg/year per bear (range 23.1-56.3), of which 96% (35.7±2.7 kg/year per bear) was excreted in urine, 3% (1.1±0.1 kg/year per bear) was excreted in feces, and bear) was retained in the body. On an area basis, salmon-N redistribution rates were as high as 5.1±0.7 mg/m 2 per year per bear within 500 m of the stream but dropped off greatly with increasing distance. We estimated that 15.5-17.8% of the total N in spruce foliage within 500 m of the stream was derived from salmon. Of that, bears had distributed 83-84%. Thus, brown bears can be an important vector of salmon-derived N into riparian ecosystems, but their effects are highly variable spatially and a function of bear density.

  5. The impacts of human recreation on brown bears (Ursus arctos): A review and new management tool

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fortin-noreus, Jennifer; Rode, Karyn D.; Hilderbrand, Grant V; Wilder, James; Farley, Sean; Jorgensen, Carole; Marcot, Bruce G.

    2016-01-01

    Increased popularity of recreational activities in natural areas has led to the need to better understand their impacts on wildlife. The majority of research conducted to date has focused on behavioral effects from individual recreations, thus there is a limited understanding of the potential for population-level or cumulative effects. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are the focus of a growing wildlife viewing industry and are found in habitats frequented by recreationists. Managers face difficult decisions in balancing recreational opportunities with habitat protection for wildlife. Here, we integrate results from empirical studies with expert knowledge to better understand the potential population-level effects of recreational activities on brown bears. We conducted a literature review and Delphi survey of brown bear experts to better understand the frequencies and types of recreations occurring in bear habitats and their potential effects, and to identify management solutions and research needs. We then developed a Bayesian network model that allows managers to estimate the potential effects of recreational management decisions in bear habitats. A higher proportion of individual brown bears in coastal habitats were exposed to recreation, including photography and bear-viewing than bears in interior habitats where camping and hiking were more common. Our results suggest that the primary mechanism by which recreation may impact brown bears is through temporal and spatial displacement with associated increases in energetic costs and declines in nutritional intake. Killings in defense of life and property were found to be minimally associated with recreation in Alaska, but are important considerations in population management. Regulating recreation to occur predictably in space and time and limiting recreation in habitats with concentrated food resources reduces impacts on food intake and may thereby, reduce impacts on reproduction and survival. Our results suggest that

  6. Major decline in marine and terrestrial animal consumption by brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsubayashi, Jun; Morimoto, Junko O; Tayasu, Ichiro; Mano, Tsutomu; Nakajima, Miyuki; Takahashi, Osamu; Kobayashi, Kyoko; Nakamura, Futoshi

    2015-03-17

    Human activities have had the strongest impacts on natural ecosystems since the last glacial period, including the alteration of interspecific relationships such as food webs. In this paper, we present a historical record of major alterations of trophic structure by revealing millennium-scale dietary shifts of brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Hokkaido islands, Japan, using carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur stable isotope analysis. Dietary analysis of brown bears revealed that salmon consumption by bears in the eastern region of Hokkaido significantly decreased from 19% to 8%. In addition, consumption of terrestrial animals decreased from 56% to 5% in western region, and 64% to 8% in eastern region. These dietary shifts are likely to have occurred in the last approximately 100-200 years, which coincides with the beginning of modernisation in this region. Our results suggest that human activities have caused an alteration in the trophic structure of brown bears in the Hokkaido islands. This alteration includes a major decline in the marine-terrestrial linkage in eastern region, and a loss of indirect-interactions between bears and wolves, because the interactions potentially enhanced deer predation by brown bears.

  7. Persistent or not persistent? Polychlorinated biphenyls are readily depurated by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, Jennie R; Letcher, Robert J; Ross, Peter S

    2009-10-01

    Major pharmacokinetic processes influencing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) accumulation in mammals include uptake, biotransformation, respiration, and excretion. We characterized some of the factors underlying PCB accumulation/loss by evaluating PCB concentrations and patterns in pre- and posthibernation grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and their prey. The PCB congeners with vicinal meta- and para-chlorine unsubstituted hydrogen positions consistently showed loss both before and during hibernation, supporting the idea of a dominant role for biotransformation. Retention of all other studied congeners relative to that of PCB 194 varied widely (from bears do not eat or excrete. We estimate that grizzly bears retain less than 10% of total PCBs taken up from their diet. Our results suggest that for grizzly bears, depuration of PCBs via biotransformation is important (explaining approximately 40% of loss), but that nonbiotransformation processes, such as excretion, may be more important (explaining approximately 60% of loss). These findings, together with the approximately 91% loss of the persistent PCB 153 congener relative to PCB 194 in grizzly bears, raise important questions about how one defines persistence of PCBs in wildlife and may have bearing on the interpretation of food-web biomagnification studies.

  8. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) locomotion: gaits and ground reaction forces.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shine, Catherine L; Penberthy, Skylar; Robbins, Charles T; Nelson, O Lynne; McGowan, Craig P

    2015-10-01

    Locomotion of plantigrade generalists has been relatively little studied compared with more specialised postures even though plantigrady is ancestral among quadrupeds. Bears (Ursidae) are a representative family for plantigrade carnivorans, they have the majority of the morphological characteristics identified for plantigrade species, and they have the full range of generalist behaviours. This study compared the locomotion of adult grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis Linnaeus 1758), including stride parameters, gaits and analysis of three-dimensional ground reaction forces, with that of previously studied quadrupeds. At slow to moderate speeds, grizzly bears use walks, running walks and canters. Vertical ground reaction forces demonstrated the typical M-shaped curve for walks; however, this was significantly more pronounced in the hindlimb. The rate of force development was also significantly higher for the hindlimbs than for the forelimbs at all speeds. Mediolateral forces were significantly higher than would be expected for a large erect mammal, almost to the extent of a sprawling crocodilian. There may be morphological or energetic explanations for the use of the running walk rather than the trot. The high medial forces (produced from a lateral push by the animal) could be caused by frontal plane movement of the carpus and elbow by bears. Overall, while grizzly bears share some similarities with large cursorial species, their locomotor kinetics have unique characteristics. Additional studies are needed to determine whether these characters are a feature of all bears or plantigrade species. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  9. Temporal diet changes recorded by stable isotopes in Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) hair.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mizukami, R N; Goto, M; Izumiyama, S; Yoh, M; Ogura, N; Hayashi, H

    2005-03-01

    Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were measured in hair samples of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) inhabiting the Northern Japanese Alps (NJA) (n = 20) and the periphery of Nagano City (NC) (n = 6), in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The hair of NJA bears, which did not have access to anthropogenic foods, showed lower values of d13C and d15N than that of NC bears which had access to garbage and corn fields, especially during the summer. These results reflect somewhat differing diets between the NJA and NC bears. We attempted to assess the feeding history during the hair growth cycle using the growth section analysis method. Each hair sample had been cut into 3?mm lengths from root to tip, labeled, and analyzed along the hair growth. We measured the carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of each 3?mm length of hair sample from one NC bear which had been killed while raiding a corn field. The sections showed wide ranges of isotope ratios, from -23.2% to -14.6% for delta13C, and from 0.3% to 4.6% for delta15N. It was shown that the diet of this bear shifted dramatically from principally C3 plants to more C4 plants and to foods of animal origin. An analysis of the whole hair reflects just the average feeding habit during hair growth, but the present method can trace its diet history. This method can contribute to obtain precise ecological information of wildlife.

  10. Phylogeographic and Demographic Analysis of the Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) Based on Mitochondrial DNA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wu, Jiaqi; Kohno, Naoki; Mano, Shuhei; Fukumoto, Yukio; Tanabe, Hideyuki; Hasegawa, Masami; Yonezawa, Takahiro

    2015-01-01

    The Asian black bear Ursus thibetanus is widely distributed in Asia and is adapted to broad-leaved deciduous forests, playing an important ecological role in the natural environment. Several subspecies of U. thibetanus have been recognized, one of which, the Japanese black bear, is distributed in the Japanese archipelago. Recent molecular phylogeographic studies clarified that this subspecies is genetically distantly related to continental subspecies, suggesting an earlier origin. However, the evolutionary relationship between the Japanese and continental subspecies remained unclear. To understand the evolution of the Asian black bear in relation to geological events such as climatic and transgression-regression cycles, a reliable time estimation is also essential. To address these issues, we determined and analyzed the mt-genome of the Japanese subspecies. This indicates that the Japanese subspecies initially diverged from other Asian black bears in around 1.46Ma. The Northern continental population (northeast China, Russia, Korean peninsula) subsequently evolved, relatively recently, from the Southern continental population (southern China and Southeast Asia). While the Japanese black bear has an early origin, the tMRCAs and the dynamics of population sizes suggest that it dispersed relatively recently in the main Japanese islands: during the late Middle and Late Pleistocene, probably during or soon after the extinction of the brown bear in Honshu in the same period. Our estimation that the population size of the Japanese subspecies increased rapidly during the Late Pleistocene is the first evidential signal of a niche exchange between brown bears and black bears in the Japanese main islands. This interpretation seems plausible but was not corroborated by paleontological evidence that fossil record of the Japanese subspecies limited after the Late Pleistocene. We also report here a new fossil record of the oldest Japanese black bear from the Middle Pleistocene

  11. Phylogeographic and Demographic Analysis of the Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus Based on Mitochondrial DNA.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiaqi Wu

    Full Text Available The Asian black bear Ursus thibetanus is widely distributed in Asia and is adapted to broad-leaved deciduous forests, playing an important ecological role in the natural environment. Several subspecies of U. thibetanus have been recognized, one of which, the Japanese black bear, is distributed in the Japanese archipelago. Recent molecular phylogeographic studies clarified that this subspecies is genetically distantly related to continental subspecies, suggesting an earlier origin. However, the evolutionary relationship between the Japanese and continental subspecies remained unclear. To understand the evolution of the Asian black bear in relation to geological events such as climatic and transgression-regression cycles, a reliable time estimation is also essential. To address these issues, we determined and analyzed the mt-genome of the Japanese subspecies. This indicates that the Japanese subspecies initially diverged from other Asian black bears in around 1.46Ma. The Northern continental population (northeast China, Russia, Korean peninsula subsequently evolved, relatively recently, from the Southern continental population (southern China and Southeast Asia. While the Japanese black bear has an early origin, the tMRCAs and the dynamics of population sizes suggest that it dispersed relatively recently in the main Japanese islands: during the late Middle and Late Pleistocene, probably during or soon after the extinction of the brown bear in Honshu in the same period. Our estimation that the population size of the Japanese subspecies increased rapidly during the Late Pleistocene is the first evidential signal of a niche exchange between brown bears and black bears in the Japanese main islands. This interpretation seems plausible but was not corroborated by paleontological evidence that fossil record of the Japanese subspecies limited after the Late Pleistocene. We also report here a new fossil record of the oldest Japanese black bear from the

  12. Rebuttal of "Polar bear population forecasts: a public-policy forecasting audit"

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven C. Amstrup; Hal Caswell; Eric DeWeaver; Ian Stirling; David C. Douglas; Bruce G. Marcot; Christine M. Hunter

    2009-01-01

    Observed declines in the Arctic sea ice have resulted in a variety of negative effects on polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Projections for additional future declines in sea ice resulted in a proposal to list polar bears as a threatened species under the United States Endangered Species Act. To provide information for the Department of the Interior...

  13. Immobilization of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) with dexmedetomidine, tiletamine, and zolazepam.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teisberg, Justin E; Farley, Sean D; Nelson, O Lynne; Hilderbrand, Grant V; Madel, Michael J; Owen, Patricia A; Erlenbach, Joy A; Robbins, Charles T

    2014-01-01

    Safe and effective immobilization of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) is essential for research and management. Fast induction of anesthesia, maintenance of healthy vital rates, and predictable recoveries are priorities. From September 2010 to May 2012, we investigated these attributes in captive and wild grizzly bears anesthetized with a combination of a reversible α2 agonist (dexmedetomidine [dexM], the dextrorotatory enantiomer of medetomidine) and a nonreversible N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) agonist and tranquilizer (tiletamine and zolazepam [TZ], respectively). A smaller-than-expected dose of the combination (1.23 mg tiletamine, 1.23 mg zolazepam, and 6.04 µg dexmedetomidine per kg bear) produced reliable, fast ataxia (3.7 ± 0.5 min, x̄±SE) and workable anesthesia (8.1 ± 0.6 min) in captive adult grizzly bears. For wild bears darted from a helicopter, a dose of 2.06 mg tiletamine, 2.06 mg zolazepam, and 10.1 µg dexmedetomidine/kg produced ataxia in 2.5 ± 0.3 min and anesthesia in 5.5 ± 1.0 min. Contrary to published accounts of bear anesthesia with medetomidine, tiletamine, and zolazepam, this combination did not cause hypoxemia or hypoventilation, although mild bradycardia (bears during the active season. With captive bears, effective dose rates during hibernation were approximately half those during the active season. The time to first signs of recovery after the initial injection of dexMTZ was influenced by heart rate (Pgrizzly bears, especially during helicopter capture operations.

  14. Arterial supply and venous drainage of the brain of the black bear (Ursus americanus). I.Gross anatomical distribution

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Anderson, W.D.; Anderson, B.G.; Seguin, R.J.

    1989-01-01

    A morphological study of the intracranial vessels of the Black bear (Ursus americanus) was undertaken. The object was to provide basic information related to the vascular pattern in these animals as compared with other carnivores and with the human. Vascular casts were prepared from 6 animals. The

  15. Arterial supply and venous drainage of the brain of the black bear (Ursus americanus). II.Intracranial microvasculature

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Anderson, B.G.; Anderson, W.D.; Seguin, R.J.

    1989-01-01

    A morphological study of the intracranial microvasculature of the Black bear (Ursus americanus) using vascular casts was undertaken. The object was to provide basic information regarding structural modifications of the microvasculature that might provide insight into the ability to cope with low

  16. Oxygen supplementation in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos)-how low can you go?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fahlman, Åsa; Arnemo, Jon M; Pringle, John; Nyman, Görel

    2014-07-01

    Hypoxemia is anticipated during wildlife anesthesia and thus should be prevented. We evaluated the efficacy of low flow rates of supplemental oxygen for improvement of arterial oxygenation in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos). The study included 32 free-ranging brown bears (yearlings, subadults, and adults; body mass 12-250 kg) that were darted with medetomidine-zolazepam-tiletamine (MZT) from a helicopter in Sweden. During anesthesia, oxygen was administered intranasally from portable oxygen cylinders at different flow rates (0.5-3 L/min). Arterial blood samples were collected before (pre-O2), during, and after oxygen therapy and immediately processed with a portable analyzer. Rectal temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and pulse oximetry-derived hemoglobin oxygen saturation were recorded. Intranasal oxygen supplementation at the evaluated flow rates significantly increased the partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) from pre-O2 values of 9.1 ± 1.3 (6.3-10.9) kPa to 20.4 ± 6.8 (11.1-38.7) kPa during oxygen therapy. When oxygen therapy was discontinued, the PaO2 decreased to values not significantly different from the pre-O2 values. In relation to the body mass of the bears, the following oxygen flow rates are recommended: 0.5 L/min to bears bears 51-100 kg, 2 L/min to bears 101-200 kg, and 3 L/min to bears 201-250 kg. In conclusion, low flow rates of intranasal oxygen were sufficient to improve arterial oxygenation in brown bears anesthetized with MZT. Because hypoxemia quickly recurred when oxygen was discontinued, oxygen supplementation should be provided continuously throughout anesthesia.

  17. Blood lipid concentrations and lipoprotein patterns in captive and wild American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frank, Nicholas; Elliott, Sarah B; Allin, Shawn B; Ramsay, Edward C

    2006-02-01

    To compare blood lipid concentrations and lipoprotein patterns for captive and wild American black bears (Ursus americanus). 7 captive and 9 wild adult (> or = 4 years old) black bears. Blood was collected from 2 groups of captive black bears (groups A and B) and 1 group of wild black bears (group C). Blood triglyceride (TG) and cholesterol concentrations were compared among groups. Plasma lipoproteins were isolated by use of a self-generating gradient of iodixanol, and lipoprotein patterns were compared between groups A and B. Captive bears (mean +/- SD, 187.8 +/- 44.4 kg) weighed significantly more than wild bears (mean, 104.8 +/- 41.4 kg), but mean body weight did not differ between groups A and B. Mean blood TG concentrations for groups B (216.8 +/- 16.0 mg/dL) and C (190.7 +/- 34.0 mg/dL) were significantly higher than that of group A (103.9 +/- 25.3 mg/dL). Mean blood cholesterol concentration was also significantly higher for group B (227.8 +/- 8.2 mg/dL) than for groups A (171.7 +/- 35.5 mg/dL) or C (190.8 +/- 26.8 mg/dL). Mean very-low-density lipoprotein TG and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were 2- and 3-fold higher, respectively, for group B, compared with concentrations for group A. Blood lipid concentrations vary significantly among populations of black bears. Plasma lipoprotein patterns of captive bears differed significantly between colonies and may have reflected differences in diet or management practices.

  18. Capture, anesthesia, and disturbance of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) during hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Evans, Alina L; Sahlén, Veronica; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Fahlman, Åsa; Brunberg, Sven; Madslien, Knut; Fröbert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2012-01-01

    We conducted thirteen immobilizations of previously collared hibernating two- to four-year-old brown bears (Ursus arctos) weighing 21-66 kg in central Sweden in winter 2010 and 2011 for comparative physiology research. Here we report, for the first time, an effective protocol for the capture and anesthesia of free-ranging brown bears during hibernation and an assessment of the disturbance the captures caused. Bears were darted in anthill, soil, or uprooted tree dens on eleven occasions, but two bears in rock dens fled and were darted outside the den. We used medetomidine at 0.02-0.06 mg/kg and zolazepam-tiletamine at 0.9-2.8 mg/kg for anesthesia. In addition, ketamine at 1.5 mg/kg was hand-injected intramuscularly in four bears and in six it was included in the dart at 1.1-3.0 mg/kg. Once anesthetized, bears were removed from the dens. In nine bears, arterial blood samples were analyzed immediately with a portable blood gas analyzer. We corrected hypoxemia in seven bears (PaO(2) 57-74 mmHg) with supplemental oxygen. We placed the bears back into the dens and antagonized the effect of medetomidine with atipamezole. Capturing bears in the den significantly increased the risk of den abandonment. One of twelve collared bears that were captured remained at the original den until spring, and eleven, left their dens (mean ± standard deviation) 3.2±3.6 (range 0.5-10.5) days after capture. They used 1.9±0.9 intermediate resting sites, during 6.2±7.8 days before entering a new permanent den. The eleven new permanent dens were located 730±589 m from the original dens. We documented that it was feasible and safe to capture hibernating brown bears, although they behaved differently than black bears. When doing so, researchers should use 25% of the doses used for helicopter darting during the active period and should consider increased energetic costs associated with den abandonment.

  19. Capture, anesthesia, and disturbance of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos during hibernation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alina L Evans

    Full Text Available We conducted thirteen immobilizations of previously collared hibernating two- to four-year-old brown bears (Ursus arctos weighing 21-66 kg in central Sweden in winter 2010 and 2011 for comparative physiology research. Here we report, for the first time, an effective protocol for the capture and anesthesia of free-ranging brown bears during hibernation and an assessment of the disturbance the captures caused. Bears were darted in anthill, soil, or uprooted tree dens on eleven occasions, but two bears in rock dens fled and were darted outside the den. We used medetomidine at 0.02-0.06 mg/kg and zolazepam-tiletamine at 0.9-2.8 mg/kg for anesthesia. In addition, ketamine at 1.5 mg/kg was hand-injected intramuscularly in four bears and in six it was included in the dart at 1.1-3.0 mg/kg. Once anesthetized, bears were removed from the dens. In nine bears, arterial blood samples were analyzed immediately with a portable blood gas analyzer. We corrected hypoxemia in seven bears (PaO(2 57-74 mmHg with supplemental oxygen. We placed the bears back into the dens and antagonized the effect of medetomidine with atipamezole. Capturing bears in the den significantly increased the risk of den abandonment. One of twelve collared bears that were captured remained at the original den until spring, and eleven, left their dens (mean ± standard deviation 3.2±3.6 (range 0.5-10.5 days after capture. They used 1.9±0.9 intermediate resting sites, during 6.2±7.8 days before entering a new permanent den. The eleven new permanent dens were located 730±589 m from the original dens. We documented that it was feasible and safe to capture hibernating brown bears, although they behaved differently than black bears. When doing so, researchers should use 25% of the doses used for helicopter darting during the active period and should consider increased energetic costs associated with den abandonment.

  20. Physiological evidence for a human-induced landscape of fear in brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Ordiz, Andres; Evans, Alina L; Laske, Timothy G; Kindberg, Jonas; Fröbert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2015-12-01

    Human persecution is a major cause of mortality for large carnivores. Consequently, large carnivores avoid humans, but may use human-dominated landscapes by being nocturnal and elusive. Behavioral studies indicate that certain ecological systems are "landscapes of fear", driven by antipredator behavior. Because behavior and physiology are closely interrelated, physiological assessments may provide insight into the behavioral response of large carnivores to human activity. To elucidate changes in brown bears' (Ursus arctos) behavior associated with human activity, we evaluated stress as changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in 12 GPS-collared, free-ranging bears, 7 males and 5 females, 3-11 years old, using cardiac-monitoring devices. We applied generalized linear regression models with HR and HRV as response variables and chest activity, time of day, season, distance traveled, and distance to human settlements from GPS positions recorded every 30 min as potential explanatory variables. Bears exhibited lower HRV, an indication of stress, when they were close to human settlements and especially during the berry season, when humans were more often in the forest, picking berries and hunting. Our findings provide evidence of a human-induced landscape of fear in this hunted population of brown bears. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Evaluation of stored body fat in nuisance-killed Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamanaka, Atsushi; Asano, Makoto; Suzuki, Masatsugu; Mizoguchi, Toshio; Oi, Toru; Shimozuru, Michito; Tsubota, Toshio

    2011-02-01

    We evaluated the stored body fat of Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) killed as nuisances in Gifu and Fukushima prefectures, Japan, during 2005-2007. We employed femur marrow fat (FMF), modified kidney fat index (mKFI), and abdominal subcutaneous fat (ASF) as indices for quantitative evaluation. We examined the basic characteristics of these indices, such as seasonality, age and sex dependency, and the quantitative relationship among them. mKFI and ASF increased towards the beginning of the denning period (December), while FMF was relatively stable throughout the sampling period (July-December). In cubs, all indices showed significantly lower values than in the older age classes. There seemed to be a catabolizing order between FMF and mKFI, but not between mKFI and ASF. We also evaluated the yearly change in the indices, and discussed its relevance to the incidence of bear intrusion into human residential areas. Bears nuisance-killed in summer (July-September) 2006 had a significantly larger amount of stored body fat than those killed in summer 2007, although the number of nuisance kills was larger in 2006 than in 2007. This suggests that poor nutritional condition is not a direct cause of bear intrusion.

  2. Anaerobic oral flora in the North American black bear (Ursus americanus) in eastern North Carolina.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, Elsburgh O; Stoskopf, Michael K; Minter, Larry J; Stringer, Elizabeth M

    2012-06-01

    Microbial flora can provide insight into the ecology and natural history of wildlife in addition to improving understanding of health risks. This study examines the anaerobic oral flora of hunter killed black bears (Ursus americanus) in eastern North Carolina. Oral swabs from the buccal and lingual supragingival tooth surfaces of the first and second mandibular and maxillary molars of 22 black bears were inoculated onto Brucella Blood Agar plates supplemented with hemin and vitamin K after transport from the field using reduced oxoid nutrient broth. Sixteen anaerobic bacterial species, representing nine genera were identified using the RapID ANA II Micromethod Kit system and a number of organisms grown that could not be identified with the system. The most frequently identified anaerobes were Peptostreptococcus prevotii, Streptococcus constellatus, and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The diversity in the anaerobic oral flora of black bear in eastern North Carolina suggests the importance of including these organisms in basic health risk assessment protocols and suggests a potential tool for assessment of bear/habitat interactions. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Forecasting the Range-wide Status of Polar Bears at Selected Times in the 21st Century

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven C. Amstrup; Bruce G. Marcot; David C. Douglas

    2007-01-01

    To inform the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision whether or not to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), we forecast the status of the world's polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations 45, 75 and 100 years into the future. We applied the best available information about predicted changes in sea ice in the...

  4. Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stenvinkel, Peter; Fröbert, Ole; Anderstam, Björn; Palm, Fredrik; Eriksson, Monica; Bragfors-Helin, Ann-Christin; Qureshi, Abdul Rashid; Larsson, Tobias; Friebe, Andrea; Zedrosser, Andreas; Josefsson, Johan; Svensson, My; Sahdo, Berolla; Bankir, Lise; Johnson, Richard J.

    2013-01-01

    The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease. PMID:24039826

  5. Metabolic changes in summer active and anuric hibernating free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter Stenvinkel

    Full Text Available The brown bear (Ursus arctos hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease.

  6. The presence of Ursus ex gr. minimus-thibetanus in the late villányian and its position among the Pliocene and Pleistocene black bears in Europe

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Wagner, Jan; Čermák, Stanislav; Horáček, I.

    -, č. 4 (2011), s. 39-58 ISSN 1771-1150 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/09/0184 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z30130516 Keywords : Black bear * MN17 * Ursus aff. thibetanus * Villány 3 * Central Europe - Hungary * Ursus * Pleistocene * Pliocene Subject RIV: DB - Geology ; Mineralogy

  7. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii from free-ranging black bears ( Ursus americanus ) from Florida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, D L; Ulrey, W A; Guthrie, J M; Kwok, O C H; Cox, J J; Maehr, D S; Dubey, J P

    2012-06-01

    Toxoplasma gondii is a significant worldwide parasitic protozoan. In the present study, prevalence of antibodies of T. gondii was examined from 29 free-ranging black bears ( Ursus americanus ) from south-central Florida where the host species was listed as state threatened during this project. Overall T. gondii prevalence was found to be 44.8%, specifically 46.2% in male and 43.8% in female U. americanus , using a modified agglutination test (1:25 titer). Seroprevalence differences between sexes were not significant (P > 0.05). Results of the present study add supportive data to the growing body of evidence suggesting that U. americanus has one of the highest T. gondii seroprevalences among all known intermediate hosts. In addition, our data emphasize the importance of understanding parasitic disease dynamics from a conservation perspective.

  8. Winter blood values of selected parameters in a group of non-hibernating captive brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sergiel, A; Bednarski, M; Maślak, R; Piasecki, T; Huber, D

    2015-01-01

    Bears undergo some significant changes reflected in blood values during winter season. The most significant are reduced urea and increased creatinine, by some authors considered to be physiological indicators of hibernation. Studied group of six captive brown bears (Ursus arctos) showed decreased activity in winter but were accepting food and walked outdoors. Blood parameters assessed in February 2011 revealed mean values of leucocytes and neutrophils as significantly lower, and creatinine significantly increased compared to captive and free living bears sampled during other seasons when bears are active.

  9. Impacts of Human Recreation on Brown Bears (Ursus arctos: A Review and New Management Tool.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer K Fortin

    Full Text Available Increased popularity of recreational activities in natural areas has led to the need to better understand their impacts on wildlife. The majority of research conducted to date has focused on behavioral effects from individual recreations, thus there is a limited understanding of the potential for population-level or cumulative effects. Brown bears (Ursus arctos are the focus of a growing wildlife viewing industry and are found in habitats frequented by recreationists. Managers face difficult decisions in balancing recreational opportunities with habitat protection for wildlife. Here, we integrate results from empirical studies with expert knowledge to better understand the potential population-level effects of recreational activities on brown bears. We conducted a literature review and Delphi survey of brown bear experts to better understand the frequencies and types of recreations occurring in bear habitats and their potential effects, and to identify management solutions and research needs. We then developed a Bayesian network model that allows managers to estimate the potential effects of recreational management decisions in bear habitats. A higher proportion of individual brown bears in coastal habitats were exposed to recreation, including photography and bear-viewing than bears in interior habitats where camping and hiking were more common. Our results suggest that the primary mechanism by which recreation may impact brown bears is through temporal and spatial displacement with associated increases in energetic costs and declines in nutritional intake. Killings in defense of life and property were found to be minimally associated with recreation in Alaska, but are important considerations in population management. Regulating recreation to occur predictably in space and time and limiting recreation in habitats with concentrated food resources reduces impacts on food intake and may thereby, reduce impacts on reproduction and survival. Our

  10. Modulation of gene expression in heart and liver of hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fedorov, Vadim B; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Tøien, Øivind; Stewart, Nathan C; Chang, Celia; Wang, Haifang; Yan, Jun; Showe, Louise C; Showe, Michael K; Barnes, Brian M

    2011-03-31

    Hibernation is an adaptive strategy to survive in highly seasonal or unpredictable environments. The molecular and genetic basis of hibernation physiology in mammals has only recently been studied using large scale genomic approaches. We analyzed gene expression in the American black bear, Ursus americanus, using a custom 12,800 cDNA probe microarray to detect differences in expression that occur in heart and liver during winter hibernation in comparison to summer active animals. We identified 245 genes in heart and 319 genes in liver that were differentially expressed between winter and summer. The expression of 24 genes was significantly elevated during hibernation in both heart and liver. These genes are mostly involved in lipid catabolism and protein biosynthesis and include RNA binding protein motif 3 (Rbm3), which enhances protein synthesis at mildly hypothermic temperatures. Elevated expression of protein biosynthesis genes suggests induction of translation that may be related to adaptive mechanisms reducing cardiac and muscle atrophies over extended periods of low metabolism and immobility during hibernation in bears. Coordinated reduction of transcription of genes involved in amino acid catabolism suggests redirection of amino acids from catabolic pathways to protein biosynthesis. We identify common for black bears and small mammalian hibernators transcriptional changes in the liver that include induction of genes responsible for fatty acid β oxidation and carbohydrate synthesis and depression of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis, carbohydrate catabolism, cellular respiration and detoxification pathways. Our findings show that modulation of gene expression during winter hibernation represents molecular mechanism of adaptation to extreme environments.

  11. A new voluntary blood collection method for the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Otaki, Yusuke; Kido, Nobuhide; Omiya, Tomoko; Ono, Kaori; Ueda, Miya; Azumano, Akinori; Tanaka, Sohei

    2015-01-01

    Various training methods have been developed for animal husbandry and health care in zoos and one of these trainings is blood collection. One training method, recently widely used for blood collection in Ursidae, requires setting up a sleeve outside the cage and gives access to limited blood collection sites. A new voluntary blood collection method without a sleeve was applied to the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) with access to various veins at the same time. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of this new method and suggests improvements. Two Andean and two Asiatic black bears in Yokohama and Nogeyama Zoological Gardens, respectively, were trained to hold a bamboo pipe outside their cages. We could, thereby, simultaneously access superficial dorsal veins, the dorsal venous network of the hand, the cephalic vein from the carpal joint, and an area approximately 10 cm proximal to the carpal joint. This allowed us to evaluate which vein was most suitable for blood collection. We found that the cephalic vein, approximately 10 cm proximal to the carpal joint, was the most suitable for blood collection. This new method requires little or no modification of zoo facilities and provides a useful alternative method for blood collection. It could be adapted for use in other clinical examinations such as ultrasound examination. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Genetic and demographic recovery of an isolated population of brown bear Ursus arctos L., 1758

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elena G. Gonzalez

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available The brown bear Ursus arctos L., 1758 population of the Cantabrian Mountains (northwestern Spain became isolated from other bear populations in Europe about 500 years ago and has declined due to hunting and habitat degradation. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Cantabrian population split into eastern and western subpopulations, and genetic exchange between them ceased. In the early 1990s, total population size was estimated to be < 100 bears. Subsequently, reduction in human-caused mortality has brought about an increase in numbers, mainly in the western subpopulation, likely promoting male-mediated migration and gene flow from the western nucleus to the eastern. To evaluate the possible genetic recovery of the small and genetically depauperate eastern subpopulation, in 2013 and 2014 we genotyped hair and faeces samples (116 from the eastern subpopulation and 36 from the western for 18 microsatellite markers. Data from the annual count of females with cubs of the year (COY during the past twenty-six years was used to analyze demographic changes. The number of females with COY fell to a minimum of seven in the western and three in eastern subpopulations in the biennium 1993–1994 and reached a respective maximum of 54 and 10 individuals in 2013–2014. We also observed increased bear dispersal and gene flow, mainly from the western to the eastern subpopulation. Of the 26 unique genotypes detected in the eastern subpopulation, 14 (54% presented an admixture composition, and seven (27% were determined to be migrants from the western subpopulation. Hence, the two separated and clearly structured subpopulations identified in the past currently show some degree of genetic admixture. This research shows the partial demographic recovery and a change in genetic composition due to migration process in a population of bears that has been isolated for several centuries.

  13. De novo SNP discovery in the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos.

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    Anita J Norman

    Full Text Available Information about relatedness between individuals in wild populations is advantageous when studying evolutionary, behavioural and ecological processes. Genomic data can be used to determine relatedness between individuals either when no prior knowledge exists or to confirm suspected relatedness. Here we present a set of 96 SNPs suitable for inferring relatedness for brown bears (Ursus arctos within Scandinavia. We sequenced reduced representation libraries from nine individuals throughout the geographic range. With consensus reads containing putative SNPs, we applied strict filtering criteria with the aim of finding only high-quality, highly-informative SNPs. We tested 150 putative SNPs of which 96% were validated on a panel of 68 individuals. Ninety-six of the validated SNPs with the highest minor allele frequency were selected. The final SNP panel includes four mitochondrial markers, two monomorphic Y-chromosome sex-determination markers, three X-chromosome SNPs and 87 autosomal SNPs. From our validation sample panel, we identified two previously known parent-offspring dyads with reasonable accuracy. This panel of SNPs is a promising tool for inferring relatedness in the brown bear population in Scandinavia.

  14. Prioritizing Sites for Protection and Restoration for Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos) in Southwestern Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braid, Andrew C R; Nielsen, Scott E

    2015-01-01

    As the influence of human activities on natural systems continues to expand, there is a growing need to prioritize not only pristine sites for protection, but also degraded sites for restoration. We present an approach for simultaneously prioritizing sites for protection and restoration that considers landscape patterns for a threatened population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in southwestern Alberta, Canada. We considered tradeoffs between bottom-up (food resource supply) and top-down (mortality risk from roads) factors affecting seasonal habitat quality for bears. Simulated annealing was used to prioritize source-like sites (high habitat productivity, low mortality risk) for protection, as well as sink-like sites (high habitat productivity, high mortality risk) for restoration. Priority source-like habitats identified key conservation areas where future developments should be limited, whereas priority sink-like habitats identified key areas for mitigating road-related mortality risk with access management. Systematic conservation planning methods can be used to complement traditional habitat-based methods for individual focal species by identifying habitats where conservation actions (both protection and restoration) have the highest potential utility.

  15. Elevated expression of protein biosynthesis genes in liver and muscle of hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fedorov, Vadim B; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Tøien, Øivind; Stewart, Nathan C; Gracey, Andrew Y; Chang, Celia; Qin, Shizhen; Pertea, Geo; Quackenbush, John; Showe, Louise C; Showe, Michael K; Boyer, Bert B; Barnes, Brian M

    2009-04-10

    We conducted a large-scale gene expression screen using the 3,200 cDNA probe microarray developed specifically for Ursus americanus to detect expression differences in liver and skeletal muscle that occur during winter hibernation compared with animals sampled during summer. The expression of 12 genes, including RNA binding protein motif 3 (Rbm3), that are mostly involved in protein biosynthesis, was induced during hibernation in both liver and muscle. The Gene Ontology and Gene Set Enrichment analysis consistently showed a highly significant enrichment of the protein biosynthesis category by overexpressed genes in both liver and skeletal muscle during hibernation. Coordinated induction in transcriptional level of genes involved in protein biosynthesis is a distinctive feature of the transcriptome in hibernating black bears. This finding implies induction of translation and suggests an adaptive mechanism that contributes to a unique ability to reduce muscle atrophy over prolonged periods of immobility during hibernation. Comparing expression profiles in bears to small mammalian hibernators shows a general trend during hibernation of transcriptional changes that include induction of genes involved in lipid metabolism and carbohydrate synthesis as well as depression of genes involved in the urea cycle and detoxification function in liver.

  16. The first detection of Babesia species DNA from Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) in Japan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ikawa, Kazuhito; Aoki, Mikiko; Ichikawa, Madoka; Itagaki, Tadashi

    2011-06-01

    In this study, we tried to detect protozoan blood parasites from the liver or blood of 156 Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) in Iwate Prefecture of Japan by polymerase chain reaction. Two amplicons (approximately 540 bp and 480 bp) were detected by amplification for V4 hyper-variable regions of the 18S rRNA gene. Approximately 540-bp products were obtained in 119 samples (76.3%) and were considered to be DNA of Hepatozoon ursi. Approximately 480-bp products were obtained in 22 samples (14.1%) and were considered to be DNA of Babesia species. The nucleotide sequences (1635 bp) of the 18S rRNA gene of Babesia sp. were very similar (99.3%) to those (AY190123, AY190124) of Babesia sp. detected previously from Ixodes ovatus. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Babesia sp. detected in this study closely related to Babesia sp. derived from raccoons in Japan and the U.S.A. This is the first report of Babesia species detected from Japanese black bears. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Prioritizing Sites for Protection and Restoration for Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos in Southwestern Alberta, Canada.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew C R Braid

    Full Text Available As the influence of human activities on natural systems continues to expand, there is a growing need to prioritize not only pristine sites for protection, but also degraded sites for restoration. We present an approach for simultaneously prioritizing sites for protection and restoration that considers landscape patterns for a threatened population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos in southwestern Alberta, Canada. We considered tradeoffs between bottom-up (food resource supply and top-down (mortality risk from roads factors affecting seasonal habitat quality for bears. Simulated annealing was used to prioritize source-like sites (high habitat productivity, low mortality risk for protection, as well as sink-like sites (high habitat productivity, high mortality risk for restoration. Priority source-like habitats identified key conservation areas where future developments should be limited, whereas priority sink-like habitats identified key areas for mitigating road-related mortality risk with access management. Systematic conservation planning methods can be used to complement traditional habitat-based methods for individual focal species by identifying habitats where conservation actions (both protection and restoration have the highest potential utility.

  18. Dietary ecology of the extinct cave bear: Evidence of omnivory as inferred from dental microwear textures

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    D. Brent Jones

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available The diet of the extinct European cave bear, Ursus spelaeus, has widely been debated. Diverging from the extant brown bear (Ursus arctos approximately 1.2 million years ago, the cave bear is one of the most ubiquitous fossil bears occurring in Europe during the middle and Late Pleistocene. Early morphological studies suggested that the cave bear was likely specialized on processing tough and/or abrasive foods, while later two-dimensional low-magnification microwear studies suggested that they were omnivorous and may have consumed more bone than U. arctos. Here, we used dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA to further interpret the diet of the cave bear. Microscopic wear features were assessed and compared to modern ursids, including the cave bears’ closest living relative, U. arctos. Results suggest that U. spelaeus consumed a diet with a diversity of textural properties, similar to most other bears and only distinguishable from the hyper-carnivorous polar bear (Ursus maritimus. Further, only U. maritimus can be distinguished from all bear species here examined (i.e., the giant panda bear, Ailuropoda melanoleuca; sun-bear, Ursus malayanus; spectacled bear, Tremarctos ornatus; American black bear, Ursus americanus; and U. arctos, with significantly greater area-scale fractal complexity (Asfc of microwear surfaces. The DMTA of A. melanoleuca also has significantly lower Asfc than T. ornatus and U. americanus, consistent with observed dietary behavior. As modern bears vary their diets seasonally and across their range, it may be difficult to characterize the dietary ecology of extinct bears using dental microwear alone. Nevertheless, DMTA here demonstrates that U. spelaeus had a diet distinct from the hyper-carnivorous U. maritimus and instead likely consumed food with textural properties most similar to other herbivorous/omnivorous bears. Lastly, the European cave bear and North American giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus may have had

  19. Molecular phylogeography of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in Northeastern Asia based on analyses of complete mitochondrial DNA sequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hirata, Daisuke; Mano, Tsutomu; Abramov, Alexei V; Baryshnikov, Gennady F; Kosintsev, Pavel A; Vorobiev, Alexandr A; Raichev, Evgeny G; Tsunoda, Hiroshi; Kaneko, Yayoi; Murata, Koichi; Fukui, Daisuke; Masuda, Ryuichi

    2013-07-01

    To further elucidate the migration history of the brown bears (Ursus arctos) on Hokkaido Island, Japan, we analyzed the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of 35 brown bears from Hokkaido, the southern Kuril Islands (Etorofu and Kunashiri), Sakhalin Island, and the Eurasian Continent (continental Russia, Bulgaria, and Tibet), and those of four polar bears. Based on these sequences, we reconstructed the maternal phylogeny of the brown bear and estimated divergence times to investigate the timing of brown bear migrations, especially in northeastern Eurasia. Our gene tree showed the mtDNA haplotypes of all 73 brown and polar bears to be divided into eight divergent lineages. The brown bear on Hokkaido was divided into three lineages (central, eastern, and southern). The Sakhalin brown bear grouped with eastern European and western Alaskan brown bears. Etorofu and Kunashiri brown bears were closely related to eastern Hokkaido brown bears and could have diverged from the eastern Hokkaido lineage after formation of the channel between Hokkaido and the southern Kuril Islands. Tibetan brown bears diverged early in the eastern lineage. Southern Hokkaido brown bears were closely related to North American brown bears.

  20. Detection of human bacterial pathogens in ticks collected from Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leydet, Brian F; Liang, Fang-Ting

    2013-04-01

    There are 4 major human-biting tick species in the northeastern United States, which include: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. The black bear is a large mammal that has been shown to be parasitized by all the aforementioned ticks. We investigated the bacterial infections in ticks collected from Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus subspecies luteolus). Eighty-six ticks were collected from 17 black bears in Louisiana from June 2010 to March 2011. All 4 common human-biting tick species were represented. Each tick was subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting select bacterial pathogens and symbionts. Bacterial DNA was detected in 62% of ticks (n=53). Rickettsia parkeri, the causative agent of an emerging spotted fever group rickettsiosis, was identified in 66% of A. maculatum, 28% of D. variabilis, and 11% of I. scapularis. The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, was detected in 2 I. scapularis, while one A. americanum was positive for Borrelia bissettii, a putative human pathogen. The rickettsial endosymbionts Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae, rickettsial endosymbiont of I. scapularis, and Rickettsia amblyommii were detected in their common tick hosts at 21%, 39%, and 60%, respectively. All ticks were PCR-negative for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia spp., and Babesia microti. This is the first reported detection of R. parkeri in vector ticks in Louisiana; we also report the novel association of R. parkeri with I. scapularis. Detection of both R. parkeri and B. burgdorferi in their respective vectors in Louisiana demands further investigation to determine potential for human exposure to these pathogens. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

  1. Modulation of gene expression in heart and liver of hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus

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    Yan Jun

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Hibernation is an adaptive strategy to survive in highly seasonal or unpredictable environments. The molecular and genetic basis of hibernation physiology in mammals has only recently been studied using large scale genomic approaches. We analyzed gene expression in the American black bear, Ursus americanus, using a custom 12,800 cDNA probe microarray to detect differences in expression that occur in heart and liver during winter hibernation in comparison to summer active animals. Results We identified 245 genes in heart and 319 genes in liver that were differentially expressed between winter and summer. The expression of 24 genes was significantly elevated during hibernation in both heart and liver. These genes are mostly involved in lipid catabolism and protein biosynthesis and include RNA binding protein motif 3 (Rbm3, which enhances protein synthesis at mildly hypothermic temperatures. Elevated expression of protein biosynthesis genes suggests induction of translation that may be related to adaptive mechanisms reducing cardiac and muscle atrophies over extended periods of low metabolism and immobility during hibernation in bears. Coordinated reduction of transcription of genes involved in amino acid catabolism suggests redirection of amino acids from catabolic pathways to protein biosynthesis. We identify common for black bears and small mammalian hibernators transcriptional changes in the liver that include induction of genes responsible for fatty acid β oxidation and carbohydrate synthesis and depression of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis, carbohydrate catabolism, cellular respiration and detoxification pathways. Conclusions Our findings show that modulation of gene expression during winter hibernation represents molecular mechanism of adaptation to extreme environments.

  2. Fatal snake bite in a brown bear (Ursus arctos L.: A case report

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Romel Velev

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Poisoning from snake venom in animals is an emergency which requires immediate attention or otherwise, the delayed and inadequate treatment leads to untoward consequences and death. The present paper describes a case of venomous snakebite in a brown bear cub (Ursus arctos L. and its therapeutic management. The brown bear cub of which was found alone on the slopes of a mountain in the southwest part of the country was presented to the peripheral veterinary practice in Ohrid with a history of dullness, disorientation and excessive swelling around the left forepaw. It was diagnosed for snakebite based on the history and physical examination. The hematological parameters showed reduced values of hemoglobin, packed cell volume and increased total leukocyte count. The biochemical values showed elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase and creatinine. After immobilization of the animal, the treatment was conducted with fluids, corticosteroid and broad spectrum antibiotic with careful monitoring. Despite the treatment which was initiated immediately, it was only partially effective, and the animal died one hour after the beginning of its course. Poisonous snakes are common in the mountainous part of Macedonia and, just like humans, wild bears especially their cubs are susceptible to the deadly venom of some species. The severity of the reaction to snake venom and prognosis in animals depends on a number of factors: on the type and species of snake, on how much venom was injected, on the location of the bite, on the age, health and body weight of the animal and crucially, the time interval between the snakebite and the application of the treatment.

  3. Greenhouse gas mitigation can reduce sea-ice loss and increase polar bear persistence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steven C. Amstrup; Eric T. DeWeaver; David C. Douglas; Bruce G. Marcot; George M. Durner; Cecilia M. Bitz; David A. Bailey

    2010-01-01

    On the basis of projected losses of their essential sea-ice habitats, a United States Geological Survey research team concluded in 2007 that two-thirds of the world's polar bears (Ursus maritimus) could disappear by mid-century if business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions continue. That projection, however, did not consider the possible...

  4. Forecasting the relative influence of environmental and anthropogenic stressors on polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Todd C. Atwood; Bruce G. Marcot; David C. Douglas; Steven C. Amstrup; Karyn D. Rode; George M. Durner; Jeffrey F. Bromaghin

    2016-01-01

    Effective conservation planning requires understanding and ranking threats to wildlife populations. We developed a Bayesian network model to evaluate the relative influence of environmental and anthropogenic stressors, and their mitigation, on the persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Overall sea ice conditions, affected by rising global...

  5. Immobilization of Asiatic Black Bears ( Ursus thibetanus ) with Medetomidine-Zolazepam-Tiletamine in South Korea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeong, Dong-Hyuk; Yang, Jeong-Jin; Seok, Seong-Hoon; Song, Byeung-Cheul; Yeon, Seong-Chan

    2017-07-01

    The Asiatic black bear ( Ursus thibetanus ; ABB) is a globally endangered species for which a restoration program has been ongoing in South Korea since 2001. However, there is little information on immobilization protocols for ABBs. We evaluated the use of medetomidine-zolazepam-tiletamine for their immobilization. During 2005-13, we anesthetized 60 ABBs (32 males, 28 females; 7 mo to 12 yr old) with medetomidine 0.03-0.045 mg/kg and zolazepam-tiletamine 1.54-2.3 mg/kg; reversal of anesthesia was done with atipamezole 0.15-0.225 mg/kg administered intravenously alone or intravenously and intramuscularly (50:50). Mean (and SD) for physiologic collected for 373 immobilizations of at least 60 min were: time to sedation, 7.8 (5.4) min; anesthesia induction time, 13.7 (8.1) min; complete recovery time, 14.8 (12.4) min; respiratory rate, 14 (7) breaths/min; heart rate, 51 (16) beats/min; rectal temperature, 37.3 (1.3) C; and hemoglobin oxygen saturation, 88% (6%). Few cardiopulmonary side effects occurred during immobilization and adequate depth of anesthesia was maintained for >60 min without need for supplementation. The dosage and drug combination used was effective for immobilization of ABBs with minimal adverse effects on vital signs and can be recommended in most clinical applications.

  6. Activity pattern of the orphaned Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae cubs during rehabilitation processes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Dasgupta

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Five Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus cubs aged between 6.5-15 months were studied for five months using instantaneous scan sampling (n=3049 scans while they were undergoing acclimatization in the rehabilitation areas in Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, India. During the course of the study, feeding, moving, climbing, resting and playing activities were recorded in three consecutive time periods, representing three phases of acclimatization. The frequency of climbing and moving increased considerably towards the third phase, while feeding decreased. These changes can be attributed to a learning process during acclimatization. Time spent on moving and playing differed significantly among the bears, but not climbing or feeding.

  7. Predormancy omnivory in European cave bears evidenced by a dental microwear analysis of Ursus spelaeus from Goyet, Belgium

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peigné, Stéphane; Goillot, Cyrielle; Germonpré, Mietje; Blondel, Cécile; Bignon, Olivier; Merceron, Gildas

    2009-01-01

    Previous morphological and isotopic studies indicate that Late Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) diet ranged from mostly vegetarian to omnivory or even carnivory. However, such analyses do not provide information on seasonal diets, and only provide an average record of diet. A dental microwear analysis of 43 young and adult individuals demonstrate that, during the predormancy period, cave bears from Goyet (Late Pleistocene, Belgium) were not strictly herbivorous, but had a mixed diet composed of hard items (e.g., possibly bone), invertebrates (e.g., insects), meat (ungulates, small vertebrates), and/or plant matter (hard mast, seeds, herbaceous vegetations, and fruits). Therefore, our results indicate that cave bears at Goyet were generalist omnivores during the predormancy period, which is consistent with current data on the dietary ecology of extant bears during this season. These data also raise questions about the ecological role and causes of the extinction of cave bears. PMID:19706401

  8. PCR-Based Detection of Trypanosoma evansi Infection in Semi-Captive Asiatic Black Bears (Ursus thibetanus

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    Maliha Shahid, Safia Janjua*, Fakhar-i-Abbas and Jan Schmidt Burbach1

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available Clinical signs, viz lethargy, increased heart rate and reduced appetite, making trypanosomiasis a possible differential diagnosis, were found in five out of twenty semi-captive Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus in a sanctuary, located in Kund, District Sawabi, KPK, Pakistan. Microscopic examination of blood samples of bears expressing clinical signs and symptoms revealed the presence of haemoflagellates, which was found to be trypanosomes. Subsequently, the PCR technique was exploited to screen for the presence of trypanosomal species in all bears’ blood samples. Blood samples from 20 individual bears were screened using three sets of primers specific to Trypanosoma evansi species. Three primer pairs used are equally effective in successful detection of the parasite. Two out of five, diseased bears died prior to any trypanosoma specific medication while the rest were given an administered dose of Melarsomine (Immiticide. The treated bears survived and were assured to be aparasitemic on post-treatment examination after six weeks.

  9. Evaluation of black bear (Ursus americanus) diet and consequences in its conservation in Sierra de Picachos, Nuevo León, Mexico

    OpenAIRE

    Juárez-Casillas, Luis Antonio; Varas, Cora

    2013-01-01

    Black bears (Ursus americanus) are considered endangered in Mexico. In northern Mexico, bears are considered responsible for preying on livestock, damaging private property, and crops; therefore they are killed to protect locals' livelihoods. There is a need to understand bears' ecological requirements in order to create conservation plans that include human-bear conflict resolution and that reduce the hunting of this endangered species. We studied the diet of black bears in the Sierra de Pic...

  10. Dental and Temporomandibular Joint Pathology of the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, E J; Chesnutt, S R; Winer, J N; Kass, P H; Verstraete, F J M

    Museum specimens (maxillae and/or mandibles) from 371 American black bears (Ursus americanus) acquired between 1889 and 2006 were examined macroscopically according to predefined criteria, and 348 were included in this study. Of the 348 specimens, 126 (36.2%) were from male animals, 106 (30.5%) were from female animals and 116 (33.3%) were from animals of unknown sex. Specimen ages ranged from young adult (n = 63, 18.1%) to adult (n = 285, 81.9%), with juveniles excluded from the study. The number of teeth available for examination was 12,019 (82.2%); 7.0% of teeth were absent artefactually, 0.4% were deemed absent due to acquired tooth loss and 9.7% were absent congenitally. In 43 specimens (12.3%), 82 teeth (0.68%) were small vestigial structures with crowns that were flush with the level of surrounding alveolar bone. The remaining teeth (99.3%) were of normal morphology. Only three supernumerary teeth and three instances of enamel hypoplasia were encountered. Persistent deciduous teeth or teeth with an aberrant number of roots were not encountered in any of the specimens. Approximately one-third of the teeth examined (4,543, 37.8%) displayed attrition/abrasion, affecting nearly all of the specimens (n = 338, 97.1%). Incisor and molar teeth accounted for 52.5% and 34.3% of the affected teeth, respectively, with significantly more adults affected than young adults. Dental fractures were noted in 63 bears, affecting 18.1% of specimens and 1.0% of the total number of present teeth. The canine teeth were most often fractured, with adults having significantly more complicated crown fractures of these teeth than young adults. There were 11 specimens (3.2%) that displayed periapical lesions, affecting 12 (0.1%) dental alveoli. There were 179 specimens (51.4%) displaying bony changes indicative of periodontitis, affecting 816 (6.8%) dental alveoli. The proportion of adult bears affected by periodontitis (57.9%) was significantly greater than that of young adults

  11. Perfluoroalkyl substances in polar bear mother-cub pairs: A comparative study based on plasma levels from 1998 and 2008

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bytingsvik, J.; Leeuwen, S.; Hamers, T.; Swart, C.P.; Aars, J.; Lie, E.; Espseth Nilsen, E.M.; Wiig, O.; Derocher, A. E.; Jenssen, B.M.

    2012-01-01

    Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are protein-binding blood-accumulating contaminants that may have detrimental toxicological effects on the early phases of mammalian development. To enable an evaluation of the potential health risks of PFAS exposure for polar bears (Ursus maritimus), an exposure

  12. Ancient hybridization and an Irish origin for the modern polar bear matriline

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Edwards, Ceiridwen J.; Suchard, Marc A.; Lemey, Philippe

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are among those species most susceptible to the rapidly changing arctic climate, and their survival is of global concern. Despite this, little is known about polar bear species history. Future conservation strategies would significantly benefit from an understanding...... of basic evolutionary information, such as the timing and conditions of their initial divergence from brown bears (U. arctos) or their response to previous environmental change....

  13. The effects of hibernation and captivity on glucose metabolism and thyroid hormones in American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCain, Stephanie; Ramsay, Ed; Kirk, Claudia

    2013-06-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) have been shown to become transiently insulin resistant and hypothyroid during winter, but no studies have investigated these changes in long-term captive bears or in bears which remain awake year-round. Wild, captive hibernating, and captive nonhibernating bears were evaluated at times corresponding to three of their major physiologic stages: fall (hyperphagic stage), winter (hibernation stage), and summer (normal activity stage). Combined insulin and glucose tolerance tests and thyroid hormone profiles were performed on all bears during each stage. All three groups of bears had evidence of insulin resistance during the winter, as compared to the summer or fall, based on glucose tolerance curves. Analysis of thyroid hormone concentration varied and distinct patterns or similarities were not apparent. While obesity in captive American black bears is multifactorial, the finding that, regardless of their ability to hibernate, captive bears retain similar physiology to their wild counterparts indicates that captive bears' complex physiologic changes need to be addressed in their management.

  14. Brown bear (Ursus arctos attacks resulting in human casualties in Scandinavia 1977-2016; management implications and recommendations.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ole-Gunnar Støen

    Full Text Available Human persecution and habitat loss have endangered large carnivore populations worldwide, but some are recovering, exacerbating old conflicts. Carnivores can injure and kill people; the most dramatic form of wildlife-human conflict. In Scandinavia, the brown bear (Ursus arctos population increased from ~500 bears in 1977 to ~3300 in 2008, with an increase in injuries, fatalities, and public fear of bear attacks. We reviewed media coverage and interviewed victims to explore how bear population trends, hunter education, and other factors may have influenced the number of injuries and fatalities in Scandinavia from 1977 to 2016. We found 42 incidents with 42 injuries and 2 fatalities; 42 were adult men, one was an adult woman conducting forestry work, and one was a boy skiing off-piste. Thirty-three adult men were hunting bears, moose, or small game, often with a hunting dog, and 26 had shot at the bear at 8±11 m before injury. Eleven nonhunters were conducting forestry work, inspecting a hunting area, picking berries, tending livestock, hiking, harassing a denned bear, and one person was killed outside his house at night. Eight of the 11 incidents of nonhunters involved female bears with cubs; three of these family groups were in dens and two were on carcasses. The annual number of hunters injured/killed was mostly influenced by the increase in the bear population size. The pattern was similar regarding injuries/fatalities to other outdoor users, but the relation with the bear population size was weaker than for hunters, and the null model was equally supported. Bear physiology at denning may make encounters with bears more risky in the fall, when bears show prehibernation behavior. Awareness and education efforts, especially among hunters, seem important to ensure human safety. Recreationists and forestry workers should avoid dense vegetation or make noise to warn bears of their presence.

  15. Exposure to mixtures of organohalogen contaminants and associative interactions with thyroid hormones in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Villanger, Gro D.; Jenssen, Bjørn M.; Fjeldberg, Rita R.

    2011-01-01

    influence on total 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (TT3) in AdF_S, and that a group of 17 higher chlorinated ortho-PCBs had a positive influence on total 3,5,3′,5′-tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine, TT4) in AdF_N. TH levels in AdM seemed less influenced by OHCs because of non-significant PLS models. TH levels were also...

  16. Behavioural differences between single scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) and females with dependent young when experimentally approached by humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sahlén, Veronica; Ordiz, Andrés; Swenson, Jon E; Støen, Ole Gunnar

    2015-01-01

    Carnivore-human encounters that result in human injury present a conservation and management challenge and it is therefore important to understand under what conditions such incidents occur. Females with cubs are often involved when humans are injured by brown bears Ursus arctos. In Scandinavia, this is particularly true for unarmed recreational forest users. Our aim was to document behavioural differences between single bears and females with cubs in order to develop recommendations to minimize the risk of injuries to recreational forest users. We documented the reactions of GPS-collared females with cubs and single brown bears to experimental approaches by humans to 50 m from the bear on 42 and 108 occasions, respectively. The majority of females with cubs (95%) and single bears (89%) left when approached. Bears that left were passed at shorter distances and were in more open areas than those that stayed. Both groups had similar flight initiation distances, which were longer for bears that were active at the time of the disturbance. Females with cubs selected more open habitat than single bears, also for the new site they selected following disturbance. Females with cubs, particularly active females with cubs of the year, moved greater distances and spent more time active following the approach. Females with cubs and single bears were seen or heard in 26% and 14% of the approaches, respectively. None of the bears displayed any aggressive behaviour during the approaches. Females with cubs selected more open habitat, perhaps predisposing them to encountering people that are not involved in hunting activities, which might be the primary explanation why females with cubs are most frequently involved when unarmed people are injured by bears in Scandinavia. To mitigate injury risks, one must consider factors that bring bears closer to human activity in the first place.

  17. Assays for Detection and Identification of the Causative Agent of Mange in Free-Ranging Black Bears ( Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peltier, Sarah K; Brown, Justin D; Ternent, Mark A; Fenton, Heather; Niedringhaus, Kevin D; Yabsley, Michael J

    2018-03-02

    Three mite species ( Demodex ursi, Ursicoptes americanus, and Sarcoptes scabiei) have been associated with mange in black bears ( Ursus americanus). Since the early 1990s, the number and geographic distribution of mange cases in black bears in Pennsylvania has increased; however, the causative mites have yet to be completely defined. We evaluated several diagnostic approaches for detection and identification of mites in 72 black bears with severe lesions consistent with mange. Sarcoptes scabiei was morphologically identified in skin scrapes from 66 of the bears; no mites were identified in the remaining six. Histopathologic lesions consistent with sarcoptic mange were observed in 39 of 40 bear skin samples examined, and intralesional mites were observed in samples from 38 of these bears. Samples were collected from a subset of the 72 bears for PCR testing targeting both the internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-2 region and cytochrome c oxidase I ( cox1) gene including 69 skin scrapes ( ITS-2 only), 56 skin biopsies ( ITS-2 and cox1), and 36 fecal samples ( ITS-2 and cox1). Skin scrapes were a more sensitive sample for PCR detection than either skin biopsies or fecal samples, and the ITS-2 primers proved more sensitive than cox1. Using a commercial indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, antibodies to S. scabiei were detected in 45/49 (92%) black bears with confirmed mange and 0/62 (0%) cubs with no gross lesions suggestive of mange and which were born to seronegative sows. Sarcoptes scabiei was the predominant mite associated with mange in black bears in Pennsylvania. Diagnostically, cytologic examination of skin scrapes was the most effective approach for diagnosing active mite infestations in black bears. The evaluated serologic assay accurately detected antibodies to S. scabiei in most bears with confirmed S. scabiei infestations. Additional research is needed to determine the usefulness of this approach for larger scale surveys and for asymptomatic bears.

  18. Breeding facilities for polar bears, Thalarctos maritimus (Phipps, 1774), in captivity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Jacobi, E.F.

    1968-01-01

    The breeding results of Polar Bears in captivity are in general very disappointing. Unsuitable maternity dens are the main cause. These should be completely closed, very quiet without outside disturbances and should have connection with a run and thus with an outside enclosure. The female should be

  19. LEUKOCYTE COPING CAPACITY AS A TOOL TO ASSESS CAPTURE- AND HANDLING-INDUCED STRESS IN SCANDINAVIAN BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esteruelas, Núria Fandos; Huber, Nikolaus; Evans, Alina L; Zedrosser, Andreas; Cattet, Marc; Palomares, Francisco; Angel, Martine; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2016-04-01

    Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are often captured and handled for research and management purposes. Although the techniques used are potentially stressful for the animals and might have detrimental and long-lasting consequences, it is difficult to assess their physiological impact. Here we report the use of the leukocyte coping capacity (LCC) technique to quantify the acute stress of capture and handling in brown bears in Scandinavia. In April and May 2012 and 2013, we collected venous blood samples and recorded a range of physiological variables to evaluate the effects of capture and the added impact of surgical implantation or removal of transmitters and sensors. We studied 24 brown bears, including 19 that had abdominal surgery. We found 1) LCC values following capture were lower in solitary bears than in bears in family groups suggesting capture caused relatively more stress in solitary bears, 2) ability to cope with handling stress was better (greater LCC values) in bears with good body condition, and 3) LCC values did not appear to be influenced by surgery. Although further evaluation of this technique is required, our preliminary results support the use of the LCC technique as a quantitative measure of stress.

  20. Investigating the mechanism for maintaining eucalcemia despite immobility and anuria in the hibernating American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seger, Rita L; Cross, Randal A; Rosen, Clifford J; Causey, Robert C; Gundberg, Caren M; Carpenter, Thomas O; Chen, Tai C; Halteman, William A; Holick, Michael F; Jakubas, Walter J; Keisler, Duane H; Seger, Richard M; Servello, Frederick A

    2011-12-01

    Ursine hibernation uniquely combines prolonged skeletal unloading, anuria, pregnancy, lactation, protein recycling, and lipolysis. This study presents a radiographic and biochemical picture of bone metabolism in free-ranging, female American black bears (Ursus americanus) that were active (spring bears and autumn bears) or hibernating (hibernating bears). Hibernating bears included lactating and non-lactating individuals. We measured serum calcium, albumin, inorganic phosphate, creatinine, bone specific alkaline phosphatase (BSALP), CTX, parathyroid hormone, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-l), leptin, 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)(2)D] and sclerostin from 35 to 50 tranquilized hibernating bears and 14 to 35 tranquilized spring bears. We compared metacarpal cortical indices (MCI), measured by digital X-ray radiogrammetry, from 60 hunter-killed autumn bears and 79 tranquilized, hibernating bears. MCI was greater in autumn than winter in younger bears, but showed no seasonal difference in older bears. During hibernation eucalcemia was maintained, BSALP was suppressed, and CTX was in the range expected for anuria. During hibernation 1,25(OH)(2)D was produced despite anuria. 1,25(OH)(2)D and IGF-I were less in hibernating than spring bears. In a quarter of hibernating bears, sclerostin was elevated. Leptin was greater in hibernating than spring bears. In hibernating bears, leptin correlated positively with BSALP in non-lactating bears and with CTX in lactating bears. Taken together the biochemical and radiographic findings indicate that during hibernation, bone turnover was persistent, balanced, and suppressed; bone resorption was lower than expected for an unloaded skeleton; and there was no unloading-induced bone loss. The skeleton appears to perceive that it was loaded when it was actually unloaded during hibernation. However, at the level of sclerostin, the skeleton recognized that it was unloaded. During hibernation leptin

  1. Genetic characterization of Kenai brown bears (Ursus arctos): Microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA control region variation in brown bears of the Kenai Peninsula, south central Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, J.V.; Talbot, S.L.; Farley, S.

    2008-01-01

    We collected data from 20 biparentally inherited microsatellite loci, and nucleotide sequence from the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region, to determine levels of genetic variation of the brown bears (Ursus arctos L., 1758) of the Kenai Peninsula, south central Alaska. Nuclear genetic variation was similar to that observed in other Alaskan peninsular populations. We detected no significant inbreeding and found no evidence of population substructuring on the Kenai Peninsula. We observed a genetic signature of a bottleneck under the infinite alleles model (IAM), but not under the stepwise mutation model (SMM) or the two-phase model (TPM) of microsatellite mutation. Kenai brown bears have lower levels of mtDNA haplotypic diversity relative to most other brown bear populations in Alaska. ?? 2008 NRC.

  2. Effect of season and high ambient temperature on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLellan, Michelle L; McLellan, Bruce N

    2015-01-01

    Understanding factors that influence daily and annual activity patterns of a species provides insights to challenges facing individuals, particularly when climate shifts, and thus is important in conservation. Using GPS collars with dual-axis motion sensors that recorded the number of switches every 5 minutes we tested the hypotheses: 1. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) increase daily activity levels and active bout lengths when they forage on berries, the major high-energy food in this ecosystem, and 2. Grizzly bears become less active and more nocturnal when ambient temperature exceeds 20°C. We found support for hypothesis 1 with both male and female bears being active from 0.7 to 2.8 h longer in the berry season than in other seasons. Our prediction under hypothesis 2 was not supported. When bears foraged on berries on a dry, open mountainside, there was no relationship between daily maximum temperature (which varied from 20.4 to 40.1°C) and the total amount of time bears were active, and no difference in activity levels during day or night between warm (20.4-27.3°C) and hot (27.9-40.1°C) days. Our results highlight the strong influence that food acquisition has on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears and is a challenge to the heat dissipation limitation theory.

  3. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy under field conditions in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) rescued from illegal bile farming in Vietnam.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pizzi, R; Cracknell, J; David, S; Laughlin, D; Broadis, N; Rouffignac, M; Duong, D V; Girling, S; Hunt, M

    2011-10-29

    Nine adult Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) previously rescued from illegal bile farming in Vietnam were examined via abdominal ultrasound and exploratory laparoscopy for liver and gall bladder pathology. Three bears demonstrated notable gall bladder pathology, and minimally invasive cholecystectomies were performed using an open laparoscopic access approach, standard 10 to 12 mmHg carbon dioxide pneumoperitoneum and a four-port technique. A single bear required insertion of an additional 5 mm port and use of a flexible liver retractor due to the presence of extensive adhesions between the gall bladder and quadrate and left and right medial liver lobes. The cystic duct was dissected free and this and the cystic artery were ligated by means of extracorporeal tied Meltzer knot sutures. The gall bladder was dissected free of the liver by blunt and sharp dissection, aided by 3.8 MHz monopolar radiosurgery. Bears that have had open abdominal cholecystectomies are reported as taking four to six weeks before a return to normal activity postoperatively. In contrast, these bears demonstrated rapid unremarkable healing, and were allowed unrestricted access to outside enclosures to climb trees, swim and interact normally with other bears within seven days of surgery.

  4. Effect of season and high ambient temperature on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michelle L McLellan

    Full Text Available Understanding factors that influence daily and annual activity patterns of a species provides insights to challenges facing individuals, particularly when climate shifts, and thus is important in conservation. Using GPS collars with dual-axis motion sensors that recorded the number of switches every 5 minutes we tested the hypotheses: 1. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos increase daily activity levels and active bout lengths when they forage on berries, the major high-energy food in this ecosystem, and 2. Grizzly bears become less active and more nocturnal when ambient temperature exceeds 20°C. We found support for hypothesis 1 with both male and female bears being active from 0.7 to 2.8 h longer in the berry season than in other seasons. Our prediction under hypothesis 2 was not supported. When bears foraged on berries on a dry, open mountainside, there was no relationship between daily maximum temperature (which varied from 20.4 to 40.1°C and the total amount of time bears were active, and no difference in activity levels during day or night between warm (20.4-27.3°C and hot (27.9-40.1°C days. Our results highlight the strong influence that food acquisition has on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears and is a challenge to the heat dissipation limitation theory.

  5. Spinal spondylosis and acute intervertebral disc prolapse in a European brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos : clinical communication

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    W.M. Wagner

    2005-06-01

    Full Text Available A 22-year-old male European brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos was presented to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital after an acute onset of hind limb paralysis 4 days earlier. Previous radiographs revealed marked degenerative joint disease of the stifles, tarsi and digits. The clinical findings were consistent with acute disc prolapse. Lateral radiographs of the entire vertebral column were made as well as ventrodorsal pelvic radiographs. The latter were within normal limits. The vertebral column revealed multiple lesions consistent with chronic and acute disc herniations. Lateral compression of the caudal lumbar nerve roots could not be ruled out. Owing to multiple significant findings of the vertebral column and the poor prognosis for full recovery after surgery, the bear was euthanased. The diagnosis of an acute disc prolapse and multiple chronic disc herniations was confirmed on necropsy.

  6. EFFECT OF ACTIVE COOLING AND α-2 ADRENOCEPTOR ANTAGONISM ON CORE TEMPERATURE IN ANESTHETIZED BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ozeki, Larissa Mourad; Caulkett, Nigel; Stenhouse, Gordon; Arnemo, Jon M; Fahlman, Åsa

    2015-06-01

    Hyperthermia is a common complication during anesthesia of bears, and it can be life threatening. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of active cooling on core body temperature for treatment of hyperthermia in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos). In addition, body temperature after reversal with atipamezole was also evaluated. Twenty-five adult and subadult brown bears were captured with a combination of zolazepam-tiletamine and xylazine or medetomidine. A core temperature capsule was inserted into the bears' stomach or 15 cm into their rectum or a combination of both. In six bears with gastric temperatures≥40.0°C, an active cooling protocol was performed, and the temperature change over 30 min was analyzed. The cooling protocol consisted of enemas with 2 L of water at approximately 5°C/100 kg of body weight every 10 min, 1 L of intravenous fluids at ambient temperature, water or snow on the paws or the inguinal area, intranasal oxygen supplementation, and removing the bear from direct sunlight or providing shade. Nine bears with body temperature>39.0°C that were not cooled served as control for the treated animals. Their body temperatures were recorded for 30 min, prior to administration of reversal. At the end of the anesthetic procedure, all bears received an intramuscular dose of atipamezole. In 10 bears, deep rectal temperature change over 30 min after administration of atipamezole was evaluated. The active cooling protocol used in hyperthermic bears significantly decreased their body temperatures within 10 min, and it produced a significantly greater decrease in their temperature than that recorded in the control group.

  7. Impacts of rural development on Yellowstone wildlife: linking grizzly bear Ursus arctos demographics with projected residential growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Gude, Patricia H.; Landenburger, Lisa; Haroldson, Mark A.; Podruzny, Shannon

    2012-01-01

    Exurban development is consuming wildlife habitat within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with potential consequences to the long-term conservation of grizzly bears Ursus arctos. We assessed the impacts of alternative future land-use scenarios by linking an existing regression-based simulation model predicting rural development with a spatially explicit model that predicted bear survival. Using demographic criteria that predict population trajectory, we portioned habitats into either source or sink, and projected the loss of source habitat associated with four different build out (new home construction) scenarios through 2020. Under boom growth, we predicted that 12 km2 of source habitat were converted to sink habitat within the Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone (RZ), 189 km2 were converted within the current distribution of grizzly bears outside of the RZ, and 289 km2 were converted in the area outside the RZ identified as suitable grizzly bear habitat. Our findings showed that extremely low densities of residential development created sink habitats. We suggest that tools, such as those outlined in this article, in addition to zoning and subdivision regulation may prove more practical, and the most effective means of retaining large areas of undeveloped land and conserving grizzly bear source habitat will likely require a landscape-scale approach. We recommend a focus on land conservation efforts that retain open space (easements, purchases and trades) coupled with the implementation of ‘bear community programmes’ on an ecosystem wide basis in an effort to minimize human-bear conflicts, minimize management-related bear mortalities associated with preventable conflicts and to safeguard human communities. Our approach has application to other species and areas, and it has illustrated how spatially explicit demographic models can be combined with models predicting land-use change to help focus conservation priorities.

  8. Development and application of an antibody-based protein microarray to assess physiological stress in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carlson, Ruth I; Cattet, Marc R L; Sarauer, Bryan L; Nielsen, Scott E; Boulanger, John; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Janz, David M

    2016-01-01

    A novel antibody-based protein microarray was developed that simultaneously determines expression of 31 stress-associated proteins in skin samples collected from free-ranging grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Alberta, Canada. The microarray determines proteins belonging to four broad functional categories associated with stress physiology: hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis proteins, apoptosis/cell cycle proteins, cellular stress/proteotoxicity proteins and oxidative stress/inflammation proteins. Small skin samples (50-100 mg) were collected from captured bears using biopsy punches. Proteins were isolated and labelled with fluorescent dyes, with labelled protein homogenates loaded onto microarrays to hybridize with antibodies. Relative protein expression was determined by comparison with a pooled standard skin sample. The assay was sensitive, requiring 80 µg of protein per sample to be run in triplicate on the microarray. Intra-array and inter-array coefficients of variation for individual proteins were generally bears. This suggests that remotely delivered biopsy darts could be used in future sampling. Using generalized linear mixed models, certain proteins within each functional category demonstrated altered expression with respect to differences in year, season, geographical sampling location within Alberta and bear biological parameters, suggesting that these general variables may influence expression of specific proteins in the microarray. Our goal is to apply the protein microarray as a conservation physiology tool that can detect, evaluate and monitor physiological stress in grizzly bears and other species at risk over time in response to environmental change.

  9. The food habits of the Himalayan Brown Bear Ursus arctos (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bipan C. Rathore

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available We documented the food habits of the Himalayan Brown Bear Ursus arctos in Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh, India, between 2002 and 2004 using scat analysis (n=222, direct observation (n=57, and feeding sign observations (n=57.  We concluded that Himalayan Brown Bears lead a predominantly herbivorous life style as plant matter occurred more frequently in scats (79% than animal matter (21%.  During summer, monsoon and fall, the frequency occurrence of plant matter was 72.2%, 77% and 91% respectively.  During early summer, brown bears foraged primarily on green vegetation such as Rumex nepalensis followed by Chaerophyllum reflexum.  Based on direct feeding observations, brown bears were observed to be feeding on 29 species of plants including agricultural crops and one fungi, Morchella esculenta.  The overuse by livestock, decline in local herbs and excessive extraction of high altitudinal medicinal plants in this habitat may pose a threat to the fragmented brown bear population. 

  10. Use of acepromazine and medetomidine in combination for sedation and handling of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolfe, Lisa L; Johnson, Heather E; Fisher, Mark C; Sirochman, Michael A; Kraft, Benjamin; Miller, Michael W

    2014-10-01

    We opportunistically evaluated a combination of acepromazine maleate and medetomidine HCl for use in sedating Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and black bears (Ursus americanus) as an alternative to scheduled drug combinations. This combination was safe and effective with limitations inherent in its sedative rather than anesthetic properties.

  11. Can polar bears use terrestrial foods to offset lost ice-based hunting opportunities?

    OpenAIRE

    Rode, Karyn D.; Robbins, Charles T.; Nelson, Lynne; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    Increased land use by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) due to climate‐change‐induced reduction of their sea‐ice habitat illustrates the impact of climate change on species distributions and the difficulty of conserving a large, highly specialized carnivore in the face of this global threat. Some authors have suggested that terrestrial food consumption by polar bears will help them withstand sea‐ice loss as they are forced to spend increasing amounts of time on land. Here, we evaluate the nutriti...

  12. Analysis of seminal plasma from brown bear (Ursus arctos during the breeding season: Its relationship with testosterone levels.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    L Anel-López

    Full Text Available Seminal plasma (SP plays an important role in the motility, viability and maintenance of the fertilizing capacity of mammalian spermatozoa. This study is the first on brown bear (Ursus arctos SP components, and has two main objectives: 1 to define the SP composition in bear ejaculate and 2 to identify variations in SP composition in relation to high and low levels of testosterone in serum during the breeding season. Forty-eight sperm samples from 30 sexually mature male brown bears (Ursus arctos were obtained by electroejaculation, and their serum testosterone levels were assessed to sort the animals into 2 groups (high and low testosterone levels, threshold 5 ng/dl. The biochemical and protein compositions of the SP samples were assessed, and sperm motility was analyzed. We found that lactate dehydrogenase was significantly higher in the low-serum-testosterone samples, while concentrations of lipase and Mg+ values were significantly higher in the high-serum-testosterone samples. In contrast, sperm motility did not significantly differ (P>0.05 between the testosterone level groups (total motility: 74.42.8% in the high-level group vs. 77.1±4.7% in the low-level group. A reference digital model was constructed since there is no information for this wild species. To do this, all gel images were added in a binary multidimensional image and thirty-three spots were identified as the most-repeated spots. An analysis of these proteins was done by qualitative equivalency (isoelectric point and molecular weight with published data for a bull. SP protein composition was compared between bears with high and low serum testosterone, and three proteins (binder of sperm and two enzymes not identified in the reference bull showed significant (P<0.05 quantitative differences. We conclude that male bears with high or low serum testosterone levels differs only in some properties of their SP, differences in enzyme LDIP2, energy source LACT2, one protein (similar to

  13. Cardiorespiratory effects of isoflurane in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) anesthetized with intramuscular medetomidine and zolazepam/tiletamine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeong, Dong-Hyuk; Yang, Jeong-Jin; Seok, Seong-Hoon; Song, Dong-Joo; Yeon, Seong-Chan

    2017-01-20

    The objective of this study was to determine the dose-dependent effects of isoflurane on various cardiovascular parameters and the stable range of isoflurane concentrations in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus). Seven Asiatic black bears were intramuscularly injected with medetomidine, zolazepam and tiletamine (MZT) to induce anesthesia, and anesthesia was maintained by administering isoflurane in 100% oxygen (4 l/min) without mechanical ventilation. Several cardiovascular parameters were measured at five end-tidal isoflurane concentrations (0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5%). Blood was collected from the femoral artery before administration of isoflurane and after each administration for immediate blood gas analysis. Isoflurane produced dose-dependent increases in heart rate, respiratory rate, minute volume, end-tidal carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) partial pressure and the partial pressure of arterial CO 2 , and dose-dependent decreases in non-invasive blood pressure and tidal volume. Rectal temperature, oxygenation and acid-base balance were unaffected by isoflurane. All parameters in this study were in a clinically acceptable range at all times. The data show that the combination of MZT and isoflurane is suitable for general anesthesia in Asiatic black bears with spontaneous breathing during prolonged procedures. End-tidal isoflurane concentrations of 0.5 to 2.5% can be used in Asiatic black bears without adverse side effects.

  14. Ticks and tick-borne pathogens and putative symbionts of black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus) from Georgia and Florida.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yabsley, Michael J; Nims, Todd N; Savage, Mason Y; Durden, Lance A

    2009-10-01

    Ticks were collected from 38 black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus) from northwestern Florida (n = 18) from 2003 to 2005 and southern Georgia (n = 20) in 2006. Five species (Amblyomma americanum, A. maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, Ixodes scapularis, and I. affinis) were collected from Florida bears, and 4 species (A. americanum, A. maculatum, D. variabilis, I. scapularis) were collected from bears in Georgia. Ixodes scapularis was the most frequently collected tick, followed by D. variabilis, A. americanum, A. maculatum, and I. affinis. The collection of I. affinis from a Florida bear represents a new host record. A subset of ticks was screened for pathogens and putative symbionts by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The zoonotic tick-borne pathogens Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Rickettsia parkeri were detected in 1 of 23 (4.3%) A. americanum and 1 of 12 (8.3%) A. maculatum, respectively. The putative zoonotic pathogen "Rickettsia amblyommii" was detected in 4 (17.4%) A. americanum and 1 (8.3%) A. maculatum. Other putative symbiotic rickettsiae detected included R. bellii and R. montanensis in D. variabilis, a Rickettsia cooleyi-like sp. and Rickettsia sp. Is-1 in I. scapularis, and Rickettsia TR39-like sp. in I. scapularis and A. americanum. All ticks were PCR-negative for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Panola Mountain Ehrlichia sp., E. ewingii, Francisella tularensis, and Borrelia spp.

  15. Relationship between uterine morphology and peripheral concentrations of sex steroid hormone in wild Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamane, Masako; Yamamoto, Yoshio; Tsujimoto, Tsunenori; Osawa, Takeshi

    2009-07-01

    Developing a better understanding of the reproductive physiology and breeding condition peculiar to wild Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) is crucial for estimation of their habitat distribution. The aim of this study was to clarify the changes in morphology of the genital organs, cellular proliferation in the endometrium and sex steroid hormone concentrations along with the reproductive cycle in Japanese black bears. Samples were collected from a total of 24 female Japanese black bears (1-15 presumptive years old) that were caught in the wild in Iwate prefecture during the period between August 1999 and September 2005. Twenty-two out of the 24 animals were hunted from May to October. The ovaries from the 24 animals and the uteri from 23 animals were observed macroscopically and histologically to examine the relationship between morphology of the genital organs and the month of the year the animal was caught. The staining pattern of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in the endometrium was characterised. Peripheral concentrations of oestradiol-17beta and progesterone were determined by radioimmunoassay. All the animals that had a corpus luteum (n=12) were captured from August to October. The thickness of the endometrium in the animals captured from August to October (n=16) was significantly greater than those in animals captured from May to July (n=5) (Pblack bears.

  16. Genetic Characterization of Sarcoptes scabiei from Black Bears (Ursus americanus) and Other Hosts in the Eastern United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peltier, Sarah K; Brown, Justin D; Ternent, Mark; Niedringhaus, Kevin D; Schuler, Krysten; Bunting, Elizabeth M; Kirchgessner, Megan; Yabsley, Michael J

    2017-10-01

    Since the early 1990s there has been an increase in the number of cases and geographic expansion of severe mange in the black bear (Ursus americanus) population in Pennsylvania. Although there are 3 species of mites associated with mange in bears, Sarcoptes scabiei has been identified as the etiologic agent in these Pennsylvania cases. Historically, S. scabiei-associated mange in bears has been uncommon and sporadic, although it is widespread and relatively common in canid populations. To better understand this recent emergence of sarcoptic mange in bears in Pennsylvania and nearby states, we genetically characterized S. scabiei samples from black bears in the eastern United States. These sequences were compared with newly acquired S. scabiei sequences from wild canids (red fox [Vulpes vulpes] and coyote [Canis latrans]) and a porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) from Pennsylvania and Kentucky and also existing sequences in GenBank. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-2 region and cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene were amplified and sequenced. Twenty-four ITS-2 sequences were obtained from mites from bears (n = 16), red fox (n = 5), coyote (n = 2), and a porcupine. The sequences from bear samples were identical to each other or differed only at polymorphic bases, whereas S. scabiei from canids were more variable, but 2 were identical to S. scabiei sequences from bears. Eighteen cox1 sequences obtained from mites from bears represented 6 novel haplotypes. Phylogenetic analysis of cox1 sequences revealed 4 clades: 2 clades of mites of human origin from Panama or Australia, a clade of mites from rabbits from China, and a large unresolved clade that included the remaining S. scabiei sequences from various hosts and regions, including sequences from the bears from the current study. Although the cox1 gene was more variable than the ITS-2, phylogenetic analyses failed to detect any clustering of S. scabiei from eastern U.S. hosts. Rather, sequences from black bears

  17. THE USE OF KETAMINE-XYLAZINE OR BUTORPHANOL-AZAPERONE-MEDETOMIDINE TO IMMOBILIZE AMERICAN BLACK BEARS ( URSUS AMERICANUS).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williamson, Ryan H; Muller, Lisa L; Blair, Coy

    2018-04-04

      Wildlife anesthetic protocols must offer rapid inductions and recoveries, be physiologically safe, and be minimally regulated. With this in mind, we evaluated differences in induction and recovery times and physiological parameters in 33 American black bears ( Ursus americanus) anesthetized with ketamine-xylazine (KX) or immobilized with a commercial drug combination of butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine (BAM). Dose was based on mass estimated from field observations. Bears were housed at Appalachian Bear Rescue, Townsend, Tennessee, US, or free-ranging within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee and North Carolina, US) and chemically immobilized for management purposes. From 11 April to 29 June 2016, we immobilized bears with injection via pole syringe or disposable dart projected from an air-powered dart rifle. Once immobilized, we measured each bear's temperature, respiration (breaths/min), heart rate (beats/min), hemoglobin oxygen saturation (via pulse oximetry), arterial blood gases, and mass (kg). We found no differences in the induction parameters, partial pressures of CO 2 , and rectal temperatures. The BAM-treated bears had lower heart and respiratory rates that led to lower hemoglobin oxygen saturation levels (from blood gas analysis, SaO 2 ). The SaO 2 after treatment with BAM (91.1±0.8%) was lower than with KX (93.4±0.9%). After handling, we reversed KX-treated bears with a x̄=0.2±0.02 mg/kg yohimbine and BAM-treated bears with x̄=1.5±0.1 mg/kg atipamezole and 0.8±0.1 mg/kg naltrexone. We found no differences in the recovery times to increased respiration and to the bear assuming a head-up position. The BAM-treated bears stood and recovered quicker than did KX-treated animals. Based on our observations, BAM appears to offer safe, predictable immobilizations with fewer drawbacks and faster recovery times than KX-treated bears.

  18. Identification and phylogenetic analysis of Dirofilaria ursi (Nematoda: Filarioidea) from Wisconsin black bears (Ursus americanus) and its Wolbachia endosymbiont.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michalski, Michelle L; Bain, Odile; Fischer, Kerstin; Fischer, Peter U; Kumar, Sanjay; Foster, Jeremy M

    2010-04-01

    Dirofilaria ursi is a filarial nematode of American black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) that is vectored by black flies (Simuliidae) in many parts of the United States. In northwestern Wisconsin, the prevalence of microfilaremic bears during the fall hunting season was 21% (n = 47). Unsheathed blood microfilariae from Wisconsin bears possess characters consistent with the original description of D. ursi, as do adult worms observed histologically and grossly. Immunohistochemistry was used to identify the Wolbachia endosymbiont in the hypodermis and lateral cords of an adult female D. ursi. Amplification of wsp, gatB, coxA, fbpA, and ftsZ bacterial sequences from parasite DNA confirmed the presence of Wolbachia, and molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Wolbachia ftsZ gene groups the endosymbiont with Wolbachia from D. immitis and D. repens. Phylogenetic analysis of D. ursi 5s rDNA sequence confirms the morphological observations grouping this parasite as a member of Dirofilaria, and within the Dirofilaria - Onchocerca clade of filarial nematodes. This is the first report of Wolbachia characterization and molecular phylogeny information for D. ursi.

  19. Evaluation on the effects of ageing factor, sampling and preservation methods on Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus noninvasive DNA amplification

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    Chih-Chin SHIH

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available Noninvasive genetic sampling allows studying wildlife without having to catch, handle or even observe individuals. In this study, factors which may affect the quality of noninvasive samples of Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus in the subtropical areas were identified. We collected hair and faecal samples from captive Asiatic black bears and quantitatively evaluated the effects of hair age (from fresh to 60 days, faeces age (from fresh to 14 days, faeces sampling locations (i.e. sample collected from either the surface, inside or a mixture of both the surface and inside of faeces, and faeces preservation methods (frozen or kept at room temperature in 95% ethanol on amplification success rates of mitochondrial DNA fragments of different sizes (450bp, 900bp, and 1600bp. The results showed that the amplification success rates decreased with sample age and amplicon size in both hair and faecal DNA. In subtropical environment, there was no significant difference between amplification success of DNA extracted from fresh and 7-day-old samples of either the hair or faeces. The amplification success rates were not influenced by sampling location of faeces. For faeces preserved in 95% ethanol, the amplification success appeared unaffected by frozen at -20 °C or kept at room temperature in shorter mtDNA fragments, but was significantly influenced when amplicon size was 1600bp. The results of this study will reinforce the optimization of noninvasive sampling approaches in Asiatic black bear research, especially in the subtropics.

  20. Seroepidemiologic study on the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spp. infections in black bears (Ursus americanus) in Pennsylvania, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubey, Jitender P; Brown, Justin; Ternent, Mark; Verma, Shiv K; Hill, Dolores E; Cerqueira-Cézar, Camila K; Kwok, Oliver C H; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Humphreys, Jan G

    2016-10-15

    The protozoan Toxoplasma gondii and the metazoan Trichinella spp. infect virtually all warm-blooded animals, including birds, humans, livestock, and marine mammals. Both parasitic infections can cause serious illness in human beings and can be acquired by ingesting under-cooked meat harboring infective stages. Approximately 3500 black bears (Ursus americanus) are legally-harvested each year in Pennsylvania, USA during the November hunting season. Among animals found infected with T. gondii, the prevalence of T. gondii is the highest among black bears in the USA; however, little is currently known of epidemiology of toxoplasmosis in this host species. Serum samples were collected during the winters of 2015 and 2016 from adult female bears and their nursing cubs or yearlings while they were still in their dens. Additionally, archived sera from bear samples collected throughout the year, including hunter-harvested bears in November and trapped bears in the summer, were serologically tested. Antibodies to T. gondii were assayed by the modified agglutination test (MAT, cut-off 1:25) and antibodies to Trichinella spp. were assayed using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Overall, T. gondii antibodies were found in 87.6% (206/235) of adults, and 44.1% (30/68) of yearlings. In March 2015/2016 sampling, antibodies to T. gondii were found in 94% (30/32) adult female bears while in their den. Antibodies were detected in 5% (3/66) of the nursing cubs in the dens of these sows. One positive cub had a MAT titer of 1:160 and two were positive at the 1:25 dilution but not at 1:50. The adult females of these cubs had MAT titers ranging from 1:400 to 1:3200. Antibodies to Trichinella spp. were found in 3% (6/181) of adults and 3.6% (1/28) of yearlings; these 7 bears were also seropositive for T. gondii. No antibodies to Trichinella spp. were detected in the sera of 44 nursing cubs tested. The finding of T. gondii antibodies in only 3 of 66 cubs, and higher

  1. Low cardiac output as physiological phenomenon in hibernating, free-ranging Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) - an observational study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jørgensen, Peter Godsk; Arnemo, Jon; Swenson, Jon E; Jensen, Jan S; Galatius, Søren; Frøbert, Ole

    2014-09-16

    Despite 5-7 months of physical inactivity during hibernation, brown bears (Ursus arctos) are able to cope with physiological conditions that would be detrimental to humans. During hibernation, the tissue metabolic demands fall to 25% of the active state. Our objective was to assess cardiac function associated with metabolic depression in the hibernating vs. active states in free-ranging Scandinavian brown bears. We performed echocardiography on seven free-ranging brown bears in Dalarna, Sweden, anesthetized with medetomidine-zolazepam-tiletamine-ketamine during winter hibernation in February 2013 and with medetomidine-zolazepam-tiletamine during active state in June 2013. We measured cardiac output noninvasively using estimates of hemodynamics obtained by pulsed wave Doppler echocardiography and 2D imaging. Comparisons were made using paired T-tests. During hibernation, all hemodynamic indices were significantly decreased (hibernating vs. active state): mean heart rate was 26.0 (standard deviation (SD): 5.6) beats per min vs. 75.0 (SD: 17.1) per min (P=0.002), mean stroke volume 32.3 (SD: 5.2) ml vs. 47.1 (SD: 7.9) ml (P=0.008), mean cardiac output 0.86 (SD: 0.31) l/min vs. 3.54 (SD: 1.04) l/min (P=0.003), and mean cardiac index 0.63 (SD: 0.21) l/min/kg vs. 2.45 (SD: 0.52) l/min/ m2 (Pbears during hibernation, despite the absence of atrial arrhythmias and valvular disease. Free-ranging brown bears demonstrate hemodynamics comparable to humans during active state, whereas during hibernation, we documented extremely low-flow hemodynamics. Understanding these physiological changes in bears may help to gain insight into the mechanisms of cardiogenic shock and heart failure in humans.

  2. Dietary plasticity in a nutrient-rich system does not influence brown bear (Ursus arctos) body condition or denning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangipane, Lindsey S.; Belant, Jerrold L.; Lafferty, Diana J. R.; Gustine, David D.; Hiller, Tim L.; Colvin, Michael E.; Mangipane, Buck A.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.

    2018-01-01

    Behavioral differences within a population can allow use of a greater range of resources among individuals. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a generalist omnivore that occupies diverse habitats and displays considerable plasticity in food use. We evaluated whether brown bear foraging that resulted in deviations from a proposed optimal diet influenced body condition and, in turn, denning duration in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska. To assess assimilated diet, we used sectioned guard hair samples (n = 23) collected in autumn to determine stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios. To index proportional contributions of meat and vegetation to assimilated diets, we compared the carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) values of hair samples with the values identified for major food categories. We then compared percentage body fat and body mass in relation to the proportion of assimilated meat in the diet using linear models. We also examined the influence of autumn percentage body fat and mass on denning duration. Percentage body fat was not influenced by the proportion of assimilated meat in the diet. Additionally, percentage body fat and body mass did not influence denning duration. However, body mass of bears assimilating proportionately more meat was greater than bears assimilating less meat. Our results provide support for previous findings that larger bears consume higher amounts of protein to maintain their body size and therefore forage further from the proposed optimal diet. Additionally, our results demonstrate that individuals can achieve similar biological outcomes (e.g., percentage body fat) despite variable foraging strategies, suggesting that individuals within generalist populations may confer an adaptive advantage through behavioral plasticity.

  3. Assessment of Brown Bear\\'s (Ursus arctos syriacus Winter Habitat Using Geographically Weighted Regression and Generalized Linear Model in South of Iran

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    A. A. Zarei

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Winter dens are one of the important components of brown bear's (Ursus arctos syriacus habitat, affecting their reproduction and survival. Therefore identification of factors affecting the habitat selection and suitable denning areas in the conservation of our largest carnivore is necessary. We used Geographically Weighted Logistic Regression (GWLR and Generalized Linear Model (GLM for modeling suitability of denning habitat in Kouhkhom region in Fars province. In the present research, 20 dens (presence locations and 20 caves where signs of bear were not found (absence locations were used as dependent variables and six environmental factors were used for each location as independent variables. The results of GLM showed that variables of distance to settlements, altitude, and distance to water were the most important parameters affecting suitability of the brown bear's denning habitat. The results of GWLR showed the significant local variations in the relationship between occurrence of brown bear dens and the variable of distance to settlements. Based on the results of both models, suitable habitats for denning of the species are impassable areas in the mountains and inaccessible for humans.

  4. Grizzly bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, C.C.; Miller, S.D.; Haroldson, M.A.; Feldhamer, G.; Thompson, B.; Chapman, J.

    2003-01-01

    The grizzly bear inspires fear, awe, and respect in humans to a degree unmatched by any other North American wild mammal. Like other bear species, it can inflict serious injury and death on humans and sometimes does. Unlike the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) of the sparsely inhabited northern arctic, however, grizzly bears still live in areas visited by crowds of people, where presence of the grizzly remains physically real and emotionally dominant. A hike in the wilderness that includes grizzly bears is different from a stroll in a forest from which grizzly bears have been purged; nighttime conversations around the campfire and dreams in the tent reflect the presence of the great bear. Contributing to the aura of the grizzly bear is the mixture of myth and reality about its ferocity. unpredictable disposition, large size, strength, huge canines, long claws, keen senses, swiftness, and playfulness. They share characteristics with humans such as generalist life history strategies. extended periods of maternal care, and omnivorous diets. These factors capture the human imagination in ways distinct from other North American mammals. Precontact Native American legends reflected the same fascination with the grizzly bear as modern stories and legends (Rockwell 1991).

  5. Activity patterns of brown bears (Ursus arctos on the Deosai Plateau, northern Pakistan

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    M. A. Nawaz

    2004-09-01

    Full Text Available Ondersoek is ingestel na die daaglikse aktiwiteite van Himalaja-bruinbere (Ursus arctos in die Deosai Nasionale Park, noordelike Pakistan, oor ’n tydperk van vier jaar (1993 – 1995 en 1999. Bere spandeer die grootste gedeelte van die dag aan voeding, gevolg deur beweging. Rus en ander aktiwiteite gekombineerd vorm ’n wesentlike gedeelte van die daaglikse program. Geen betekenisvolle verskil in die daaglikse tydsbegroting kon tussen manlike en vroulike individue aangetoon word nie, maar onvolwassenes beweeg beduidend meer rond as beide volwassenes of jong beertjies en eenjariges. Afwykende aktiwiteitspatrone wat gedurende die somer van 1999 opgemerk is, kan aan menslike versteuring wat deur die Kargil-oorlog tussen Indië en Pakistan teweeggebring is, toegeskryf word.

  6. [New data on the phylogeography and genetic diversity of the brown bear Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758 of northeastern Eurasia (mtDNA control region polymorphism analysis)].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salomashkina, V V; Kholodova, M V; Tiuten'kov, O Iu; Moskvitina, N S; Erokhin, N G

    2014-01-01

    An analysis of polymorphism of the fragment of the control region of mitochondrial DNA of 53 tissue samples of the brown bear Ursus arctos from several regions of the eastern part of Russia was carried out. It was found that most of the described haplotypes belong to cluster 3a, the most common in Eurasia, and do not form regionally specific haplogroups. However, among the bears from Western and Eastern Siberia, as well as the island of Kunashir, three haplotypes were identified, which are close to the haplogroup typical of Eastern Hokkaido bears. The assumption was made of the existence in Siberia and the Far East of one or more Pleistocene refugia.

  7. Wound healing during hibernation by black bears (Ursus americanus) in the wild: elicitation of reduced scar formation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iaizzo, Paul A; Laske, Timothy G; Harlow, Henry J; McClay, Carolyn B; Garshelis, David L

    2012-03-01

    Even mildly hypothermic body or limb temperatures can retard healing processes in mammals. Despite this, we observed that hibernating American black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) elicit profound abilities in mounting inflammatory responses to infection and/or foreign bodies. In addition, they resolve injuries during hibernation while maintaining mildly hypothermic states (30-35 °C) and without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating. We describe experimental studies on free-ranging bears that document their abilities to completely resolve cutaneous cuts and punctures incurred during or prior to hibernation. We induced small, full-thickness cutaneous wounds (biopsies or incisions) during early denning, and re-biopsied sites 2-3 months later (near the end of denning). Routine histological methods were used to characterize these skin samples. All biopsied sites with respect to secondary intention (open circular biopsies) and primary intention (sutured sites) healed, with evidence of initial eschar (scab) formation, completeness of healed epidermis and dermal layers, dyskeratosis (inclusion cysts), and abilities to produce hair follicles. These healing abilities of hibernating black bears are a clear survival advantage to animals injured before or during denning. Bears are known to have elevated levels of hibernation induction trigger (delta-opioid receptor agonist) and ursodeoxycholic acid (major bile acid within plasma, mostly conjugated with taurine) during hibernation, which may relate to these wound-healing abilities. Further research as to the underlying mechanisms of wound healing during hibernation could have applications in human medicine. Unique approaches may be found to improve healing for malnourished, hypothermic, diabetic and elderly patients or to reduce scarring associated with burns and traumatic injuries. © 2012 ISZS, Blackwell Publishing and IOZ/CAS.

  8. Sex, Diet, and the Social Environment: Factors Influencing Hair Cortisol Concentration in Free-Ranging Black Bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafferty, Diana J R; Laudenslager, Mark L; Mowat, Garth; Heard, Doug; Belant, Jerrold L

    2015-01-01

    Increasingly, measures of glucocorticoid levels (e.g., cortisol), key components of the neuroendocrine stress axis, are being used to measure past hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity to index psychological and physiological stress exhibited by wildlife for assessing individual and population-level well-being. However, many intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect HPA activity in animals. Using American black bears (Ursus americanus; n = 116) as an ecological model and hair cortisol concentration (HCC) as an integrative measure of past HPA activity, we evaluated the influence of diet, sex and the social environment on black bear HCC in a free-ranging population that spanned adjoining ecoregions with differing densities of potential conspecific and heterospecific competitors. HCC varied by sex, with female HCC ranging from 0.6 to 10.7 pg/mg (median = 4.5 ± 1.2 mean absolute deviation [MAD]) and male HCC ranging from 0.5 to 35.1 pg/mg (median = 6.2 ± 2.6 MAD). We also observed a three-way interaction among sex, δ14C and ecoregion, which may indicate that some differences in HCC between female and male black bears results from variability in the nutritional needs of larger-bodied males relative to smaller-bodied females, slight differences in food resources use between ecoregions as well as sex-based differences regarding the social environment. Once we understand what drives sex-specific differences in HCC, HCC may aid our understanding of the physiological responses by bears and other wildlife to diverse environmental challenges.

  9. Sex, Diet, and the Social Environment: Factors Influencing Hair Cortisol Concentration in Free-Ranging Black Bears (Ursus americanus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lafferty, Diana J. R.; Laudenslager, Mark L.; Mowat, Garth; Heard, Doug; Belant, Jerrold L.

    2015-01-01

    Increasingly, measures of glucocorticoid levels (e.g., cortisol), key components of the neuroendocrine stress axis, are being used to measure past hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity to index psychological and physiological stress exhibited by wildlife for assessing individual and population-level well-being. However, many intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect HPA activity in animals. Using American black bears (Ursus americanus; n = 116) as an ecological model and hair cortisol concentration (HCC) as an integrative measure of past HPA activity, we evaluated the influence of diet, sex and the social environment on black bear HCC in a free-ranging population that spanned adjoining ecoregions with differing densities of potential conspecific and heterospecific competitors. HCC varied by sex, with female HCC ranging from 0.6 to 10.7 pg/mg (median = 4.5 ± 1.2 mean absolute deviation [MAD]) and male HCC ranging from 0.5 to 35.1 pg/mg (median = 6.2 ± 2.6 MAD). We also observed a three-way interaction among sex, δ14C and ecoregion, which may indicate that some differences in HCC between female and male black bears results from variability in the nutritional needs of larger-bodied males relative to smaller-bodied females, slight differences in food resources use between ecoregions as well as sex-based differences regarding the social environment. Once we understand what drives sex-specific differences in HCC, HCC may aid our understanding of the physiological responses by bears and other wildlife to diverse environmental challenges. PMID:26529405

  10. Immunolocalization of steroidogenic enzymes in the corpus luteum and placenta of the Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus japonicus, during pregnancy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsubota, T; Taki, S; Nakayama, K; Mason, J I; Kominami, S; Harada, N; Kita, I

    2001-04-01

    The Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus japonicus, is a seasonal breeder and shows delayed implantation for several months during pregnancy. The objective of this study was to clarify the steroidogenic capability of the corpus luteum and placenta during pregnancy, including both delayed implantation and fetal development, by immunolocalization of steroidogenic enzymes in these organs of the Japanese black bear. Ovaries and placentae from 15 wild Japanese black bears, which had been killed legally by hunters and were thought to be pregnant, were used in an immunocytochemical study to localize the cholesterol side chain cleavage cytochrome P450 (P450scc), 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3betaHSD), 17alpha-hydroxylase cytochrome P450 (P450c17) and aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom) by the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method using polyclonal antisera raised in mammals against P450scc, 3betaHSD, P450c17 and P450arom. P450scc and 3betaHSD were localized in all luteal cells throughout pregnancy. P450c17 was present in a few luteal cells, especially in the outer area of the corpus luteum throughout pregnancy, but the number of positively immunostained cells decreased during the post-implantation period. Cells positively immunostained for P450c17 were significantly smaller than negatively immunostained cells (P black bear, corpora lutea are a source of progesterone which may play an important role in the maintenance of delayed implantation and fetal development during pregnancy. Corpora lutea have a minimum capability to synthesize androgen in small luteal cells and oestrogen in normal-sized luteal cells during pregnancy, and placentae have the ability to synthesize oestrogen during late pregnancy.

  11. Sex, Diet, and the Social Environment: Factors Influencing Hair Cortisol Concentration in Free-Ranging Black Bears (Ursus americanus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diana J R Lafferty

    Full Text Available Increasingly, measures of glucocorticoid levels (e.g., cortisol, key components of the neuroendocrine stress axis, are being used to measure past hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA activity to index psychological and physiological stress exhibited by wildlife for assessing individual and population-level well-being. However, many intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect HPA activity in animals. Using American black bears (Ursus americanus; n = 116 as an ecological model and hair cortisol concentration (HCC as an integrative measure of past HPA activity, we evaluated the influence of diet, sex and the social environment on black bear HCC in a free-ranging population that spanned adjoining ecoregions with differing densities of potential conspecific and heterospecific competitors. HCC varied by sex, with female HCC ranging from 0.6 to 10.7 pg/mg (median = 4.5 ± 1.2 mean absolute deviation [MAD] and male HCC ranging from 0.5 to 35.1 pg/mg (median = 6.2 ± 2.6 MAD. We also observed a three-way interaction among sex, δ14C and ecoregion, which may indicate that some differences in HCC between female and male black bears results from variability in the nutritional needs of larger-bodied males relative to smaller-bodied females, slight differences in food resources use between ecoregions as well as sex-based differences regarding the social environment. Once we understand what drives sex-specific differences in HCC, HCC may aid our understanding of the physiological responses by bears and other wildlife to diverse environmental challenges.

  12. Seasonal food habits of brown bear (Ursus arctos syriacus Linnaeus, 1758 in Cenral Alborz Protected Area

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    Bagher Nezami Balouchi

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Mountains of Central Alborz Protected Area hold a big population of brown bear, the largest varnivore species in Iran. Understanding food habits is crucial to understanding the ecology of the species. Diet influences many ecological and life-history traits, such as spatial distribution, social and foraging behavior, body mass and reproduction. Therefore, during Jun 2006 to May 2007 we had a comprehensive study on brown bear food habits, as the largest omnivorous of the country in Central Alborz Protected Area. Our investigation showed that plant materials composed the main proportion of food items of the brown bears in the spring until mid-summer. Insects, especially ants were predominantly eaten in the first half of summer. As approaching to hibernation period in late autumn, fruits played the main role of bear food items having high fat content. We never witnessed bear attack on wild herbivores. Furthermore, we never found remains of wild herbivores except a few livestock remains in brown bear scats during our survey period. Accordingly, we concluded that brown bears were almost herbivorous in the Central Alborz Protected Area. We never found any bear scats or fresh signs in three consecutive years, between first of December until mid of March. Also, no direct sighting of brown bear was reported to us by local people and game keepers within the mentioned period. Accordingly, it can be concluded that the brown bears hibernate for a period of 3-3.5 months in winter in the Central Alborz Protected Area.

  13. A complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Asian black bear Sichuan subspecies (Ursus thibetanus mupinensis)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Wan-ru; Chen, Yu; Wu, Xia; Hu, Jin-chu; Peng, Zheng-song; Yang, Jung; Tang, Zong-xiang; Zhou, Cai-Quan; Li, Yu-ming; Yang, Shi-kui; Du, Yu-jie; Kong, Ling-lu; Ren, Zheng-long; Zhang, Huai-yu; Shuai, Su-rong

    2007-01-01

    We obtained the complete mitochondrial genome of U.thibetanus mupinensis by DNA sequencing based on the PCR fragments of 18 primers we designed. The results indicate that the mtDNA is 16 868 bp in size, encodes 13 protein genes, 22 tRNA genes, and 2 rRNA genes, with an overall H-strand base composition of 31.2% A, 25.4% C, 15.5% G and 27.9% T. The sequence of the control region (CR) located between tRNA-Pro and tRNA-Phe is 1422 bp in size, consists of 8.43% of the whole genome, GC content is 51.9% and has a 6bp tandem repeat and two 10bp tandem repeats identified by using the Tandem Repeats Finder. U. thibetanus mupinensis mitochondrial genome shares high similarity with those of three other Ursidae: U. americanus (91.46%), U. arctos (89.25%) and U. maritimus (87.66%). PMID:17205108

  14. Allelic diversity of the MHC class II DRB genes in brown bears (Ursus arctos) and a comparison of DRB sequences within the family Ursidae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goda, N; Mano, T; Kosintsev, P; Vorobiev, A; Masuda, R

    2010-11-01

    The allelic diversity of the DRB locus in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes was analyzed in the brown bear (Ursus arctos) from the Hokkaido Island of Japan, Siberia, and Kodiak of Alaska. Nineteen alleles of the DRB exon 2 were identified from a total of 38 individuals of U. arctos and were highly polymorphic. Comparisons of non-synonymous and synonymous substitutions in the antigen-binding sites of deduced amino acid sequences indicated evidence for balancing selection on the bear DRB locus. The phylogenetic analysis of the DRB alleles among three genera (Ursus, Tremarctos, and Ailuropoda) in the family Ursidae revealed that DRB allelic lineages were not separated according to species. This strongly shows trans-species persistence of DRB alleles within the Ursidae. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

  15. Admixture and gene flow from Russia in the recovering Northern European brown bear (Ursus arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kopatz, Alexander; Eiken, Hans Geir; Aspi, Jouni; Kojola, Ilpo; Tobiassen, Camilla; Tirronen, Konstantin F; Danilov, Pjotr I; Hagen, Snorre B

    2014-01-01

    Large carnivores were persecuted to near extinction during the last centuries, but have now recovered in some countries. It has been proposed earlier that the recovery of the Northern European brown bear is supported by migration from Russia. We tested this hypothesis by obtaining for the first time continuous sampling of the whole Finnish bear population, which is located centrally between the Russian and Scandinavian bear populations. The Finnish population is assumed to experience high gene flow from Russian Karelia. If so, no or a low degree of genetic differentiation between Finnish and Russian bears could be expected. We have genotyped bears extensively from all over Finland using 12 validated microsatellite markers and compared their genetic composition to bears from Russian Karelia, Sweden, and Norway. Our fine masked investigation identified two overlapping genetic clusters structured by isolation-by-distance in Finland (pairwise FST = 0.025). One cluster included Russian bears, and migration analyses showed a high number of migrants from Russia into Finland, providing evidence of eastern gene flow as an important driver during recovery. In comparison, both clusters excluded bears from Sweden and Norway, and we found no migrants from Finland in either country, indicating that eastern gene flow was probably not important for the population recovery in Scandinavia. Our analyses on different spatial scales suggest a continuous bear population in Finland and Russian Karelia, separated from Scandinavia.

  16. Could brown bears (Ursus arctos) have survived in Ireland during the Last Glacial Maximum?

    OpenAIRE

    Leonard, Saoirse A.; Risley, Claire L.; Turvey, Samuel T.

    2013-01-01

    Brown bears are recorded from Ireland during both the Late Pleistocene and early?mid Holocene. Although most of the Irish landmass was covered by an ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), Irish brown bears are known to have hybridized with polar bears during the Late Pleistocene, and it is suggested that the Irish brown bear population did not become extinct but instead persisted in situ through the LGM in a southwestern ice-free refugium. We use historical population modelling to d...

  17. Could brown bears (Ursus arctos) have survived in Ireland during the Last Glacial Maximum?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leonard, Saoirse A; Risley, Claire L; Turvey, Samuel T

    2013-08-23

    Brown bears are recorded from Ireland during both the Late Pleistocene and early-mid Holocene. Although most of the Irish landmass was covered by an ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), Irish brown bears are known to have hybridized with polar bears during the Late Pleistocene, and it is suggested that the Irish brown bear population did not become extinct but instead persisted in situ through the LGM in a southwestern ice-free refugium. We use historical population modelling to demonstrate that brown bears are highly unlikely to have survived through the LGM in Ireland under any combination of life-history parameters shown by living bear populations, but instead would have rapidly become extinct following advance of the British-Irish ice sheet, and probably recolonized Ireland during the end-Pleistocene Woodgrange Interstadial from a closely related nearby source population. The time available for brown bear-polar bear hybridization was therefore restricted to narrow periods at the beginning or end of the LGM. Brown bears would have been extremely vulnerable to extinction in Quaternary habitat refugia and required areas substantially larger than southwestern Ireland to survive adverse glacial conditions.

  18. Estimating the success rate of ovulation and early litter loss rate in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) by examining the ovaries and uteri

    OpenAIRE

    Yamanaka, Atsushi; Yamauchi, Kiyoshi; Tsujimoto, Tsunenori; Mizoguchi, Toshio; Oi, Toru; Sawada, Seigo; Shimozuru, Michito; Tsubota, Toshio

    2011-01-01

    In order to develop a method for estimating the success/failure rates of reproductive processes, especially those of ovulation and neonate nurturing, in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus), we examined offspring status, corpora lutea (CLs), placental scars (PSs) and corpora albicantia (CAs) in 159 females (0-23 years old) killed as nuisances on Honshu Island of Japan during 2001-2009. PSs were found to remain in the uterus at least until November of the year of...

  19. Positive Reinforcement Training for Blood Collection in Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) Results in Undetectable Elevations in Serum Cortisol Levels: A Preliminary Investigation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joyce-Zuniga, Nicole M; Newberry, Ruth C; Robbins, Charles T; Ware, Jasmine V; Jansen, Heiko T; Nelson, O Lynne

    2016-01-01

    Training nonhuman animals in captivity for participation in routine husbandry procedures is believed to produce a lower stress environment compared with undergoing a general anesthetic event for the same procedure. This hypothesis rests largely on anecdotal evidence that the captive subjects appear more relaxed with the trained event. Blood markers of physiological stress responses were evaluated in 4 captive grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) who were clicker-trained for blood collection versus 4 bears who were chemically immobilized for blood collection. Serum cortisol and immunoglobulin A (IgA) and plasma β-endorphin were measured as indicators of responses to stress. Plasma β-endorphin was not different between the groups. Serum IgA was undetectable in all bears. Serum cortisol was undetectable in all trained bears, whereas chemically immobilized bears had marked cortisol elevations (p bears with extensive recent immobilization experience. These findings support the use of positive reinforcement training for routine health procedures to minimize anxiety.

  20. Pronounced expression of the lipolytic inhibitor G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 (G0S2) in adipose tissue from brown bears (Ursus arctos) prior to hibernation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jessen, Niels; Nielsen, Thomas S; Vendelbo, Mikkel H

    2016-01-01

    Prior to hibernation, the brown bear (Ursus arctos) exhibits unparalleled weight gain. Unlike humans, weight gain in bears is associated with lower levels of circulating free fatty acids (FFA) and increased insulin sensitivity. Understanding how free-ranging brown bears suppress lipolysis when...... gaining weight may therefore provide novel insight toward the development of human therapies. Blood and subcutaneous adipose tissue were collected from immobilized free-ranging brown bears (fitted with GPS-collars) during hibernation in winter and from the same bears during the active period in summer...... in Dalarna, Sweden. The expression of lipid droplet-associated proteins in adipose tissue was examined under the hypothesis that bears suppress lipolysis during summer while gaining weight by increased expression of negative regulators of lipolysis. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) expression did...

  1. The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sommer, Felix; Ståhlman, Marcus; Ilkayeva, Olga; Arnemo, Jon M; Kindberg, Jonas; Josefsson, Johan; Newgard, Christopher B; Fröbert, Ole; Bäckhed, Fredrik

    2016-02-23

    Hibernation is an adaptation that helps many animals to conserve energy during food shortage in winter. Brown bears double their fat depots during summer and use these stored lipids during hibernation. Although bears seasonally become obese, they remain metabolically healthy. We analyzed the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes. Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and bile acids, were also affected by hibernation. Transplantation of the bear microbiota from summer and winter to germ-free mice transferred some of the seasonal metabolic features and demonstrated that the summer microbiota promoted adiposity without impairing glucose tolerance, suggesting that seasonal variation in the microbiota may contribute to host energy metabolism in the hibernating brown bear. Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Spatial analysis of factors influencing long-term stress in the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos population of Alberta, Canada.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mathieu L Bourbonnais

    Full Text Available Non-invasive measures for assessing long-term stress in free ranging mammals are an increasingly important approach for understanding physiological responses to landscape conditions. Using a spatially and temporally expansive dataset of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC generated from a threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos population in Alberta, Canada, we quantified how variables representing habitat conditions and anthropogenic disturbance impact long-term stress in grizzly bears. We characterized spatial variability in male and female HCC point data using kernel density estimation and quantified variable influence on spatial patterns of male and female HCC stress surfaces using random forests. Separate models were developed for regions inside and outside of parks and protected areas to account for substantial differences in anthropogenic activity and disturbance within the study area. Variance explained in the random forest models ranged from 55.34% to 74.96% for males and 58.15% to 68.46% for females. Predicted HCC levels were higher for females compared to males. Generally, high spatially continuous female HCC levels were associated with parks and protected areas while low-to-moderate levels were associated with increased anthropogenic disturbance. In contrast, male HCC levels were low in parks and protected areas and low-to-moderate in areas with increased anthropogenic disturbance. Spatial variability in gender-specific HCC levels reveal that the type and intensity of external stressors are not uniform across the landscape and that male and female grizzly bears may be exposed to, or perceive, potential stressors differently. We suggest observed spatial patterns of long-term stress may be the result of the availability and distribution of foods related to disturbance features, potential sexual segregation in available habitat selection, and may not be influenced by sources of mortality which represent acute traumas. In this wildlife

  3. Spatial analysis of factors influencing long-term stress in the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population of Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourbonnais, Mathieu L; Nelson, Trisalyn A; Cattet, Marc R L; Darimont, Chris T; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2013-01-01

    Non-invasive measures for assessing long-term stress in free ranging mammals are an increasingly important approach for understanding physiological responses to landscape conditions. Using a spatially and temporally expansive dataset of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) generated from a threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population in Alberta, Canada, we quantified how variables representing habitat conditions and anthropogenic disturbance impact long-term stress in grizzly bears. We characterized spatial variability in male and female HCC point data using kernel density estimation and quantified variable influence on spatial patterns of male and female HCC stress surfaces using random forests. Separate models were developed for regions inside and outside of parks and protected areas to account for substantial differences in anthropogenic activity and disturbance within the study area. Variance explained in the random forest models ranged from 55.34% to 74.96% for males and 58.15% to 68.46% for females. Predicted HCC levels were higher for females compared to males. Generally, high spatially continuous female HCC levels were associated with parks and protected areas while low-to-moderate levels were associated with increased anthropogenic disturbance. In contrast, male HCC levels were low in parks and protected areas and low-to-moderate in areas with increased anthropogenic disturbance. Spatial variability in gender-specific HCC levels reveal that the type and intensity of external stressors are not uniform across the landscape and that male and female grizzly bears may be exposed to, or perceive, potential stressors differently. We suggest observed spatial patterns of long-term stress may be the result of the availability and distribution of foods related to disturbance features, potential sexual segregation in available habitat selection, and may not be influenced by sources of mortality which represent acute traumas. In this wildlife system and others

  4. Serial transrectal ultrasonography for monitoring the reproductive activity of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kang, H G; Jeong, D H; Yang, J J; Lee, B K; Kong, J K; Lee, J W; Kim, I H

    2015-02-01

    This study evaluated the structural changes in the reproductive tract of Asiatic black bears using serial transrectal ultrasonography. In addition, the ultrasonographic observations were compared with the results of vaginal cytology and hormonal analyses. The collection of blood for hormonal analysis, vaginal cytology and transrectal ultrasonography was performed in two bears (Bears 1 and 2) from June 2011 to August 2013 without mating and in a third bear (Bear 3) from April to December 2012, allowing natural mating. Serial ultrasonographic observations showed cyclic changes in ovarian structures (e.g. emergence of small follicles, growth and ovulation of dominant follicles and corpus luteum (CL) formation) during the reproductive cycles of the three bears. The diameter of the uterine horns remained similar throughout the reproductive cycle in Bears 1 and 2, and it remained similar from April until October, but an enlargement containing foetuses was observed in Bear 3 in December. The ultrasonographic observations were consistent with the data obtained through vaginal cytology and progesterone analysis during the reproductive cycle. An average of 4.0 (±0.4) dominant follicles was observed during the oestrous stage (May-August), during which the superficial cells accounted for >90% of the total vaginal cells. In addition, the detection of an average of 2.6 (±0.2) CL was associated with increased plasma progesterone concentrations (3.0 ± 0.4 ng/ml) between June and December (near hibernation). In conclusion, serial transrectal ultrasonography demonstrated yearly oestrous (ovulation) cycles via follicular dynamics and CL formation on ovaries, accordingly with vaginal cytology and hormonal level in the Asiatic black bear. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  5. Prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infections in Pennsylvania black bears, Ursus americanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Briscoe, N; Humphreys, J G; Dubey, J P

    1993-10-01

    Serum samples from 665 hunter-killed black bears killed in 1989 to 1992 throughout Pennsylvania (USA) were tested for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies by the agglutination test in dilutions of 1:25, 1:50, and 1:500. Toxoplasma gondii antibodies were found in 535 of 665 (80%) bears. Considering the highest dilutions at which antibodies were detected, prevalences were 10% at 1:25, 37% at 1:50 and 33% at 1:500. No significant difference in antibody prevalence was found between males (79%) and females (80%), but a significant difference was found between juvenile (65%) and adult (83%) bears.

  6. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spiralis in North Carolina black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nutter, F B; Levine, J F; Stoskopf, M K; Gamble, H R; Dubey, J P

    1998-10-01

    Serum samples from 143 hunter-killed black bears were collected during the 1996 and 1997 black bear hunting seasons in eastern North Carolina. All samples were tested for antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii by the modified agglutination test. Antibodies to T. gondii were present in 120 of 143 (84%) bears. Females had significantly higher titers than males (Wilcoxon rank sums test, P = 0.045), and titers increased with age (Jonckheere test, P = 0.01). Samples collected during 1996 (n = 79) were tested for antibodies to Trichinella spiralis by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. No samples were positive for antibodies to T. spiralis.

  7. Hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) experience skeletal muscle protein balance during winter anorexia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lohuis, T D; Harlow, H J; Beck, T D I

    2007-05-01

    Black bears spend four to seven months every winter confined to their den and anorexic. Despite potential for skeletal muscle atrophy and protein loss, bears appear to retain muscle integrity throughout winter dormancy. Other authors have suggested that bears are capable of net protein anabolism during this time. The present study was performed to test this hypothesis by directly measuring skeletal muscle protein metabolism during the summer, as well as early and late hibernation periods. Muscle biopsies were taken from the vastus lateralis of six free-ranging bears in the summer, and from six others early in hibernation and again in late winter. Protein synthesis and breakdown were measured on biopsies using (14)C-phenylalanine as a tracer. Muscle protein, nitrogen, and nucleic acid content, as well as nitrogen stable isotope enrichment, were also measured. Protein synthesis was greater than breakdown in summer bears, suggesting that they accumulate muscle protein during periods of seasonal food availability. Protein synthesis and breakdown were both lower in winter compared to summer but were equal during both early and late denning, indicating that bears are in protein balance during hibernation. Protein and nitrogen content, nucleic acid, and stable isotope enrichment measurements of the biopsies support this conclusion.

  8. Quantitative Characteristics of Brown Bear (Ursus arctos L. Feeding on Umbelliferae Plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S.S. Ogurtsov

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The natural feeding preferences of brown bear for Umbelliferae plants have been considered. The general quantitative characteristics of feeding on forbs have been revealed for bears inhabiting the Central Forest State Nature Biosphere Reserve (Tver region. Umbelliferae plants dominate in the diet of brown bears during late spring and early summer. Angelica sylvestris, Chaerophyllum aromaticum, Aegopodium podagraria, and Heracleum sibiricum are most frequently consumed by bears in the nature reserve. Feeding on A. sylvestris is directly associated with the overall abundance of this plant species and varies depending on its phenological stages. The preference is given to widely distributed age-size forb groups with the thickest stems. The maximum share of consumed plants has been observed in small forest herblands and overgrown fields adjacent to the forest cover. In all the biotopes, bears are attracted to herb sites with the highest abundance of consumed plants. Ch. aromaticum and H. sibiricum are distributed more locally and, therefore, less common in the diet of bears.

  9. Interthalamic hematoma secondary to cerebrovascular atherosclerosis in an aged grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) with primary cardiac schwannoma.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Andrew David; McDonough, Sean

    2008-12-01

    A 38-year-old intact female Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) was evaluated for progressive seizure activity, pale mucous membranes, deficient pupillary light and menace responses, and irregular shallow respiration. Because of poor response to treatment, the animal was euthanized. Gross examination revealed abundant hemorrhage in both lateral ventricles; a large, encapsulated mass within the rostral interthalamic region; and a well-demarcated, round white mass in the apex of the right ventricle. Histologic examination of the interthalamic mass revealed a resolving hematoma composed of stratified layers of fibrin and white blood cells that was surrounded by a thick fibrous capsule. Most meningeal and intraparenchymal blood vessels had multifocal degeneration, fragmentation, and fraying of the internal elastic lamina with prominent intimal proliferations and plaques. The plaques were formed by small numbers of lipid-laden macrophages (foam cells) that were intermixed with occasional lymphocytes and plasma cells. The cardiac mass was composed of pallisading and interlacing spindle cells with parallel nuclei and abundant, pale eosinophilic cytoplasm consistent with a schwannoma.

  10. Blood Chemistry Reference Values for Free-Ranging Asiatic Black Bears ( Ursus thibetanus) by Season, Age, and Sex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Jeong-Jin; Jeong, Dong-Hyuk; Lim, Yoon-Kyu

    2018-04-19

    Physiological characteristics, such as blood chemistry values, are valuable for evaluating the health of the animals. To our knowledge, these values have never been reported for the free-ranging Asiatic black bear ( Ursus thibetanus; ABB). Thus, 28 blood chemistry values from 50 free-ranging ABBs captured in Jirisan National Park, Republic of Korea, from 2005 to 2016 were evaluated. The aim of this study was to establish blood chemistry reference values for the free-ranging ABBs during both the hibernating and nonhibernating seasons. During hibernation, mean values of creatinine (CRE), total cholesterol, total protein (TP), albumin (ALB), triglycerides, and Mg were significantly higher than those during nonhibernation; however, mean values of blood urea nitrogen, urea nitrogen to creatinine (U/C) ratio, inorganic phosphorous (IP), aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) were significantly lower. Age differences (young vs. adult) were found in IP, LDH, TP, and ALB values during hibernation and in the U/C ratio, Ca, IP, ALP, creatine kinase myocardial band, CRE, total bilirubin, and uric acid values during nonhibernation. However, there were no sex differences (male vs. female).

  11. Detection of Dirofilaria immitis in a brown bear (Ursus arctos in Greece

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Papadopoulos E.

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Dirofilaria immitis (canine heartworm is a filarial nematode found in the pulmonary circulation and the heart of susceptible hosts. It represents an important zoonotic vector-borne disease of domestic dogs and several wildlife species. Herein we report for the first time, the finding of Dirofilaria immitis worms in a brown bear killed in a vehicle collision in Northern Greece. The worms were morphologically identified; molecular examination, based on the analysis of the mitochondrial genes 12S (433 bp and CO1 (610 bp, verified the identification by demonstrating 100% similarity to D. immitis specimens deposited in GenBank. Brown bears in Greece occupy habitats that are shared with the potential wild and domestic hosts and the vectors of D. immitis and thus may be particularly susceptible to this parasite. This report contributes to the knowledge of dirofilariosis spread in Europe and on the epidemiological threats that may affect the survival of the endangered brown bear in Greece.

  12. Social and nonsocial category discriminations in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vonk, Jennifer; Johnson-Ulrich, Zoe

    2014-09-01

    One captive adult chimpanzee and 3 adult American black bears were presented with a series of natural category discrimination tasks on a touch-screen computer. This is the first explicit comparison of bear and primate abilities using identical tasks, and the first test of a social concept in a carnivore. The discriminations involved a social relationship category (mother/offspring) and a nonsocial category involving food items. The social category discrimination could be made using knowledge of the overarching mother/offspring concept, whereas the nonsocial category discriminations could be made only by using perceptual rules, such as "choose images that show larger and smaller items of the same type." The bears failed to show above-chance transfer on either the social or nonsocial discriminations, indicating that they did not use either the perceptual rule or knowledge of the overarching concept of mother/offspring to guide their choices in these tasks. However, at least 1 bear remembered previously reinforced stimuli when these stimuli were recombined, later. The chimpanzee showed transfer on a control task and did not consistently apply a perceptual rule to solve the nonsocial task, so it is possible that he eventually acquired the social concept. Further comparisons between species on identical tasks assessing social knowledge will help illuminate the selective pressures responsible for a range of social cognitive skills.

  13. The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sommer, Felix; Ståhlman, Marcus; Ilkayeva, Olga

    2016-01-01

    the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes. Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including...

  14. Haematological and biochemical reference intervals for free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Græsli, Anne Randi; Fahlman, Åsa; Evans, Alina L.

    2014-01-01

    BackgroundEstablishment of haematological and biochemical reference intervals is important to assess health of animals on individual and population level. Reference intervals for 13 haematological and 34 biochemical variables were established based on 88 apparently healthy free-ranging brown bears...... and marking for ecological studies. For each of the variables, the reference interval was described based on the 95% confidence interval, and differences due to host characteristics sex and age were included if detected. To our knowledge, this is the first report of reference intervals for free-ranging brown...... and the differences due to host factors age and gender can be useful for evaluation of health status in free-ranging European brown bears....

  15. Late quaternary brown bear (Ursidae: Ursus cf. arctos) from a cave in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicholas J. Czaplewski; Steve Willsey

    2013-01-01

    In 2008, Steve Willsey discovered the fragmentary cranium of a bear loose on the floor of a cave at about 2270 m elevation near the crest of the Huachuca Mountains. In 2009, we revisited the cave to examine the specimen with the intention of identifying the species. We photographed and measured the main pieces and left them in the cave. The skull is from an adult,...

  16. Sperm ultrastructure, morphometry, and abnormal morphology in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brito, L F C; Sertich, P L; Stull, G B; Rives, W; Knobbe, M

    2010-11-01

    The objective of this study was to describe sperm ultrastructure, morphometry, and abnormal morphology in American black bears. Electroejaculation was successful in 53.8% (7/13) of the attempts, but urine contamination was common. Epididymal sperm samples were also obtained from five bears. Sperm had a paddle-like head shape and the ultrastructure was similar to that of most other mammals. The most striking particularity of black bear sperm ultrastructure was a tightening of the nucleus in the equatorial region. Although the differences were not significant in all bears, the overall decrease in sperm nucleus dimensions during transport from the caput epididymis to the cauda suggested increasing compaction of the nucleus during maturation. For ejaculated sperm, nucleus length, width, and base width were 4.9, 3.7, and 1.8 μm, respectively, whereas sperm head length, width, and base width were 6.6, 4.8, and 2.3 μm, and midpiece, tail (including midpiece), and total sperm lengths were 9.8, 68.8, and 75.3 μm. Evaluation of sperm cytoplasmic droplets in the epididymis revealed that proximal droplets start migrating toward a distal position in the caput epididymis and that the process was mostly completed by the time sperm reached the cauda epididymis. The proportion of morphologically normal sperm in the ejaculate was 35.6%; the most prevalent sperm defects were distal cytoplasmic droplets and bent/coiled tails. The morphology of abnormal sperm and the underlying ultrastructural defects were similar to that in other large domestic animals thus suggesting similar underlying pathogenesis of specific sperm defects and similar effects on fertility. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Haematological and biochemical reference intervals for free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

    Background Establishment of haematological and biochemical reference intervals is important to assess health of animals on individual and population level. Reference intervals for 13 haematological and 34 biochemical variables were established based on 88 apparently healthy free-ranging brown bears (39 males and 49 females) in Sweden. The animals were chemically immobilised by darting from a helicopter with a combination of medetomidine, tiletamine and zolazepam in April and May 2006–2012 in the county of Dalarna, Sweden. Venous blood samples were collected during anaesthesia for radio collaring and marking for ecological studies. For each of the variables, the reference interval was described based on the 95% confidence interval, and differences due to host characteristics sex and age were included if detected. To our knowledge, this is the first report of reference intervals for free-ranging brown bears in Sweden. Results The following variables were not affected by host characteristics: red blood cell, white blood cell, monocyte and platelet count, alanine transaminase, amylase, bilirubin, free fatty acids, glucose, calcium, chloride, potassium, and cortisol. Age differences were seen for the majority of the haematological variables, whereas sex influenced only mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, aspartate aminotransferase, lipase, lactate dehydrogenase, β-globulin, bile acids, triglycerides and sodium. Conclusions The biochemical and haematological reference intervals provided and the differences due to host factors age and gender can be useful for evaluation of health status in free-ranging European brown bears. PMID:25139149

  18. Reversible immobilization of asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) with detomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam and atipamezole.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laricchiuta, Pietro; Gelli, Donatella; Campolo, Marco; Marinelli, Maria Pia; Lai, Olimpia R

    2008-12-01

    Chemical immobilization of free-ranging and captive wildlife is often required in many clinical situations. In this trial, tiletamine-zolazepam was combined with the alpha2-agonist, detomidine, in order to use the least amount of anesthetic drug possible to achieve a rapid immobilization; to ensure safety for animals and operators; and to be easily reversible with specific antagonists for a fast recovery. Twelve captive Asiatic black bears were anesthetized for clinical procedures, including clinical examination and blood sample collection, and for electrocardiographic and echocardiographic procedures. The combination detomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam, at the dosages of 0.03 mg/kg for detomidine and 1.5 mg/kg for tiletamine-zolazepam, proved to be reliable and effective in immobilizing Asiatic black bears for a 1-hr handling period for routine clinical procedures. Minimal or no respiratory and/or cardiopulmonary adverse side effects were observed, even with dosages calculated on the basis of an estimated body weight. The respiratory rate, pulse rate, and hemoglobin-oxygen saturation remained stable for the entire duration of anesthesia. Cardiac rhythm was always sinusal in all animals. Small injection volumes and darts for blowpipe use were utilized to minimize tissue damage at the site of injection. Induction and recovery were smooth and predictable, and provided for the safety of operators who could observe the bears' activities from a safe distance. Furthermore, the availability of the alpha2-antagonist atipamezole to counteract the effects of detomidine made this anesthetic regimen easily controllable and reversible. Moreover, the recovery time can be shortened by intravenous administration of this antagonist drug.

  19. Phylogeographic Analyses of American Black Bears (Ursus americanus) Suggest Four Glacial Refugia and Complex Patterns of Postglacial Admixture.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puckett, Emily E; Etter, Paul D; Johnson, Eric A; Eggert, Lori S

    2015-09-01

    Studies of species with continental distributions continue to identify intraspecific lineages despite continuous habitat. Lineages may form due to isolation by distance, adaptation, divergence across barriers, or genetic drift following range expansion. We investigated lineage diversification and admixture within American black bears (Ursus americanus) across their range using 22 k single nucleotide polymorphisms and mitochondrial DNA sequences. We identified three subcontinental nuclear clusters which we further divided into nine geographic regions: Alaskan (Alaska-East), eastern (Central Interior Highlands, Great Lakes, Northeast, Southeast), and western (Alaska-West, West, Pacific Coast, Southwest). We estimated that the western cluster diverged 67 ka, before eastern and Alaskan divergence 31 ka; these divergence dates contrasted with those from the mitochondrial genome where clades A and B diverged 1.07 Ma, and clades A-east and A-west diverged 169 ka. We combined estimates of divergence timing with hindcast species distribution models to infer glacial refugia for the species in Beringia, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast. Our results show a complex arrangement of admixture due to expansion out of multiple refugia. The delineation of the genomic population clusters was inconsistent with the ranges for 16 previously described subspecies. Ranges for U. a. pugnax and U. a. cinnamomum were concordant with admixed clusters, calling into question how to order taxa below the species level. Additionally, our finding that U. a. floridanus has not diverged from U. a. americanus also suggests that morphology and genetics should be reanalyzed to assess taxonomic designations relevant to the conservation management of the species. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved.For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  20. On the palaeobiology of the extinct cave bear Ursus spelaeus ROSENMÜLLER. Insights from stable isotope analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grandal-D'Anglade, Aurora; Pérez-Rama, Marta; Fernández-Mosquera, Daniel

    2010-05-01

    Isotopic signatures (δ13C, δ15N) of bone collagen are used more and more to obtain the paleobiological data of fossil species. By means of these signatures, for example, the diet type of an extint species may be inferred. Also, the climate in which this species developed may greatly influence on the isotopic signature of its bone collagen. This influence is firstly produced in the initial material of the trophic chain but also may produce variations due to physiological changes caused by climatic changes in the species involved in this trophic chain. The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus ROSENMÜLLER) is a species of broad distribution in the European Pleistocene sites that has been studied from the isotopic point of view, trying to establish its diet type. For the moment, the results vary: though in most cases the isotopic values indicate a preferably herbivore diet type, differences exist between sites of different geographic zones and chronologies. Taking into account that climate influences on the cave bear's physiology through the physiological mechanism of hibernation, it is expected that in bears that lived in different climatic phases, the isotopic signatures will be also different. During hibernation a recycling of nitrogenised compounds is produced for protein synthesis, including bone collagen, so it is expected that the isotopic signature, at least of Nitrogen, will be altered with respect to the synthesized collagen when the bear is active and feeds normally. However, it is difficult to establish up to what extent the isotopic signatures due to hibernation or diet are overlapped. To study the physiological effect of hibernation on isotopic signatures we have selected bone remains of cave bears from populations whose chronologies correspond to different climatic moments, and in different ontogenetic stages, coming from Galician caves (NW of the Iberian Peninsula). Adult individuals show different isotopic signatures depending on their chronology. Juvenile

  1. Trichinella and polar bears: a limited risk for humans.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dupouy-Camet, J; Bourée, P; Yera, H

    2017-07-01

    In this review, we identified 63 cases reported since World War II of human trichinellosis linked to the consumption of parasitized polar bear (Ursus maritimus) meat. This low number contrasts to the numerous cases of human trichinellosis related to consumption of the meat of black (U. americanus) or brown bears (U. arctos). The prevalence of Trichinella infection is high in bears, but larval muscular burden is usually lower in polar bears compared to other bear species. Polar bears, therefore, seem to play a limited role in the transmission of trichinellosis to humans, as native residents living in the Arctic traditionally consume well-cooked bear meat, and travellers and foreign hunters have only limited access to this protected species due to the declining polar bear population.

  2. NEW LOCALITY OF CAVE BEAR (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller & Heinroth, 1794 IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: MORPHO- ANATOMICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CRANIAL SKELETON FOUND IN CAVE AT VRELO MOKRANJSKA MILJACKA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lada Lukić-Bilela

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available During the investigation of the Cave at Vrelo Mokranjska Miljacka, the bone remains of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller & Heinroth, 1794 was found. This is the new Pleistocene fauna locality of this extinct species in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Almost complete cranial skeleton belongs to a young adult male. Analyzed morphometric proportions completely fit within the variation range of the Pleistocene cave bear populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.Key words: Ursus spelaeus, skull, teeth, Cave of Vrelo Mokranjska Miljacka

  3. Pronounced expression of the lipolytic inhibitor G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 (G0S2) in adipose tissue from brown bears (Ursus arctos) prior to hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jessen, Niels; Nielsen, Thomas S; Vendelbo, Mikkel H; Viggers, Rikke; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Evans, Alina; Frøbert, Ole

    2016-04-01

    Prior to hibernation, the brown bear (Ursus arctos) exhibits unparalleled weight gain. Unlike humans, weight gain in bears is associated with lower levels of circulating free fatty acids (FFA) and increased insulin sensitivity. Understanding how free-ranging brown bears suppress lipolysis when gaining weight may therefore provide novel insight toward the development of human therapies. Blood and subcutaneous adipose tissue were collected from immobilized free-ranging brown bears (fitted with GPS-collars) during hibernation in winter and from the same bears during the active period in summer in Dalarna, Sweden. The expression of lipid droplet-associated proteins in adipose tissue was examined under the hypothesis that bears suppress lipolysis during summer while gaining weight by increased expression of negative regulators of lipolysis. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) expression did not differ between seasons, but in contrast, the expression of ATGL coactivator Comparative gene identification-58 (CGI-58) was lower in summer. In addition, the expression of the negative regulators of lipolysis, G0S2 and cell-death inducing DNA fragmentation factor-a-like effector (CIDE)C markedly increased during summer. Free-ranging brown bears display potent upregulation of inhibitors of lipolysis in adipose tissue during summer. This is a potential mechanism for increased insulin sensitivity during weight gain and G0S2 may serve as a target to modulate insulin sensitivity. © 2016 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American Physiological Society and The Physiological Society.

  4. Genomic Evidence of Widespread Admixture from Polar Bears into Brown Bears during the Last Ice Age.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cahill, James A; Heintzman, Peter D; Harris, Kelley; Teasdale, Matthew D; Kapp, Joshua; Soares, Andre E R; Stirling, Ian; Bradley, Daniel; Edwards, Ceiridwen J; Graim, Kiley; Kisleika, Aliaksandr A; Malev, Alexander V; Monaghan, Nigel; Green, Richard E; Shapiro, Beth

    2018-05-01

    Recent genomic analyses have provided substantial evidence for past periods of gene flow from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) into Alaskan brown bears (Ursus arctos), with some analyses suggesting a link between climate change and genomic introgression. However, because it has mainly been possible to sample bears from the present day, the timing, frequency, and evolutionary significance of this admixture remains unknown. Here, we analyze genomic DNA from three additional and geographically distinct brown bear populations, including two that lived temporally close to the peak of the last ice age. We find evidence of admixture in all three populations, suggesting that admixture between these species has been common in their recent evolutionary history. In addition, analyses of ten fossil bears from the now-extinct Irish population indicate that admixture peaked during the last ice age, whereas brown bear and polar bear ranges overlapped. Following this peak, the proportion of polar bear ancestry in Irish brown bears declined rapidly until their extinction. Our results support a model in which ice age climate change created geographically widespread conditions conducive to admixture between polar bears and brown bears, as is again occurring today. We postulate that this model will be informative for many admixing species pairs impacted by climate change. Our results highlight the power of paleogenomics to reveal patterns of evolutionary change that are otherwise masked in contemporary data.

  5. The endocrine disruption properties of an adipose contaminant mixture extracted from East Greenland polar bears studied in the H295R cell line

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hjorth, R.; Letcher, R. J.; Blair, D.

    been well described and especially the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is recognized as being one of the most contaminated species in the Arctic. The present study investigated the in vitro endocrine disruptive effects of the POP mixture found in adipose tissue from 10 East Greenland polar bears collected...... (dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione). These results demonstrated comprehensive in vitro effects of POPs extracted from polar bear adipose tissue on key elements in the steroidogenesis, and identifies disruption of CYP17 activity as a mode of action. A POP-induced interference with CYP17 can potentially explain...... previously observed hormone levels in polar bears and could pose a risk to their reproductive health....

  6. A Double-Blinded, Randomized Comparison of Medetomidine-Tiletamine-Zolazepam and Dexmedetomidine-Tiletamine-Zolazepam Anesthesia in Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus Arctos).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fandos Esteruelas, Núria; Cattet, Marc; Zedrosser, Andreas; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Küker, Susanne; Evans, Alina L; Arnemo, Jon M

    2017-01-01

    We compared anesthetic features, blood parameters, and physiological responses to either medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam or dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam using a double-blinded, randomized experimental design during 40 anesthetic events of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) either captured by helicopter in Sweden or by culvert trap in Canada. Induction was smooth and predictable with both anesthetic protocols. Induction time, the need for supplemental drugs to sustain anesthesia, and capture-related stress were analyzed using generalized linear models, but anesthetic protocol did not differentially affect these variables. Arterial blood gases and acid-base status, and physiological responses were examined using linear mixed models. We documented acidemia (pH of arterial blood bears could not be attributed to the anesthetic protocol. Heart rate increased with increasing rectal temperature (p bears captured by helicopter in Sweden than in bears captured by culvert trap in Canada (p bears. Both drug combinations appeared to be safe and reliable for the anesthesia of free-ranging brown bears captured by helicopter or by culvert trap.

  7. Change in body weight of mothers and neonates and in milk composition during denning period in captive Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iibuchi, Ruriko; Nakano, Noriko; Nakamura, Tadashi; Urashima, Tadasu; Shimozuru, Michito; Murase, Tetsuma; Tsubota, Toshio

    2009-05-01

    Japanese black bears, Ursus thibetanus japonicus, have been classified as a vulnerable species so that data on reproduction are needed to maintain and/or extend their population. They are known to have a peculiar style of reproduction, giving birth to their neonates and raising them during denning, a period of complete fasting. In this study, we investigated the metabolic rate and milk composition of mother bears raising neonates, and the changes in body weight of the neonates under captive conditions. Seven female bears kept in dens were weighed once a month, and the amount of energy they used was calculated. From birth, cubs were also weighed and their growth rate was determined. In addition, the milk composition was analyzed to investigate its characteristics. As a result, it was found that mother bears used 34% more energy than did solitary females. There was no significant difference in the energy used for nursing whether they had single or twin cubs. On the other hand, the body weight gain of single cubs was significantly higher than that of twin cubs, suggesting that the growth of the cubs was highly affected by the suppression of mother's energy consumption during the fasting period. The milk had high fat and low sugar concentrations. This indicates that mother bears used the fat accumulated prior to denning for their main energy source when raising cubs. Considering all results together, Japanese black bears showed remarkable efficiency in the use of energy for reproduction during the fasting period.

  8. The first finding of Asian black bear (Carnivora, Ursidae, Ursus (Euarctos) thibetanus G. Cuvier, 1823) in the Late Pleistocene of northern Eurasia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kosintsev, P A; Tiunov, M P; Gimranov, D O; Panov, V S

    2016-11-01

    An M1 tooth of Asian black bear (Ursus (Euarctos) thibetanus G. Cuvier, 1823) was found in deposits of the Tetyukhinskaya cave (Middle Sikhote-Alin, 44°35'N, 135°36'E). This finding is the first reliable evidence of Asian black bear's presence in Pleistocene of Primorye. Its morphological and morphometric descriptions are given. The period of inhabitation of U. (E.) thibetanus determined based on the radiocarbon date obtained during the study of the tooth, is 39 874 ± 133 BP (NSK-850, UGAMS-21786), which corresponds to the middle of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) of Late Pleistocene. The composition of ancient theriofauna indicates the existence of wide variety of landscapes in Primorye in the middle of Late Pleistocene. A refugium of forest fauna, in which species of taiga, nemoral, and Central Asian mountain-forest theriocomplexes were present, was located in southern Primorye in Late Pleistocene.

  9. Analyses of fecal and hair glucocorticoids to evaluate short- and long-term stress and recovery of Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) removed from bile farms in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malcolm, K D; McShea, W J; Van Deelen, T R; Bacon, H J; Liu, F; Putman, S; Zhu, X; Brown, J L

    2013-05-01

    Demand for traditional Chinese medicines has given rise to the practice of maintaining Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) in captivity to harvest bile. We evaluated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity in Asiatic black bears on a bile farm in China by measuring cortisol in hair. We also monitored hair and fecal glucocorticoid metabolites as bears acclimated to improved husbandry at the Animals Asia Foundation China Bear Rescue Center (CBRC) after removal from other bile farms. Fecal samples were collected twice weekly for ~1 year, and hair was obtained from bears upon arrival at the CBRC and again ≥163 days later. Paired hair samples showed declines in cortisol concentrations of 12-88% in 38 of 45 (84%, pbears after arrival and acclimation at the rehabilitation facility. Concentrations of cortisol in hair from bears on the bile farm were similar to initial concentrations upon arrival at the CBRC but were higher than those collected after bears had been at the CBRC for ≥163 days. Fecal glucocorticoid concentrations varied across months and were highest in April and declined through December, possibly reflecting seasonal patterns, responses to the arrival and socialization of new bears at the CBRC, and/or annual metabolic change. Data from segmental analysis of hair supports the first of these explanations. Our findings indicate that bears produced elevated concentrations of glucocorticoids on bile farms, and that activity of the HPA axis declined following relocation. Thus, hair cortisol analyses are particularly well suited to long-term, retrospective assessments of glucocorticoids in ursids. By contrast, fecal measures were not clearly associated with rehabilitation, but rather reflected more subtle endocrine changes, possibly related to seasonality. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Changes in blood glucose and insulin responses to intravenous glucose tolerance tests and blood biochemical values in adult female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kamine, Akari; Shimozuru, Michito; Shibata, Haruki; Tsubota, Toshio

    2012-02-01

    The metabolic mechanisms to circannual changes in body mass of bears have yet to be elucidated. We hypothesized that the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) has a metabolic mechanism that efficiently converts carbohydrates into body fat by altering insulin sensitivity during the hyperphagic stage before hibernation. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the changes in blood biochemical values and glucose and insulin responses to intravenous glucose tolerance tests (IVGTT) during the active season (August, early and late November). Four, adult, female bears (5-17 years old) were anesthetized with 6 mg/kg TZ (tiletamine HCl and zolazepam HCl) in combination with 0.1 mg/kg acepromazine maleate. The bears were injected intravenously with glucose (0.5 g/kg of body mass), and blood samples were obtained before, at, and intermittently after glucose injection. The basal triglycerides concentration decreased significantly with increase in body mass from August to November. Basal levels of plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations were not significantly different among groups. The results of IVGTT demonstrated the increased peripheral insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in early November. In contrast, peripheral insulin resistance was indicated by the exaggerated insulin response in late November. Our findings suggest that bears shift their glucose and lipid metabolism from the stage of normal activity to the hyperphagic stage in which they show lipogenic-predominant metabolism and accelerate glucose uptake by increasing the peripheral insulin sensitivity.

  11. Molecular evidence of the multiple genotype infection of a wild Hokkaido brown bear (Ursus arctos yesoensis) by Babesia sp. UR1.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jinnai, Michio; Kawabuchi-Kurata, Takako; Tsuji, Masayoshi; Nakajima, Rui; Hirata, Haruyuki; Fujisawa, Kohei; Shiraki, Hiromi; Asakawa, Mitsuhiko; Nasuno, Toyohiko; Ishihara, Chiaki

    2010-10-11

    A frozen-stored blood clot of a wild brown bear cub Ursus arctos yesoensis that had been captured in Hokkaido, Japan was examined for piroplasma infection using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Two 18S ribosomal RNA gene (SSU rDNA) sequences were generated. One 1565-bp sequence showed the highest similarity with B. gibsoni (95.9% identity) but, phylogenetically, was found to belong to a distinct lineage. The other sequence (1709-bp) could not be definitively assigned to a described taxon, sharing only limited homology to the closest named species (90.1% identity with C. felis). In order to enhance information obtained from the SSU rDNA sequence, further detection and sequence analysis of the CCTeta gene sequence were done revealing the simultaneous presence of three closely related genotypes (all in a monophyletic lineage) within a single bear host. This finding suggested the possibility that a new Babesia species (Babesia sp. UR1) might have been maintained in nature in wild brown bears. While the parasite's biology is yet unknown, to our knowledge, this is, excepting the single case documentation in 1910 of a hemoparasite in a bear at Russian zoo, the first reported case of piroplasms inhabiting a bear species. Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. The role of Pleistocene glaciations in shaping the evolution of polar and brown bears. Evidence from a critical review of mitochondrial and nuclear genome analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassanin, Alexandre

    2015-07-01

    In this report, I review recent molecular studies dealing with the origin and evolution of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), with special emphasis on their relationships with brown bears (U. arctos). On the basis of mitochondrial and nuclear data, different hypotheses have been proposed, including rapid morphological differentiation of U. maritimus, genetic introgression from U. arctos into U. maritimus, or inversely from U. maritimus into U. arctos, involving either male- or female-mediated gene flow. In the light of available molecular and eco-ethological data, I suggest, firstly, that all divergences among major clades of large bears can be linked to glacial periods, secondly, that polar bears diverged from brown bears before 530 thousand years ago (ka), during one of the three glacial marine isotope stages (MIS) 14, 15.2 or 16, and, thirdly, that genetic introgression had occurred from female polar bears into brown bear populations during at least two glacial periods, at 340 ± 10 ka (MIS 10) in western Europe, and at 155 ± 5 ka (MIS 6) on the ABC islands of southeastern Alaska, and probably also in Beringia and Ireland based on ancient DNA sequences. Copyright © 2015 Académie des sciences. Published by Elsevier SAS. All rights reserved.

  13. Pitfalls in comparing modern hair and fossil bone collagen C and N isotopic data to reconstruct ancient diets: a case study with cave bears (Ursus spelaeus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bocherens, Hervé; Grandal-d'Anglade, Aurora; Hobson, Keith A

    2014-01-01

    Stable isotope analyses provide one of the few means to evaluate diet of extinct taxa. However, interpreting isotope data from bone collagen of extinct animals based on isotopic patterns in different tissues of modern animal proxies is precarious. For example, three corrections are needed before making comparisons of recent hair and ancient bone collagen: calibration of carbon-13 variations in atmospheric CO2, different isotopic discrimination between diet-hair keratin and diet-bone collagen, and time averaging of bone collagen versus short-term record in hair keratin. Recently, Robu et al. [Isotopic evidence for dietary flexibility among European Late Pleistocene cave bears (Ursus spelaeus). Can J Zool. 2013;91:227-234] published an article comparing extant carbon (δ(13)C) and nitrogen (δ(15)N) stable isotopic data of European cave bear bone collagen with those of Yellowstone Park grizzly bear hair in order to test the prevailing assumption of a largely vegetarian diet among cave bears. The authors concluded that cave bears were carnivores. This work is unfortunately unfounded as the authors failed to consider the necessary corrections listed above. When these corrections are applied to the Romanian cave bears, these individuals can be then interpreted without involving consumption of high trophic-level food, and environmental changes are probably the reason for the unusual isotopic composition of these cave bears in comparison with other European cave bears, rather than a change of diet. We caution researchers to pay careful attention to these factors when interpreting feeding ecology of extinct fauna using stable isotope techniques.

  14. Six months of disuse during hibernation does not increase intracortical porosity or decrease cortical bone geometry, strength, or mineralization in black bear (Ursus americanus) femurs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Wojda, Samantha J; Barlow, Lindsay N; Drummer, Thomas D; Bunnell, Kevin; Auger, Janene; Black, Hal L; Donahue, Seth W

    2009-07-22

    Disuse typically uncouples bone formation from resorption, leading to bone loss which compromises bone mechanical properties and increases the risk of bone fracture. Previous studies suggest that bears can prevent bone loss during long periods of disuse (hibernation), but small sample sizes have limited the conclusions that can be drawn regarding the effects of hibernation on bone structure and strength in bears. Here we quantified the effects of hibernation on structural, mineral, and mechanical properties of black bear (Ursus americanus) cortical bone by studying femurs from large groups of male and female bears (with wide age ranges) killed during pre-hibernation (fall) and post-hibernation (spring) periods. Bone properties that are affected by body mass (e.g. bone geometrical properties) tended to be larger in male compared to female bears. There were no differences (p>0.226) in bone structure, mineral content, or mechanical properties between fall and spring bears. Bone geometrical properties differed by less than 5% and bone mechanical properties differed by less than 10% between fall and spring bears. Porosity (fall: 5.5+/-2.2%; spring: 4.8+/-1.6%) and ash fraction (fall: 0.694+/-0.011; spring: 0.696+/-0.010) also showed no change (p>0.304) between seasons. Statistical power was high (>72%) for these analyses. Furthermore, bone geometrical properties and ash fraction (a measure of mineral content) increased with age and porosity decreased with age. These results support the idea that bears possess a biological mechanism to prevent disuse and age-related osteoporoses.

  15. Seasonal and individual variation in the use of rail-associated food attractants by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in a national park.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murray, Maureen H; Fassina, Sarah; Hopkins, John B; Whittington, Jesse; St Clair, Colleen C

    2017-01-01

    Similar to vehicles on roadways, trains frequently kill wildlife via collisions along railways. Despite the prevalence of this mortality worldwide, little is known about the relative importance of wildlife attractants associated with railways, including spilled agricultural products, enhanced vegetation, invertebrates, and carcasses of rail-killed ungulates. We assessed the relative importance of several railway attractants to a provincially-threatened population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Banff and Yoho National Parks, Canada, for which rail-caused mortality has increased in recent decades without known cause. We examined the relationship between the use of the railway and diet by fitting 21 grizzly bears with GPS collars in 2011-2013 and measuring the stable isotope values (δ15N, δ34S) derived from their hair. We also examined the importance of rail-associated foods to grizzly bears by analyzing 230 grizzly bear scats collected from May through October in 2012-2014, some of which could be attributed to GPS-collared bears. Among the 21 collared bears, 17 used the rail rarely (bears (which included the three smallest bears and the largest bear in our sample) used the rail frequently (>20% of their monitored days). We found no significant relationships between δ15N and δ34S values measured from the hair of grizzlies and their frequency of rail use. Instead, δ15N increased with body mass, especially for male bears, suggesting large males consumed more animal protein during hair growth. All four bears that used the railway frequently produced scats containing grain. Almost half the scats (43%) collected within 150 m of the railway contained grain compared to only 7% of scats found >150 m from the railway. Scats deposited near the rail were also more likely to contain grain in the fall (85% of scats) compared to summer (14%) and spring (17%), and those containing grain were more diverse in their contents (6.8 ± 2.2 species vs. 4.9 ± 1.6, P bears in the

  16. Application of large-scale parentage analysis for investigating natal dispersal in highly vagile vertebrates: a case study of American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Jennifer A; Draheim, Hope M; Etter, Dwayne; Winterstein, Scott; Scribner, Kim T

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the factors that affect dispersal is a fundamental question in ecology and conservation biology, particularly as populations are faced with increasing anthropogenic impacts. Here we collected georeferenced genetic samples (n = 2,540) from three generations of black bears (Ursus americanus) harvested in a large (47,739 km2), geographically isolated population and used parentage analysis to identify mother-offspring dyads (n = 337). We quantified the effects of sex, age, habitat type and suitability, and local harvest density at the natal and settlement sites on the probability of natal dispersal, and on dispersal distances. Dispersal was male-biased (76% of males dispersed) but a small proportion (21%) of females also dispersed, and female dispersal distances (mean ± SE  =  48.9±7.7 km) were comparable to male dispersal distances (59.0±3.2 km). Dispersal probabilities and dispersal distances were greatest for bears in areas with high habitat suitability and low harvest density. The inverse relationship between dispersal and harvest density in black bears suggests that 1) intensive harvest promotes restricted dispersal, or 2) high black bear population density decreases the propensity to disperse. Multigenerational genetic data collected over large landscape scales can be a powerful means of characterizing dispersal patterns and causal associations with demographic and landscape features in wild populations of elusive and wide-ranging species.

  17. Application of large-scale parentage analysis for investigating natal dispersal in highly vagile vertebrates: a case study of American black bears (Ursus americanus.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer A Moore

    Full Text Available Understanding the factors that affect dispersal is a fundamental question in ecology and conservation biology, particularly as populations are faced with increasing anthropogenic impacts. Here we collected georeferenced genetic samples (n = 2,540 from three generations of black bears (Ursus americanus harvested in a large (47,739 km2, geographically isolated population and used parentage analysis to identify mother-offspring dyads (n = 337. We quantified the effects of sex, age, habitat type and suitability, and local harvest density at the natal and settlement sites on the probability of natal dispersal, and on dispersal distances. Dispersal was male-biased (76% of males dispersed but a small proportion (21% of females also dispersed, and female dispersal distances (mean ± SE  =  48.9±7.7 km were comparable to male dispersal distances (59.0±3.2 km. Dispersal probabilities and dispersal distances were greatest for bears in areas with high habitat suitability and low harvest density. The inverse relationship between dispersal and harvest density in black bears suggests that 1 intensive harvest promotes restricted dispersal, or 2 high black bear population density decreases the propensity to disperse. Multigenerational genetic data collected over large landscape scales can be a powerful means of characterizing dispersal patterns and causal associations with demographic and landscape features in wild populations of elusive and wide-ranging species.

  18. Changes in expression of hepatic genes involved in energy metabolism during hibernation in captive, adult, female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shimozuru, Michito; Kamine, Akari; Tsubota, Toshio

    2012-10-01

    Hibernating bears survive up to 6 months without feeding by utilizing stored body fat as fuel. To investigate how bears maintain energy homeostasis during hibernation, we analyzed changes in mRNA expression of hepatic genes involved in energy metabolism throughout the hibernation period in captive, adult, female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus). Real-time PCR analysis revealed down-regulation of glycolysis- (e.g., glucokinase), amino acid catabolism- (e.g., alanine aminotransferase) and de novo lipogenesis-related genes (e.g., acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1), and up-regulation of gluconeogensis- (e.g., pyruvate carboxylase), β-oxidation- (i.e., uncoupling protein 2) and ketogenesis-related genes (i.e., 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutary-CoA synthase 2), during hibernation, compared to the active period (June). In addition, we found that glycolysis-related genes (i.e., glucokinase and pyruvate kinase) were more suppressed in the early phase of hibernation (January) compared to the late phase (March). One week after the commencement of feeding in April, expression levels of most genes returned to levels comparable to those seen in June, but β-oxidation-related genes were still up-regulated during this period. These results suggest that the modulation of gene expression is not static, but changes throughout the hibernation period. The transcriptional modulation during hibernation represents a unique physiological adaptation to prolonged fasting in bears. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Resilience and risk: a demographic model to inform conservation planning for polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Rode, Karyn D.; Runge, Michael C.

    2015-01-01

    Climate change is having widespread ecological effects, including loss of Arctic sea ice. This has led to listing of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and other ice-dependent marine mammals under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Methods are needed to evaluate the effects of climate change on population persistence to inform recovery planning for listed species. For polar bears, this includes understanding interactions between climate and secondary factors, such as subsistence harvest, which provide economic, nutritional, or cultural value to humans.

  20. Measuring environmental stress in East Greenland polar bears, 1892-1927 and 1988-2009: what does hair cortisol tell us?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshøft, T Ø; Rigét, F F; Sonne, C; Letcher, R J; Muir, D C G; Novak, M A; Henchey, E; Meyer, J S; Eulaers, I; Jaspers, V L B; Eens, M; Covaci, A; Dietz, R

    2012-09-15

    Hair sampled from 96 East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) over the periods 1892-1927 and 1988-2009 was analyzed for cortisol as a proxy to investigate temporal patterns of environmental stress. Cortisol concentration was independent of sex and age, and was found at significantly higher (ppolar bear hair appears to be a relatively poor indicator of the animal's general POP load in adipose tissue. However, further investigations are warranted to explore the reasons for the temporal decrease found in the bears' hair cortisol levels. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Trace and macro elements in the femoral bone as indicators of long-term environmental exposure to toxic metals in European brown bear (Ursus arctos) from Croatia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lazarus, Maja; Orct, Tatjana; Reljić, Slaven; Sedak, Marija; Bilandžić, Nina; Jurasović, Jasna; Huber, Đuro

    2018-05-21

    We explored the long-term accumulation of aluminium, strontium, cadmium and lead in the compact and trabecular bone of the femoral epiphysis, metaphysis and diaphysis in 41 brown bears (Ursus arctos) from Croatia. Also, we assessed their influence on macro and trace elements (sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, cobalt, copper, zinc and barium) in bears' bone. There were no sex differences in element levels in general, while age was associated with bone length and levels of all elements, except for cadmium. Elements had different levels depending on the part of the bone sampled. More pronounced differences were observed between the compact and trabecular regions, with higher levels of majority of elements found in compact bone. Moderate to high associations (Spearman coefficient, r S  = 0.59-0.97) were confirmed between calcium and potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, cobalt, zinc, strontium and lead. Lead levels in the bone were below those known to cause adverse health effects, but in 4 of 41 animals they exceeded baseline levels for domestic animals. The femoral bone of the brown bear reflected the accumulative nature of lead and strontium well, as it did the impairment of bone-forming essential element levels associated with these two elements. However, the distribution pattern of elements along the bone was not uniform, so additional care should be taken when choosing on the part of the bone sampled.

  2. Seasonal and individual variation in the use of rail-associated food attractants by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos in a national park.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maureen H Murray

    Full Text Available Similar to vehicles on roadways, trains frequently kill wildlife via collisions along railways. Despite the prevalence of this mortality worldwide, little is known about the relative importance of wildlife attractants associated with railways, including spilled agricultural products, enhanced vegetation, invertebrates, and carcasses of rail-killed ungulates. We assessed the relative importance of several railway attractants to a provincially-threatened population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos in Banff and Yoho National Parks, Canada, for which rail-caused mortality has increased in recent decades without known cause. We examined the relationship between the use of the railway and diet by fitting 21 grizzly bears with GPS collars in 2011-2013 and measuring the stable isotope values (δ15N, δ34S derived from their hair. We also examined the importance of rail-associated foods to grizzly bears by analyzing 230 grizzly bear scats collected from May through October in 2012-2014, some of which could be attributed to GPS-collared bears. Among the 21 collared bears, 17 used the rail rarely (20% of their monitored days. We found no significant relationships between δ15N and δ34S values measured from the hair of grizzlies and their frequency of rail use. Instead, δ15N increased with body mass, especially for male bears, suggesting large males consumed more animal protein during hair growth. All four bears that used the railway frequently produced scats containing grain. Almost half the scats (43% collected within 150 m of the railway contained grain compared to only 7% of scats found >150 m from the railway. Scats deposited near the rail were also more likely to contain grain in the fall (85% of scats compared to summer (14% and spring (17%, and those containing grain were more diverse in their contents (6.8 ± 2.2 species vs. 4.9 ± 1.6, P < 0.001. Lastly, scats collected near the rail were more likely to contain ungulate hair and ant remains

  3. cDNA, genomic sequence cloning, and overexpression of EIF1 from the giant panda (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca) and the black bear (Ursus Thibetanus Mupinensis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hou, Wan-ru; Tang, Yun; Hou, Yi-ling; Song, Yan; Zhang, Tian; Wu, Guang-fu

    2010-07-01

    Eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) EIF1 is a universally conserved translation factor that is involved in translation initiation site selection. The cDNA and the genomic sequences of EIF1 were cloned successfully from the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the black bear (Ursus thibetanus mupinensis) using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology and touchdown-polymerase chain reaction, respectively. The cDNAs of the EIF1 cloned from the giant panda and the black bear are 418 bp in size, containing an open reading frame (ORF) of 342 bp encoding 113 amino acids. The length of the genomic sequence of the giant panda is 1909 bp, which contains four exons and three introns. The length of the genomic sequence of the black bear is 1897 bp, which also contains four exons and three introns. Sequence alignment indicates a high degree of homology to those of Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, Rattus norvegicus, and Bos Taurus at both amino acid and DNA levels. Topology prediction shows there are one N-glycosylation site, two Casein kinase II phosphorylation sites, and a Amidation site in the EIF1 protein of the giant panda and black bear. In addition, there is a protein kinase C phosphorylation site in EIF1 of the giant panda. The giant panda and the black bear EIF1 genes were overexpressed in E. coli BL21. The results indicated that the both EIF1 fusion proteins with the N-terminally His-tagged form gave rise to the accumulation of two expected 19 kDa polypeptide. The expression products obtained could be used to purify the proteins and study their function further.

  4. Isolation and Genetic Characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from Black Bears (Ursus americanus), Bobcats (Lynx rufus), and Feral Cats (Felis catus) from Pennsylvania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dubey, Jitender P; Verma, Shiv K; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Cassinelli, Ana B; Kwok, Oliver C H; Van Why, Kyle; Su, Chunlei; Humphreys, Jan G

    2015-01-01

    Toxoplasma gondii infects virtually all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. Recently, attention has been focused on the genetic diversity of the parasite to explain its pathogenicity in different hosts. It has been hypothesized that interaction between feral and domestic cycles of T. gondii may increase unusual genotypes in domestic cats and facilitate transmission of potentially more pathogenic genotypes to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. In the present study, we tested black bear (Ursus americanus), bobcat (Lynx rufus), and feral cat (Felis catus) from the state of Pennsylvania for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 32 (84.2%) of 38 bears, both bobcats, and 2 of 3 feral cats tested by the modified agglutination test (cut off titer 1:25). Hearts from seropositive animals were bioassayed in mice, and viable T. gondii was isolated from 3 of 32 bears, 2 of 2 bobcats, and 2 of 3 feral cats. DNA isolated from culture-derived tachyzoites of these isolates was characterized using multilocus PCR-RFLP markers. Three genotypes were revealed, including ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #1 or #3 (Type II, 1 isolate), #5 (Type 12, 3 isolates), and #216 (3 isolates), adding to the evidence of genetic diversity of T. gondii in wildlife in Pennsylvania. Pathogenicity of 3 T. gondii isolates (all #216, 1 from bear, and 2 from feral cat) was determined in outbred Swiss Webster mice; all three were virulent causing 100% mortality. Results indicated that highly mouse pathogenic strains of T. gondii are circulating in wildlife, and these strains may pose risk to infect human through consuming of game meat. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  5. Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd C.

    2017-01-01

    Historically, the Arctic sea ice has functioned as a structural barrier that has limited the nature and extent of interactions between humans and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). However, declining sea ice extent, brought about by global climate change, is increasing the potential for human-polar bear interactions. Loss of sea ice habitat is driving changes to both human and polar bear behavior—it is facilitating increases in human activities (e.g., offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, trans-Arctic shipping, recreation), while also causing the displacement of bears from preferred foraging habitat (i.e., sea ice over biologically productive shallow) to land in some portions of their range. The end result of these changes is that polar bears are spending greater amounts of time in close proximity to people. Coexistence between humans and polar bears will require imposing mechanisms to manage further development, as well as mitigation strategies that reduce the burden to local communities.

  6. Summer declines in activity and body temperature offer polar bears limited energy savings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, J.P.; Harlow, H.J.; Durner, George M.; Anderson-Sprecher, R.; Albeke, Shannon E.; Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, M.

    2015-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) summer on the sea ice or, where it melts, on shore. Although the physiology of “ice” bears in summer is unknown, “shore” bears purportedly minimize energy losses by entering a hibernation-like state when deprived of food. Such a strategy could partially compensate for the loss of on-ice foraging opportunities caused by climate change. However, here we report gradual, moderate declines in activity and body temperature of both shore and ice bears in summer, resembling energy expenditures typical of fasting, nonhibernating mammals. Also, we found that to avoid unsustainable heat loss while swimming, bears employed unusual heterothermy of the body core. Thus, although well adapted to seasonal ice melt, polar bears appear susceptible to deleterious declines in body condition during the lengthening period of summer food deprivation.

  7. Animal physiology. Summer declines in activity and body temperature offer polar bears limited energy savings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, J P; Harlow, H J; Durner, G M; Anderson-Sprecher, R; Albeke, S E; Regehr, E V; Amstrup, S C; Ben-David, M

    2015-07-17

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) summer on the sea ice or, where it melts, on shore. Although the physiology of "ice" bears in summer is unknown, "shore" bears purportedly minimize energy losses by entering a hibernation-like state when deprived of food. Such a strategy could partially compensate for the loss of on-ice foraging opportunities caused by climate change. However, here we report gradual, moderate declines in activity and body temperature of both shore and ice bears in summer, resembling energy expenditures typical of fasting, nonhibernating mammals. Also, we found that to avoid unsustainable heat loss while swimming, bears employed unusual heterothermy of the body core. Thus, although well adapted to seasonal ice melt, polar bears appear susceptible to deleterious declines in body condition during the lengthening period of summer food deprivation. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  8. Decrease in the red cell cofactor 2,3-diphosphoglycerate increases hemoglobin oxygen affinity in the hibernating brown bear Ursus arctos.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Revsbech, Inge G; Malte, Hans; Fröbert, Ole; Evans, Alina; Blanc, Stéphane; Josefsson, Johan; Fago, Angela

    2013-01-01

    During winter hibernation, brown bears (Ursus arctos) reduce basal O(2) consumption rate to ∼25% compared with the active state, while body temperature decreases moderately (to ∼30°C), suggesting a temperature-independent component in their metabolic depression. To establish whether changes in O(2) consumption during hibernation correlate with changes in blood O(2) affinity, we took blood samples from the same six individuals of hibernating and nonhibernating free-ranging brown bears during winter and summer, respectively. A single hemoglobin (Hb) component was detected in all samples, indicating no switch in Hb synthesis. O(2) binding curves measured on red blood cell lysates at 30°C and 37°C showed a less temperature-sensitive O(2) affinity than in other vertebrates. Furthermore, hemolysates from hibernating bears consistently showed lower cooperativity and higher O(2) affinity than their summer counterparts, regardless of the temperature. We found that this increase in O(2) affinity was associated with a significant decrease in the red cell Hb-cofactor 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (DPG) during hibernation to approximately half of the summer value. Experiments performed on purified Hb, to which DPG had been added to match summer and winter levels, confirmed that the low DPG content was the cause of the left shift in the Hb-O(2) equilibrium curve during hibernation. Levels of plasma lactate indicated that glycolysis is not upregulated during hibernation and that metabolism is essentially aerobic. Calculations show that the increase in Hb-O(2) affinity and decrease in cooperativity resulting from decreased red cell DPG may be crucial in maintaining a fairly constant tissue oxygen tension during hibernation in vivo.

  9. Geographic structure and demographic history of Iranian brown bear (Ursus arctos based on mtDNA control region sequences

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammad Reza Ashrafzadeh

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available In recent years, the brown bear's range has declined and its populations in some areas have faced extinction. Therefore, to have a comprehensive picture of genetic diversity and geographic structure of populations is essential for effective conservation strategies. In this research, we sequenced a 271bp segment of mtDNA control region of seven Iranian brown bears, where a total dataset of 467 sequences (brown and polar bears were used in analyses. Overall, 113 different haplotypes and 77 polymorphic sites were identified within the segment. Based on phylogenetic analyses, Iranian brown bears were not nested in any other clades. The low values of Nm (range=0.014-0.187 and high values of Fst (range=0.728-0.972 among Iranian bears and others revealed a genetically significant differentiation. We aren't found any significant signal of demographic reduction in Iranian bears. The time to the most recent common ancestor of Iranian brown bears (Northern Iran was found to be around 19000 BP.

  10. The selection by the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus of spring plant food items according to their nutritional values

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shino Furusaka

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The present study aimed to investigate the nutritional aspects of the bear diet quantitatively, in order to understand plant food selection in spring. Bears were observed directly from April to July in 2013 and 2014, to visually recognize plant species consumed by bears, and to describe the foraging period in the Ashio-Nikko Mountains, central Japan. Leaves were collected from eight dominant tree species, regardless of whether bears fed on them in spring, and their key nutritional components analyzed: crude protein (CP, neutral detergent fiber (NDF, and total energy. Bears tended to consume fresh leaves of specific species in May, and nutritional analysis revealed that these leaves had higher CP and lower NDF than other non-food leaves. However, CP in consumed leaves gradually decreased, and NDF increased from May to July, when the bears’ food item preference changed from plant materials to ants. Bears may consume tree leaves with high CP and low NDF after hibernation to rebuild muscle mass.

  11. Estimating the success rate of ovulation and early litter loss rate in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) by examining the ovaries and uteri.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yamanaka, Atsushi; Yamauchi, Kiyoshi; Tsujimoto, Tsunenori; Mizoguchi, Toshio; Oi, Toru; Sawada, Seigo; Shimozuru, Michito; Tsubota, Toshio

    2011-02-01

    In order to develop a method for estimating the success/failure rates of reproductive processes, especially those of ovulation and neonate nurturing, in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus), we examined offspring status, corpora lutea (CLs), placental scars (PSs) and corpora albicantia (CAs) in 159 females (0-23 years old) killed as nuisances on Honshu Island of Japan during 2001-2009. PSs were found to remain in the uterus at least until November of the year of parturition. CA detectability began to decline after September of the year of parturition. Monthly and age-specific proportions of CL-present females revealed that the post-mating season starts in August, and that the age of first ovulation is 4 years. These results indicate that the success rate of ovulation (SRO: the probability that solitary/non-lactating mature females actually succeed in ovulation) can be estimated by calculating the proportion of CL-present females among > or = 4-year-old females without PSs captured from August to November; the early litter loss rate (ELLR: the probability that parenting females lose all of their cubs [0-year-old offspring] before mating season) can be estimated by calculating the proportion of CL-present females among those with PSs and CAs captured in August or later. The estimated values of SRO and ELLR were 0.93 (62/67) and 0.27 (6/22), respectively.

  12. Dietary protein content alters energy expenditure and composition of the mass gain in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felicetti, Laura A; Robbins, Charles T; Shipley, Lisa A

    2003-01-01

    Many fruits contain high levels of available energy but very low levels of protein and other nutrients. The discrepancy between available energy and protein creates a physiological paradox for many animals consuming high-fruit diets, as they will be protein deficient if they eat to meet their minimum energy requirement. We fed young grizzly bears both high-energy pelleted and fruit diets containing from 1.6% to 15.4% protein to examine the role of diet-induced thermogenesis and fat synthesis in dealing with high-energy-low-protein diets. Digestible energy intake at mass maintenance increased 2.1 times, and composition of the gain changed from primarily lean mass to entirely fat when the protein content of the diet decreased from 15.4% to 1.6%. Daily fat gain was up to three times higher in bears fed low-protein diets ad lib., compared with bears consuming the higher-protein diet and gaining mass at the same rate. Thus, bears eating fruit can either consume other foods to increase dietary protein content and reduce energy expenditure, intake, and potentially foraging time or overeat high-fruit diets and use diet-induced thermogenesis and fat synthesis to deal with their skewed energy-to-protein ratio. These are not discrete options but a continuum that creates numerous solutions for balancing energy expenditure, intake, foraging time, fat accumulation, and ultimately fitness, depending on food availability, foraging efficiency, bear size, and body condition.

  13. Preservation of bone mass and structure in hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) through elevated expression of anabolic genes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fedorov, Vadim B; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Tøien, Øivind; Stewart, Nathan C; Chang, Celia; Wang, Haifang; Yan, Jun; Showe, Louise C; Showe, Michael K; Donahue, Seth W; Barnes, Brian M

    2012-06-01

    Physical inactivity reduces mechanical load on the skeleton, which leads to losses of bone mass and strength in non-hibernating mammalian species. Although bears are largely inactive during hibernation, they show no loss in bone mass and strength. To obtain insight into molecular mechanisms preventing disuse bone loss, we conducted a large-scale screen of transcriptional changes in trabecular bone comparing winter hibernating and summer non-hibernating black bears using a custom 12,800 probe cDNA microarray. A total of 241 genes were differentially expressed (P 1.4) in the ilium bone of bears between winter and summer. The Gene Ontology and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis showed an elevated proportion in hibernating bears of overexpressed genes in six functional sets of genes involved in anabolic processes of tissue morphogenesis and development including skeletal development, cartilage development, and bone biosynthesis. Apoptosis genes demonstrated a tendency for downregulation during hibernation. No coordinated directional changes were detected for genes involved in bone resorption, although some genes responsible for osteoclast formation and differentiation (Ostf1, Rab9a, and c-Fos) were significantly underexpressed in bone of hibernating bears. Elevated expression of multiple anabolic genes without induction of bone resorption genes, and the down regulation of apoptosis-related genes, likely contribute to the adaptive mechanism that preserves bone mass and structure through prolonged periods of immobility during hibernation.

  14. Influence of drift and admixture on population structure of American black bears (Ursus americanus) in the Central Interior Highlands, USA, 50 years after translocation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Puckett, Emily E; Kristensen, Thea V; Wilton, Clay M; Lyda, Sara B; Noyce, Karen V; Holahan, Paula M; Leslie, David M; Beringer, Jeff; Belant, Jerrold L; White, Don; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-05-01

    Bottlenecks, founder events, and genetic drift often result in decreased genetic diversity and increased population differentiation. These events may follow abundance declines due to natural or anthropogenic perturbations, where translocations may be an effective conservation strategy to increase population size. American black bears (Ursus americanus) were nearly extirpated from the Central Interior Highlands, USA by 1920. In an effort to restore bears, 254 individuals were translocated from Minnesota, USA, and Manitoba, Canada, into the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains from 1958 to 1968. Using 15 microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes, we observed contemporary genetic diversity and differentiation between the source and supplemented populations. We inferred four genetic clusters: Source, Ouachitas, Ozarks, and a cluster in Missouri where no individuals were translocated. Coalescent models using approximate Bayesian computation identified an admixture model as having the highest posterior probability (0.942) over models where the translocation was unsuccessful or acted as a founder event. Nuclear genetic diversity was highest in the source (AR = 9.11) and significantly lower in the translocated populations (AR = 7.07-7.34; P = 0.004). The Missouri cluster had the lowest genetic diversity (AR = 5.48) and served as a natural experiment showing the utility of translocations to increase genetic diversity following demographic bottlenecks. Differentiation was greater between the two admixed populations than either compared to the source, suggesting that genetic drift acted strongly over the eight generations since the translocation. The Ouachitas and Missouri were previously hypothesized to be remnant lineages. We observed a pretranslocation remnant signature in Missouri but not in the Ouachitas. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  15. Diet and morphology of extant and recently extinct northern bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mattson, David J.

    1998-01-01

    I examined the relationship of diets to skull morphology of extant northern bears and used this information to speculate on diets of the recently extinct cave (Ursus spelaeus) and short-faced (Arctodus simus) bears. Analyses relied upon published skull measurements and food habits of Asiatic (U. thibetanus) and American (U. americanus) black bears, polar bears (U. maritimus), various subspecies of brown bears (U. arctos), and the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Principal components analysis showed major trends in skull morphology related to size, crushing force, and snout shape. Giant pandas, short-faced bears, cave bears, and polar bears exhibited extreme features along these gradients. Diets of brown bears in colder, often non-forested environments were distinguished by large volumes of roots, foliage, and vertebrates, while diets of the 2 black bear species and brown bears occupying broadleaf forests contained greater volumes of mast and invertebrates and overlapped considerably. Fractions of fibrous foods in feces (foliage and roots) were strongly related to skull morphology (R2=0.97)">(R2=0.97). Based on this relationship, feces of cave and short-faced bears were predicted to consist almost wholly of foliage, roots, or both. I hypothesized that cave bears specialized in root grubbing. In contrast, based upon body proportions and features of the ursid digestive tract, I hypothesized that skull features associated with crushing force facilitated a carnivorous rather than herbivorous diet for short-faced bears.

  16. Can polar bears use terrestrial foods to offset lost ice-based hunting opportunities?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D.; Robbins, Charles T.; Nelson, Lynne; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    Increased land use by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) due to climate-change-induced reduction of their sea-ice habitat illustrates the impact of climate change on species distributions and the difficulty of conserving a large, highly specialized carnivore in the face of this global threat. Some authors have suggested that terrestrial food consumption by polar bears will help them withstand sea-ice loss as they are forced to spend increasing amounts of time on land. Here, we evaluate the nutritional needs of polar bears as well as the physiological and environmental constraints that shape their use of terrestrial ecosystems. Only small numbers of polar bears have been documented consuming terrestrial foods even in modest quantities. Over much of the polar bear's range, limited terrestrial food availability supports only low densities of much smaller, resident brown bears (Ursus arctos), which use low-quality resources more efficiently and may compete with polar bears in these areas. Where consumption of terrestrial foods has been documented, polar bear body condition and survival rates have declined even as land use has increased. Thus far, observed consumption of terrestrial food by polar bears has been insufficient to offset lost ice-based hunting opportunities but can have ecological consequences for other species. Warming-induced loss of sea ice remains the primary threat faced by polar bears.

  17. Low cardiac output as physiological phenomenon in hibernating, free-ranging Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) - an observational study

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Peter Godsk; Arnemo, Jon; Swenson, Jon E

    2014-01-01

    cardiac function associated with metabolic depression in the hibernating vs. active states in free-ranging Scandinavian brown bears. METHODS: We performed echocardiography on seven free-ranging brown bears in Dalarna, Sweden, anesthetized with medetomidine-zolazepam-tiletamine-ketamine during winter.......31) l/min vs. 3.54 (SD: 1.04) l/min (P=0.003), and mean cardiac index 0.63 (SD: 0.21) l/min/kg vs. 2.45 (SD: 0.52) l/min/ m2 (Pdisease...

  18. Penile density and globally used chemicals in Canadian and Greenland polar bears

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sonne, Christian; Dyck, Markus; Rigét, Frank F.

    2015-01-01

    -range dispersed and to biomagnify to very high concentrations in the tissues of Arctic apex predators such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus). A major concern relating to EDCs is their effects on vital organ-tissues such as bone and it is possible that EDCs represent a more serious challenge to the species......' survival than the more conventionally proposed prey reductions linked to climate change. We therefore analyzed penile bone mineral density (BMD) as a key phenotype for reproductive success in 279 polar bear samples born 1990-2000 representing eight polar bear subpopulations. Since EDC concentrations were...... not available from the same specimens, we compared BMD with published literature information on EDC concentrations. Latitudinal and longitudinal BMD and EDC gradients were clearly observed, with Western Hudson bears having the highest BMD and lowest EDCs, and North East Greenland polar bears carrying the lowest...

  19. Seasonal variation in haematological and biochemical variables in free-ranging subadult brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Græsli, Anne Randi; Evans, Alina L; Fahlman, Åsa; Bertelsen, Mads F; Blanc, Stéphane; Arnemo, Jon M

    2015-12-08

    Free-ranging brown bears exhibit highly contrasting physiological states throughout the year. They hibernate 6 months of the year, experiencing a decrease in body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and metabolism. An increase in food consumption and the resulting weight gain (mostly through fat storage) prior to hibernation are also part of the brown bear's annual cycle. Due to these physiological changes, haematological and biochemical variables vary dramatically throughout the year. Seasonal changes in 12 haematological and 34 biochemical variables were evaluated in blood samples collected from 40 free-ranging subadult brown bears (22 females, 18 males) immobilised in Sweden in winter (February-March), spring (April-May), and summer (June). Higher levels of haemoglobin, haematocrit and red blood cell count, and a lower white blood cell count and mean cell volume was found during hibernation than in spring and summer. Lower values of the enzymes; aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (AP), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), glutamate dehydrogenase (GD) and amylase, and increased values of β-hydroxybutyrate (β-HBA) and blood lipids; triglycerides, cholesterol and free fatty acids, were present during hibernation compared to spring and summer. This study documents significant shifts in haematological and biochemical variables in samples collected from brown bears anaesthetised in winter (February-March) compared to in spring and summer (April-June), reflecting the lowered metabolic, renal and hepatic activity during hibernation. Lower values of enzymes and higher values of blood lipids during hibernation, likely reflect a lipid-based metabolism.

  20. Detection and prevalence of four different hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. in Eastern North Carolina American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westmoreland, Lori S H; Stoskopf, Michael K; Maggi, Ricardo G

    2017-02-01

    Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. are globally emerging, obligate parasitic, epierythrocytic bacteria that infect many vertebrates, including humans. Hemoplasma infection can cause acute life-threatening symptoms or lead to a chronic sub-clinical carrier state. Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. transmission, prevalence, and host specificity are uncertain. The purpose of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of Mycoplasma species in blood from 68 free-ranging black bears from the eastern coast of North Carolina. DNA amplification of Mycoplasma 16S rRNA gene identified four distinct species infecting 34/68 (50%) of the black bear blood samples, including Candidatus M. haematoparvum. The high prevalence of hemotropic Mycoplasma infection in this wildlife species highlights the importance of understanding intra and inter species transmission. Black bears may play a role in the transmission of hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. between animals, arthropod vectors, and humans. Further studies are needed to elucidate black bears as a potential reservoir for hemotropic Mycoplasma infections. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. A preliminary baseline status of the Syrian Brown Bear Ursus arctos syriacus (Mammalia: Carnivora: Ursidae in Golestanak, Northern Iran

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mohammad Sadegh Farhadinia

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Baseline information is lacking for the Syrian Brown Bear across the sub-species range, making it difficult to assess at any level.  In the present investigation, our goal was to illustrate the population status of the Brown Bear in the Golestanak area, northern Iran, based on field surveys we conducted during the summers of 2011 and 2012.  We counted a total of 30 and 21 bears in two consecutive years, with family groups consisting of more than half of the identified individuals.  Sub-adults had the lowest contribution among the observed individuals, just below 10%, which may be due to their high dispersal behaviour to avoid adults.  Our results provide a foundation for future systematic baseline investigations on the population status of the brown bear in northern Iran, which can be used in management programs.  Aside from improving monitoring efforts within key habitats of the species, enhancing conservation efforts to secure the population is essential to safeguard this female core area. 

  2. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) locomotion: forelimb joint mechanics across speed in the sagittal and frontal planes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shine, Catherine L; Robbins, Charles T; Nelson, O Lynne; McGowan, Craig P

    2017-04-01

    The majority of terrestrial locomotion studies have focused on parasagittal motion and paid less attention to forces or movement in the frontal plane. Our previous research has shown that grizzly bears produce higher medial ground reaction forces (lateral pushing from the animal) than would be expected for an upright mammal, suggesting frontal plane movement may be an important aspect of their locomotion. To examine this, we conducted an inverse dynamics analysis in the sagittal and frontal planes, using ground reaction forces and position data from three high-speed cameras of four adult female grizzly bears. Over the speed range collected, the bears used walks, running walks and canters. The scapulohumeral joint, wrist and the limb overall absorb energy (average total net work of the forelimb joints, -0.97 W kg -1 ). The scapulohumeral joint, elbow and total net work of the forelimb joints have negative relationships with speed, resulting in more energy absorbed by the forelimb at higher speeds (running walks and canters). The net joint moment and power curves maintain similar patterns across speed as in previously studied species, suggesting grizzly bears maintain similar joint dynamics to other mammalian quadrupeds. There is no significant relationship with net work and speed at any joint in the frontal plane. The total net work of the forelimb joints in the frontal plane was not significantly different from zero, suggesting that, despite the high medial ground reaction forces, the forelimb acts as a strut in that plane. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  3. Effect of colloid (Androcoll-Bear, Percoll, and PureSperm) selection on the freezability of brown bear (Ursus arctos) sperm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Álvarez-Rodríguez, M; Álvarez, M; Anel-López, L; López-Urueña, E; Manrique, P; Borragán, S; Morrell, J M; de Paz, P; Anel, L

    2016-04-01

    The development of a species-specific conservation protocol that involves artificial insemination with frozen semen needs to validate an effective methodology for freezing semen. Colloid centrifugation has been suggested and widely applied as an effective tool for selecting animal spermatozoa for artificial breeding. The objective of the present study was to compare different methods of centrifugation, single layer using Androcoll-Bear and Percoll and double layer using PureSperm 100 (in two different discontinuous gradients 40%-80% and 45%-90%), for the selection of fresh brown bear sperm samples. In the before freezing group, all selected samples showed a higher progressive motility and viability (except Percoll for motility 43.0 ± 5.3 [P Bear in number of damaged acrosomes, different relative to the control (control, 5.3 ± 0.6; PureSperm 80, 2.0 ± 0.3; Androcoll, 2.1 ± 0.9 [P Bear constitutes a useful tool for handling of brown bear ejaculates owing to its simple handling and procedure with a reliable sperm selection and freezability. This colloid yielded an improvement in several sperm parameters in brown bear frozen-thawed semen; the selected spermatozoa of fresh samples with this colloid showed a better resistance to freezing compared with the control sample not only for motility but also for viability. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Regional contamination versus regional dietary differences: Understanding geographic variation in brominated and chlorinated contaminant levels in polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, M.A.; Letcher, R.J.; Aars, Jon; Born, E.W.; Branigan, M.; Dietz, R.; Evans, T.J.; Gabrielsen, G.W.; Muir, D.C.G.; Peacock, E.; Sonne, C.

    2011-01-01

    The relative contribution of regional contamination versus dietary differences to geographic variation in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) contaminant levels is unknown. Dietary variation between Alaska Canada, East Greenland, and Svalbard subpopulations was assessed by muscle nitrogen and carbon stable isotope (?? 15N, ?? 13C) and adipose fatty acid (FA) signatures relative to their main prey (ringed seals). Western and southern Hudson Bay signatures were characterized by depleted ?? 15N and ??13C, lower proportions of C20 and C22 monounsaturated FAs and higher proportions of C18 and longer chain polyunsaturated FAs. East Greenland and Svalbard signatures were reversed relative to Hudson Bay. Alaskan ?? 2011 American Chemical Society.

  5. Spatial representation of magnitude in humans (Homo sapiens), Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), and American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson-Ulrich, Zoe; Vonk, Jennifer

    2018-05-04

    The spatial-numerical association of response codes (SNARC) effect is the tendency for humans to respond faster to relatively larger numbers on the left or right (or with the left or right hand) and faster to relatively smaller numbers on the other side. This effect seems to occur due to a spatial representation of magnitude either in occurrence with a number line (wherein participants respond to relatively larger numbers faster on the right), other representations such as clock faces (responses are reversed from number lines), or culturally specific reading directions, begging the question as to whether the effect may be limited to humans. Given that a SNARC effect has emerged via a quantity judgement task in Western lowland gorillas and orangutans (Gazes et al., Cog 168:312-319, 2017), we examined patterns of response on a quantity discrimination task in American black bears, Western lowland gorillas, and humans for evidence of a SNARC effect. We found limited evidence for SNARC effect in American black bears and Western lowland gorillas. Furthermore, humans were inconsistent in direction and strength of effects, emphasizing the importance of standardizing methodology and analyses when comparing SNARC effects between species. These data reveal the importance of collecting data with humans in analogous procedures when testing nonhumans for effects assumed to bepresent in humans.

  6. Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harvey, Jeffrey A; van den Berg, Daphne; Ellers, Jacintha; Kampen, Remko; Crowther, Thomas W; Roessingh, Peter; Verheggen, Bart; Nuijten, Rascha J M; Post, Eric; Lewandowsky, Stephan; Stirling, Ian; Balgopal, Meena; Amstrup, Steven C; Mann, Michael E

    2018-04-01

    Increasing surface temperatures, Arctic sea-ice loss, and other evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are acknowledged by every major scientific organization in the world. However, there is a wide gap between this broad scientific consensus and public opinion. Internet blogs have strongly contributed to this consensus gap by fomenting misunderstandings of AGW causes and consequences. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have become a "poster species" for AGW, making them a target of those denying AGW evidence. Here, focusing on Arctic sea ice and polar bears, we show that blogs that deny or downplay AGW disregard the overwhelming scientific evidence of Arctic sea-ice loss and polar bear vulnerability. By denying the impacts of AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap. To counter misinformation and reduce this gap, scientists should directly engage the public in the media and blogosphere.

  7. Acute gastric dilatation and volvulus in a free-living polar bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Nielsen, Carol A.

    1989-01-01

    A large, adult male polar bear (Ursus maritimus) was found dead on a barrier island north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska (USA), in June 1987. There were no external signs of trauma. A twisted distended stomach, distinctive parenchymal and fascial congestion, and significant difficulty in repositioning the anterior abdominal organs, indicated that gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) was the proximate cause of death. Polar bears frequently consume large quantities of food at one time and have large stomachs that are well adapted to periodic gorging. The scarcity of food in winter and early spring, combined with voluntary fasting and protracted vigorous activity during the breeding season in late spring may have predisposed this bear to GDV. The relationship between GDV and postprandial exercise emphasizes the need for a better understanding of how the present human invasion of arctic habitats may influence polar bear activities.

  8. Ursidibacter maritimus gen. nov., sp. nov. and Ursidibacter arcticus sp. nov., two new members of the family Pasteurellaceae isolated from the oral cavity of bears

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Mie Johanne; Strøm Braaten, Mira; Bojesen, Anders Miki

    2015-01-01

    A total of 32 suspected Pasteurellaceae strains isolated from polar and brown bears were characterized by genotypic and phenotypic tests. Phylogenetic analysis of partial 16S rRNA and rpoB gene sequences showed that the isolates investigated formed two closely related monophyletic groups. Based...... on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison Bibersteinia trehalosi was the closest related validly published species, with 95.4 % similarity to the polar bear group and 94.4 % similarity to the brown bear group. Otariodibacter oris was the closest related species based on rpoB sequence comparison with an rpo......B similarity at 89.8% with the polar bear group and 90% similarity with the brown bear group. Members of the bear genera could be separated from existing genera of the Pasteurellaceae by three to ten phenotypic characters and the two novel species could be separated from each other by two phenotypic characters...

  9. Polar bears and sea ice habitat change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Butterworth, Andy

    2017-01-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is an obligate apex predator of Arctic sea ice and as such can be affected by climate warming-induced changes in the extent and composition of pack ice and its impacts on their seal prey. Sea ice declines have negatively impacted some polar bear subpopulations through reduced energy input because of loss of hunting habitats, higher energy costs due to greater ice drift, ice fracturing and open water, and ultimately greater challenges to recruit young. Projections made from the output of global climate models suggest that polar bears in peripheral Arctic and sub-Arctic seas will be reduced in numbers or become extirpated by the end of the twenty-first century if the rate of climate warming continues on its present trajectory. The same projections also suggest that polar bears may persist in the high-latitude Arctic where heavy multiyear sea ice that has been typical in that region is being replaced by thinner annual ice. Underlying physical and biological oceanography provides clues as to why polar bear in some regions are negatively impacted, while bears in other regions have shown no apparent changes. However, continued declines in sea ice will eventually challenge the survival of polar bears and efforts to conserve them in all regions of the Arctic.

  10. Vitamins A and E in liver, kidney, and whole blood of East Greenland polar bears sampled 1994–2008: reference values and temporal trends

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bechshoft, T.; Sonne, C.; Jakobsen, Jette

    2015-01-01

    on this health issue in polar bears (Ursus maritimus). The aim of this study was thus to provide reference values for concentrations of vitamin A in liver, kidney cortex, and whole blood and vitamin E in kidney cortex and whole blood from 166 East Greenland polar bears, as well as to assess the relationship...... that POPs could be disrupting polar bear vitamin status. However, while the observed temporal increases in vitamin concentrations were likely POP related, the question remains as to whether they stem from influence of contaminants only or also, e.g., changes in prey species. Further studies are needed...... between POPs and vitamin concentrations. In addition, vitamin concentrations were analyzed for temporal trends (1994–2008). Results showed vitamin A in liver to be higher in adult bears and the concentrations of vitamin E in kidney and blood to likewise be generally higher in adult bears. In addition, all...

  11. Genomic evidence for island population conversion resolves conflicting theories of polar bear evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cahill, James A; Green, Richard E; Fulton, Tara L; Stiller, Mathias; Jay, Flora; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Salamzade, Rauf; St John, John; Stirling, Ian; Slatkin, Montgomery; Shapiro, Beth

    2013-01-01

    Despite extensive genetic analysis, the evolutionary relationship between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (U. arctos) remains unclear. The two most recent comprehensive reports indicate a recent divergence with little subsequent admixture or a much more ancient divergence followed by extensive admixture. At the center of this controversy are the Alaskan ABC Islands brown bears that show evidence of shared ancestry with polar bears. We present an analysis of genome-wide sequence data for seven polar bears, one ABC Islands brown bear, one mainland Alaskan brown bear, and a black bear (U. americanus), plus recently published datasets from other bears. Surprisingly, we find clear evidence for gene flow from polar bears into ABC Islands brown bears but no evidence of gene flow from brown bears into polar bears. Importantly, while polar bears contributed bear, they contributed 6.5% of the X chromosome. The magnitude of sex-biased polar bear ancestry and the clear direction of gene flow suggest a model wherein the enigmatic ABC Island brown bears are the descendants of a polar bear population that was gradually converted into brown bears via male-dominated brown bear admixture. We present a model that reconciles heretofore conflicting genetic observations. We posit that the enigmatic ABC Islands brown bears derive from a population of polar bears likely stranded by the receding ice at the end of the last glacial period. Since then, male brown bear migration onto the island has gradually converted these bears into an admixed population whose phenotype and genotype are principally brown bear, except at mtDNA and X-linked loci. This process of genome erosion and conversion may be a common outcome when climate change or other forces cause a population to become isolated and then overrun by species with which it can hybridize.

  12. Genomic evidence for island population conversion resolves conflicting theories of polar bear evolution.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James A Cahill

    Full Text Available Despite extensive genetic analysis, the evolutionary relationship between polar bears (Ursus maritimus and brown bears (U. arctos remains unclear. The two most recent comprehensive reports indicate a recent divergence with little subsequent admixture or a much more ancient divergence followed by extensive admixture. At the center of this controversy are the Alaskan ABC Islands brown bears that show evidence of shared ancestry with polar bears. We present an analysis of genome-wide sequence data for seven polar bears, one ABC Islands brown bear, one mainland Alaskan brown bear, and a black bear (U. americanus, plus recently published datasets from other bears. Surprisingly, we find clear evidence for gene flow from polar bears into ABC Islands brown bears but no evidence of gene flow from brown bears into polar bears. Importantly, while polar bears contributed <1% of the autosomal genome of the ABC Islands brown bear, they contributed 6.5% of the X chromosome. The magnitude of sex-biased polar bear ancestry and the clear direction of gene flow suggest a model wherein the enigmatic ABC Island brown bears are the descendants of a polar bear population that was gradually converted into brown bears via male-dominated brown bear admixture. We present a model that reconciles heretofore conflicting genetic observations. We posit that the enigmatic ABC Islands brown bears derive from a population of polar bears likely stranded by the receding ice at the end of the last glacial period. Since then, male brown bear migration onto the island has gradually converted these bears into an admixed population whose phenotype and genotype are principally brown bear, except at mtDNA and X-linked loci. This process of genome erosion and conversion may be a common outcome when climate change or other forces cause a population to become isolated and then overrun by species with which it can hybridize.

  13. Human-polar bear interactions in a changing Arctic: Existing and emerging concerns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd C.; Simac, Kristin; Breck, Stewart; York, Geoff; Wilder, James

    2017-01-01

    The behavior and sociality of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have been shaped by evolved preferences for sea ice habitat and preying on marine mammals. However, human behavior is causing changes to the Arctic marine ecosystem through the influence of greenhouse gas emissions that drive long-term change in ecosystem processes and via the presence of in situ stressors associated with increasing human activities. These changes are making it more difficult for polar bears to reliably use their traditional habitats and maintain fitness. Here, we provide an overview of how human activities in the Arctic are likely to change a polar bear’s behavior and to influence their resilience to environmental change. Developing a more thorough understanding of polar bear behavior and their capacity for flexibility in response to anthropogenic disturbances and subsequent mitigations may lead to successful near-term management interventions.

  14. Polar bear and walrus response to the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oakley, K.; Whalen, M.; Douglas, David C.; Udevitz, Mark S.; Atwood, Todd C.; Jay, C.

    2012-01-01

    The Arctic is warming faster than other regions of the world due to positive climate feedbacks associated with loss of snow and ice. One highly visible consequence has been a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice over the past 3 decades - a decline projected to continue and result in ice-free summers likely as soon as 2030. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) are dependent on sea ice over the continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean's marginal seas. The continental shelves are shallow regions with high biological productivity, supporting abundant marine life within the water column and on the sea floor. Polar bears use sea ice as a platform for hunting ice seals; walruses use sea ice as a resting platform between dives to forage for clams and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates. How have sea ice changes affected polar bears and walruses? How will anticipated changes affect them in the future?

  15. High-energy, high-fat lifestyle challenges an Arctic apex predator, the polar bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagano, A M; Durner, G M; Rode, K D; Atwood, T C; Atkinson, S N; Peacock, E; Costa, D P; Owen, M A; Williams, T M

    2018-02-02

    Regional declines in polar bear ( Ursus maritimus ) populations have been attributed to changing sea ice conditions, but with limited information on the causative mechanisms. By simultaneously measuring field metabolic rates, daily activity patterns, body condition, and foraging success of polar bears moving on the spring sea ice, we found that high metabolic rates (1.6 times greater than previously assumed) coupled with low intake of fat-rich marine mammal prey resulted in an energy deficit for more than half of the bears examined. Activity and movement on the sea ice strongly influenced metabolic demands. Consequently, increases in mobility resulting from ongoing and forecasted declines in and fragmentation of sea ice are likely to increase energy demands and may be an important factor explaining observed declines in body condition and survival. Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.

  16. A comprehensive analysis of three Asiatic black bear mitochondrial genomes (subspecies ussuricus, formosanus and mupinensis), with emphasis on the complete mtDNA sequence of Ursus thibetanus ussuricus (Ursidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hwang, Dae-Sik; Ki, Jang-Seu; Jeong, Dong-Hyuk; Kim, Bo-Hyun; Lee, Bae-Keun; Han, Sang-Hoon; Lee, Jae-Seong

    2008-08-01

    In the present paper, we describe the mitochondrial genome sequence of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus) with particular emphasis on the control region (CR), and compared with mitochondrial genomes on molecular relationships among the bears. The mitochondrial genome sequence of U. thibetanus ussuricus was 16,700 bp in size with mostly conserved structures (e.g. 13 protein-coding, two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes). The CR consisted of several typical conserved domains such as F, E, D, and C boxes, and a conserved sequence block. Nucleotide sequences and the repeated motifs in the CR were different among the bear species, and their copy numbers were also variable according to populations, even within F1 generations of U. thibetanus ussuricus. Comparative analyses showed that the CR D1 region was highly informative for the discrimination of the bear family. These findings suggest that nucleotide sequences of both repeated motifs and CR D1 in the bear family are good markers for species discriminations.

  17. Effects of intramuscular administration of tiletamine-zolazepam with and without sedative pretreatment on plasma and serum biochemical values and glucose tolerance test results in Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kamine, Akari; Shimozuru, Michito; Shibata, Haruki; Tsubota, Toshio

    2012-08-01

    To establish a safe anesthetic protocol with little effect on blood biochemical values and IV glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) results in Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus). 16 captive female Japanese black bears (5 to 17 years of age). Bears were randomly assigned to 4 treatment groups (4 bears/group) in which various treatment combinations were administered via blow dart: tiletamine HCl and zolazepam HCl (9 mg/kg) alone (TZ), TZ (6 mg/kg) and acepromazine maleate (0.1 mg/kg), TZ (6 mg/kg) and butorphanol tartrate (0.3 mg/kg), or TZ (3 mg/kg) and medetomidine HCl (40 μg/kg). Glucose injection for the IVGTT was started 130 minutes after TZ administration. Blood samples were obtained before, at, and intermittently after glucose injection for measurement of biochemical variables as well as plasma glucose and serum insulin concentrations during the IVGTT. Rectal temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate were assessed every 15 minutes during the experiment. Induction and maintenance of anesthesia were safely achieved with little adverse effect on cardiopulmonary function when each of the 4 anesthetic regimens was used, although mild hypothermia was induced. No difference was evident between treatment groups in blood biochemical values. Blood glucose and insulin concentration profiles during the IVGTT were similar among the bears given TZ, with or without acepromazine or butorphanol, but hyperglycemia and hypoinsulinemia developed in bears given TZ with medetomidine. All 4 anesthetic regimens yielded chemical restraint without affecting clinical and biochemical values in bears, but medetomidine appeared to affect IVGTT results. For this reason, medetomidine should not be used when anesthetizing bears for IVGTTs.

  18. Human disturbances of denning polar bears in Alaska

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Amstrup, S.C.

    1993-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) give birth in dens of snow and ice. The altricial neonates cannot leave the den for >2 months post-partum and are potentially vulnerable to disturbances near dens. The coastal plain (1002) area of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) lies in a region of known polar bear denning and also may contain >9 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Polar bears in dens could be affected in many ways by hydrocarbon development. The distribution of dens on ANWR was documented between 1981 and 1992 and responses of bears in dens to various anthropogenic disturbances were observed. Of 44 dens located by radiotelemetry on the mainland coast of Alaska and Canada, 20 (45%) were on ANWR and 15 (34%) were within the 1002 area. Thus, development of ANWR will increase the potential that denning polar bears are disturbed by human activities. However, perturbations resulting from capture, marking, and radiotracking maternal bears did not affect litter sizes or stature of cubs produced. Likewise, 10 of 12 denned polar bears tolerated exposure to exceptional levels of activity. This tolerance and the fact that investment in the denning effort increases through the winter indicated that spatial and temporal restrictions on developments could prevent the potential for many disruptions of denned bears from being realized. 16 refs., 1 fig., 2 tabs

  19. Changing Arctic Ecosystems: Updated forecast: Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions required to improve polar bear outlook

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oakley, Karen L.; Atwood, Todd C.; Mugel, Douglas N.; Rode, Karyn D.; Whalen, Mary E.

    2015-01-01

    The Arctic is warming faster than other regions of the world due to the loss of snow and ice, which increases the amount of solar energy absorbed by the region. The most visible consequence has been the rapid decline in sea ice over the last 3 decades-a decline projected to bring long ice-free summers if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are not significantly reduced. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) depends on sea ice over the biologically productive continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean as a platform for hunting seals. In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to the threat posed by sea ice loss. The polar bear was the first species to be listed due to forecasted population declines from climate change.

  20. Monitoring the welfare of polar bear populations in a rapidly changing Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd C.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Patyk, Kelly A.; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.

    2017-01-01

    Most programs for monitoring the welfare of wildlife populations support efforts aimed at reaching discrete management objectives, like mitigating conflict with humans. While such programs can be effective, their limited scope may preclude systemic evaluations needed for large-scale conservation initiatives, like the recovery of at-risk species. We discuss select categories of metrics that can be used to monitor how polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are responding to the primary threat to their long-term persistence—loss of sea ice habitat due to the unabated rise in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG; e.g., CO2) concentrations—that can also provide information on ecosystem function and health. Monitoring key aspects of polar bear population dynamics, spatial behavior, health and resiliency can provide valuable insight into ecosystem state and function, and could be a powerful tool for achieving Arctic conservation objectives, particularly those that have transnational policy implications.

  1. Using tri-axial accelerometers to identify wild polar bear behaviors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagano, Anthony M.; Rode, Karyn D.; Cutting, A.; Owen, M.A.; Jensen, S.; Ware, J.V.; Robbins, C.T.; Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Obbard, M.E.; Middel, K.R.; Thiemann, G.W.; Williams, T.M.

    2017-01-01

    Tri-axial accelerometers have been used to remotely identify the behaviors of a wide range of taxa. Assigning behaviors to accelerometer data often involves the use of captive animals or surrogate species, as their accelerometer signatures are generally assumed to be similar to those of their wild counterparts. However, this has rarely been tested. Validated accelerometer data are needed for polar bears Ursus maritimus to understand how habitat conditions may influence behavior and energy demands. We used accelerometer and water conductivity data to remotely distinguish 10 polar bear behaviors. We calibrated accelerometer and conductivity data collected from collars with behaviors observed from video-recorded captive polar bears and brown bears U. arctos, and with video from camera collars deployed on free-ranging polar bears on sea ice and on land. We used random forest models to predict behaviors and found strong ability to discriminate the most common wild polar bear behaviors using a combination of accelerometer and conductivity sensor data from captive or wild polar bears. In contrast, models using data from captive brown bears failed to reliably distinguish most active behaviors in wild polar bears. Our ability to discriminate behavior was greatest when species- and habitat-specific data from wild individuals were used to train models. Data from captive individuals may be suitable for calibrating accelerometers, but may provide reduced ability to discriminate some behaviors. The accelerometer calibrations developed here provide a method to quantify polar bear behaviors to evaluate the impacts of declines in Arctic sea ice.

  2. Ancient hybridization and an Irish origin for the modern polar bear matriline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Ceiridwen J; Suchard, Marc A; Lemey, Philippe; Welch, John J; Barnes, Ian; Fulton, Tara L; Barnett, Ross; O'Connell, Tamsin C; Coxon, Peter; Monaghan, Nigel; Valdiosera, Cristina E; Lorenzen, Eline D; Willerslev, Eske; Baryshnikov, Gennady F; Rambaut, Andrew; Thomas, Mark G; Bradley, Daniel G; Shapiro, Beth

    2011-08-09

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are among those species most susceptible to the rapidly changing arctic climate, and their survival is of global concern. Despite this, little is known about polar bear species history. Future conservation strategies would significantly benefit from an understanding of basic evolutionary information, such as the timing and conditions of their initial divergence from brown bears (U. arctos) or their response to previous environmental change. We used a spatially explicit phylogeographic model to estimate the dynamics of 242 brown bear and polar bear matrilines sampled throughout the last 120,000 years and across their present and past geographic ranges. Our results show that the present distribution of these matrilines was shaped by a combination of regional stability and rapid, long-distance dispersal from ice-age refugia. In addition, hybridization between polar bears and brown bears may have occurred multiple times throughout the Late Pleistocene. The reconstructed matrilineal history of brown and polar bears has two striking features. First, it is punctuated by dramatic and discrete climate-driven dispersal events. Second, opportunistic mating between these two species as their ranges overlapped has left a strong genetic imprint. In particular, a likely genetic exchange with extinct Irish brown bears forms the origin of the modern polar bear matriline. This suggests that interspecific hybridization not only may be more common than previously considered but may be a mechanism by which species deal with marginal habitats during periods of environmental deterioration. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Ancient Hybridization and an Irish Origin for the Modern Polar Bear Matriline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Ceiridwen J.; Suchard, Marc A.; Lemey, Philippe; Welch, John J.; Barnes, Ian; Fulton, Tara L.; Barnett, Ross; O’Connell, Tamsin C.; Coxon, Peter; Monaghan, Nigel; Valdiosera, Cristina E.; Lorenzen, Eline D.; Willerslev, Eske; Baryshnikov, Gennady F.; Rambaut, Andrew; Thomas, Mark G.; Bradley, Daniel G.; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-01-01

    Summary Background Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are among those species most susceptible to the rapidly changing arctic climate, and their survival is of global concern. Despite this, little is known about polar bear species history. Future conservation strategies would significantly benefit from an understanding of basic evolutionary information, such as the timing and conditions of their initial divergence from brown bears (U. arctos) or their response to previous environmental change. Results We used a spatially explicit phylogeographic model to estimate the dynamics of 242 brown bear and polar bear matrilines sampled throughout the last 120,000 years and across their present and past geographic ranges. Our results show that the present distribution of these matrilines was shaped by a combination of regional stability and rapid, long-distance dispersal from ice-age refugia. In addition, hybridization between polar bears and brown bears may have occurred multiple times throughout the Late Pleistocene. Conclusions The reconstructed matrilineal history of brown and polar bears has two striking features. First, it is punctuated by dramatic and discrete climate-driven dispersal events. Second, opportunistic mating between these two species as their ranges overlapped has left a strong genetic imprint. In particular, a likely genetic exchange with extinct Irish brown bears forms the origin of the modern polar bear matriline. This suggests that interspecific hybridization not only may be more common than previously considered but may be a mechanism by which species deal with marginal habitats during periods of environmental deterioration. PMID:21737280

  4. Dietary biomagnification of organochlorine contaminants in Alaskan polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bentzen, T.W.; Follmann, Erich H.; Amstrup, Steven C.; York, G.S.; Wooller, M.J.; Muir, D.C.G.; O'Hara, T. M.

    2008-01-01

    Concentrations of organochlorine contaminants in the adipose tissue of polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) vary throughout the Arctic. The range in concentrations has not been explained fully by bear age, sex, condition, location, or reproductive status. Dietary pathways expose polar bears to a variety of contaminant profiles and concentrations. Prey range from lower trophic level bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus L., 1758), one of the least contaminated marine mammals, to highly contaminated upper trophic level ringed seals (Phoca hispida (Schreber, 1775)). We used ??15N and ??13C signatures to estimate the trophic status of 42 polar bears sampled along Alaska's Beaufort Sea coast to determine the relationship between organochlorine concentration and trophic level. The ?? 15N values in the cellular portions of blood ranged from 18.2% to 20.7%. We found strong positive relationships between concentrations of the most recalcitrant polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and ??15N values in models incorporating age, lipid content, and ??13C value. Specifically these models accounted for 67% and 76% of the variation in PCB153 and oxychlordane concentration in male polar bears and 85% and 93% in females, respectively. These results are strong indicators of variation in diet and biomagnification of organochlorines among polar bears related to their sex, age, and trophic position. ?? 2008 NRC.

  5. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the arctic environment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Welch, Andreanna J; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2014-02-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate whether polar bears demonstrate lineage-specific signals of molecular adaptation in genes associated with cellular respiration/energy production. We observed increased evolutionary rates in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene in polar but not brown bears. An amino acid substitution occurred near the interaction site with a nuclear-encoded subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex and was predicted to lead to a functional change, although the significance of this remains unclear. The nuclear genomes of brown and polar bears demonstrate different adaptations related to cellular respiration. Analyses of the genomes of brown bears exhibited substitutions that may alter the function of proteins that regulate glucose uptake, which could be beneficial when feeding on carbohydrate-dominated diets during hyperphagia, followed by fasting during hibernation. In polar bears, genes demonstrating signatures of functional divergence and those potentially under positive selection were enriched in functions related to production of nitric oxide (NO), which can regulate energy production in several different ways. This suggests that polar bears may be able to fine-tune intracellular levels of NO as an adaptive response to control trade-offs between energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate versus generation of heat (thermogenesis).

  6. Planning the Brown Bear Ursus arctos reintroduction in the Adamello Brenta Natural Park. A tool to establish a metapopulation in the Central-Eastern Alps

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Mustoni

    2003-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract In the 17th century, brown bears (Ursus arctos were still abundant and widely distributed over the entire alpine area of northern Italy and even in large, dense forests of the prealps and the Po plain. The start of the decline coincided with increasing deforestation for farming at the end of the 18th century and, in the 19th century, increased access to previously remote wilderness areas of the prealpine and alpine mountains, where direct persecution by farmers and hunters caused the extinction of local bear populations. The last remnant population that occupied the Adamello-Brenta Alps was considered biologically extinct since 1989 (only three, non-reproducing bears. Here we present an analysis of the reintroduction process as the most suitable tool for brown bear recovery in the Italian Alps, taking into account both the benefits of reinstating a viable population and the risks that the coexistence between man and bear could cause. The reintroduction process is discussed aiming at an evaluation of its contribution to the global future efforts for brown bear conservation in the alpine region. A GIS-based habitat suitability analysis was implemented to test for good-quality bear habitat in a vast mountainous area around the Adamello-Brenta Natural Park (6500 km², the release site of bears. The model was based on presence/absence data, gathered over the last 20 years, and habitat parameters in 25 ha cells in the core-area of the remnant bear population (645 km² study area. Other parameters of human disturbance and livestock densities, were considered at the scale of the municipality. Bears positively selected deciduous forest but seemed to avoid areas with intensive pasture activity, mainly of horses and sheep, despite the latter being a potential prey. Habitats containing large amounts of bare rock, farmland and urbanised areas were avoided. There were no significant

  7. Field metabolic rate and PCB adipose tissue deposition efficiency in East Greenland polar bears derived from contaminant monitoring data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlova, Viola; Nabe-Nielsen, Jacob; Dietz, Rune; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Vorkamp, Katrin; Rigét, Frank Farsø; Sonne, Christian; Letcher, Robert J; Grimm, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Climate change will increasingly affect the natural habitat and diet of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Understanding the energetic needs of polar bears is therefore important. We developed a theoretical method for estimating polar bear food consumption based on using the highly recalcitrant polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener, 2,2',4,4',55-hexaCB (CB153) in bear adipose tissue as an indicator of food intake. By comparing the CB153 tissue concentrations in wild polar bears with estimates from a purposely designed individual-based model, we identified the possible combinations of field metabolic rates (FMR) and CB153 deposition efficiencies in East Greenland polar bears. Our simulations indicate that if 30% of the CB153 consumed by polar bear individuals were deposited into their adipose tissue, the corresponding FMR would be only two times the basal metabolic rate. In contrast, if the modelled CB153 deposition efficiency were 10%, adult polar bears would require six times more energy than that needed to cover basal metabolism. This is considerably higher than what has been assumed for polar bears in previous studies though it is similar to FMRs found in other marine mammals. An implication of this result is that even relatively small reductions in future feeding opportunities could impact the survival of East Greenland polar bears.

  8. Field metabolic rate and PCB adipose tissue deposition efficiency in East Greenland polar bears derived from contaminant monitoring data.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Viola Pavlova

    Full Text Available Climate change will increasingly affect the natural habitat and diet of polar bears (Ursus maritimus. Understanding the energetic needs of polar bears is therefore important. We developed a theoretical method for estimating polar bear food consumption based on using the highly recalcitrant polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB congener, 2,2',4,4',55-hexaCB (CB153 in bear adipose tissue as an indicator of food intake. By comparing the CB153 tissue concentrations in wild polar bears with estimates from a purposely designed individual-based model, we identified the possible combinations of field metabolic rates (FMR and CB153 deposition efficiencies in East Greenland polar bears. Our simulations indicate that if 30% of the CB153 consumed by polar bear individuals were deposited into their adipose tissue, the corresponding FMR would be only two times the basal metabolic rate. In contrast, if the modelled CB153 deposition efficiency were 10%, adult polar bears would require six times more energy than that needed to cover basal metabolism. This is considerably higher than what has been assumed for polar bears in previous studies though it is similar to FMRs found in other marine mammals. An implication of this result is that even relatively small reductions in future feeding opportunities could impact the survival of East Greenland polar bears.

  9. Decreased bone turnover with balanced resorption and formation prevent cortical bone loss during disuse (hibernation) in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGee, Meghan E; Maki, Aaron J; Johnson, Steven E; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Donahue, Seth W

    2008-02-01

    Disuse uncouples bone formation from resorption, leading to increased porosity, decreased bone geometrical properties, and decreased bone mineral content which compromises bone mechanical properties and increases fracture risk. However, black bear bone properties are not adversely affected by aging despite annual periods of disuse (i.e., hibernation), which suggests that bears either prevent bone loss during disuse or lose bone and subsequently recover it at a faster rate than other animals. Here we show decreased cortical bone turnover during hibernation with balanced formation and resorption in grizzly bear femurs. Hibernating grizzly bear femurs were less porous and more mineralized, and did not demonstrate any changes in cortical bone geometry or whole bone mechanical properties compared to active grizzly bear femurs. The activation frequency of intracortical remodeling was 75% lower during hibernation than during periods of physical activity, but the normalized mineral apposition rate was unchanged. These data indicate that bone turnover decreases during hibernation, but osteons continue to refill at normal rates. There were no changes in regional variation of porosity, geometry, or remodeling indices in femurs from hibernating bears, indicating that hibernation did not preferentially affect one region of the cortex. Thus, grizzly bears prevent bone loss during disuse by decreasing bone turnover and maintaining balanced formation and resorption, which preserves bone structure and strength. These results support the idea that bears possess a biological mechanism to prevent disuse osteoporosis.

  10. Recent observations of intraspecific predation and cannibalism among polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.; Smith, T.S.; Perham, C.; Thiemann, G.W.

    2006-01-01

    Intraspecific killing has been reported among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus). Although cannibalism is one motivation for such killings, the ecological factors mediating such events are poorly understood. Between 24 January and 10 April 2004, we confirmed three instances of intraspecific predation and cannibalism in the Beaufort Sea. One of these, the first of this type ever reported for polar bears, was a parturient female killed at her maternal den. The predating bear was hunting in a known maternal denning area and apparently discovered the den by scent. A second predation event involved an adult female and cub recently emerged from their den, and the third involved a yearling male. During 24 years of research on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska and 34 years in northwestern Canada, we have not seen other incidents of polar bears stalking, killing, and eating other polar bears. We hypothesize that nutritional stresses related to the longer ice-free seasons that have occurred in the Beaufort Sea in recent years may have led to the cannibalism incidents we observed in 2004. ?? Springer-Verlag 2006.

  11. Remote biopsy darting and marking of polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pagano, Anthony M.; Peacock, Elizabeth; McKinney, Melissa A.

    2014-01-01

    Remote biopsy darting of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is less invasive and time intensive than physical capture and is therefore useful when capture is challenging or unsafe. We worked with two manufacturers to develop a combination biopsy and marking dart for use on polar bears. We had an 80% success rate of collecting a tissue sample with a single biopsy dart and collected tissue samples from 143 polar bears on land, in water, and on sea ice. Dye marks ensured that 96% of the bears were not resampled during the same sampling period, and we recovered 96% of the darts fired. Biopsy heads with 5 mm diameters collected an average of 0.12 g of fur, tissue, and subcutaneous adipose tissue, while biopsy heads with 7 mm diameters collected an average of 0.32 g. Tissue samples were 99.3% successful (142 of 143 samples) in providing a genetic and sex identification of individuals. We had a 64% success rate collecting adipose tissue and we successfully examined fatty acid signatures in all adipose samples. Adipose lipid content values were lower compared to values from immobilized or harvested polar bears, indicating that our method was not suitable for quantifying adipose lipid content.

  12. Mercury and cortisol in Western Hudson Bay polar bear hair.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshoft, T; Derocher, A E; Richardson, E; Mislan, P; Lunn, N J; Sonne, C; Dietz, R; Janz, D M; St Louis, V L

    2015-08-01

    Non-invasive methods of assessing animal health and life history are becoming increasingly popular in wildlife research; hair samples from polar bears (Ursus maritimus), are being used to study an ever broader range of anthropogenic and endocrine compounds. A number of contaminants are known to disrupt endocrine function in polar bears. However, the relationship between mercury and cortisol remains unknown, although mercury is an endocrine disruptor in other species. Here, we examine the relationship between concentrations of cortisol and total mercury (THg) analyzed in guard hair from 378 polar bears (184 females, 194 males) sampled in Western Hudson Bay, 2004-2012. The difference in mean cortisol concentration between female (0.8 ± 0.6 pg/mg) and male (0.7 ± 0.5 pg/mg) polar bears bordered on significance (p = 0.054). However, mean mercury concentration was significantly greater (p = 0.009) in females (4.7 ± 1.4 μg/g) than males (4.3 ± 1.2 μg/g). Hair cortisol in males was significantly influenced by mercury, age, and fatness, as well as interactions between mercury and year, mercury and fatness, and year and fatness (all: p polar bears.

  13. Six months of disuse during hibernation does not increase intracortical porosity or decrease cortical bone geometry, strength, or mineralization in black bear (Ursus americanus) femurs

    OpenAIRE

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E.; Wojda, Samantha J.; Barlow, Lindsay N.; Drummer, Thomas D.; Bunnell, Kevin; Auger, Janene; Black, Hal L.; Donahue, Seth W.

    2009-01-01

    Disuse typically uncouples bone formation from resorption, leading to bone loss which compromises bone mechanical properties and increases the risk of bone fracture. Previous studies suggest that bears can prevent bone loss during long periods of disuse (hibernation), but small sample sizes have limited the conclusions that can be drawn regarding the effects of hibernation on bone structure and strength in bears. Here we quantified the effects of hibernation on structural, mineral, and mechan...

  14. Decreased bone turnover with balanced resorption and formation prevent cortical bone loss during disuse (hibernation) in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis)

    OpenAIRE

    McGee, Meghan E.; Maki, Aaron J.; Johnson, Steven E.; Lynne Nelson, O.; Robbins, Charles T.; Donahue, Seth W.

    2007-01-01

    Disuse uncouples bone formation from resorption, leading to increased porosity, decreased bone geometrical properties, and decreased bone mineral content which compromises bone mechanical properties and increases fracture risk. However, black bear bone properties are not adversely affected by aging despite annual periods of disuse (i.e., hibernation), which suggests that bears either prevent bone loss during disuse or lose bone and subsequently recover it at a faster rate than other animals. ...

  15. A circumpolar monitoring framework for polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vongraven, Dag; Aars, Jon; Amstrup, Steven C.; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W.; DeBruyn, T.D.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Durner, George M.; Gill, Michael J.; Lunn, Nicholas J.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Omelak, Jack; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Peacock, Elizabeth; Richardson, E.E.; Sahanatien, Vicki; Stirling, Ian; Wiig, Øystein

    2012-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) occupy remote regions that are characterized by harsh weather and limited access. Polar bear populations can only persist where temporal and spatial availability of sea ice provides adequate access to their marine mammal prey. Observed declines in sea ice availability will continue as long as greenhouse gas concentrations rise. At the same time, human intrusion and pollution levels in the Arctic are expected to increase. A circumpolar understanding of the cumulative impacts of current and future stressors is lacking, long-term trends are known from only a few subpopulations, and there is no globally coordinated effort to monitor effects of stressors. Here, we describe a framework for an integrated circumpolar monitoring plan to detect ongoing patterns, predict future trends, and identify the most vulnerable polar bear subpopulations. We recommend strategies for monitoring subpopulation abundance and trends, reproduction, survival, ecosystem change, human-caused mortality, human–bear conflict, prey availability, health, stature, distribution, behavioral change, and the effects that monitoring itself may have on polar bears. We assign monitoring intensity for each subpopulation through adaptive assessment of the quality of existing baseline data and research accessibility. A global perspective is achieved by recommending high intensity monitoring for at least one subpopulation in each of four major polar bear ecoregions. Collection of data on harvest, where it occurs, and remote sensing of habitat, should occur with the same intensity for all subpopulations. We outline how local traditional knowledge may most effectively be combined with the best scientific methods to provide comparable and complementary lines of evidence. We also outline how previously collected intensive monitoring data may be sub-sampled to guide future sampling frequencies and develop indirect estimates or indices of subpopulation status. Adoption of this framework

  16. Mass Loss Rates of Fasting Polar Bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilfold, Nicholas W; Hedman, Daryll; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E; Lunn, Nicholas J; Richardson, Evan

    2016-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have adapted to an annual cyclic regime of feeding and fasting, which is extreme in seasonal sea ice regions of the Arctic. As a consequence of climate change, sea ice breakup has become earlier and the duration of the open-water period through which polar bears must rely on fat reserves has increased. To date, there is limited empirical data with which to evaluate the potential energetic capacity of polar bears to withstand longer fasts. We measured the incoming and outgoing mass of inactive polar bears (n = 142) that were temporarily detained by Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship during the open-water period near the town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, in 2009-2014. Polar bears were given access to water but not food and held for a median length of 17 d. Median mass loss rates were 1.0 kg/d, while median mass-specific loss rates were 0.5%/d, similar to other species with high adiposity and prolonged fasting capacities. Mass loss by unfed captive adult males was identical to that lost by free-ranging individuals, suggesting that terrestrial feeding contributes little to offset mass loss. The inferred metabolic rate was comparable to a basal mammalian rate, suggesting that while on land, polar bears can maintain a depressed metabolic rate to conserve energy. Finally, we estimated time to starvation for subadults and adult males for the on-land period. Results suggest that at 180 d of fasting, 56%-63% of subadults and 18%-24% of adult males in this study would die of starvation. Results corroborate previous assessments on the limits of polar bear capacity to withstand lengthening ice-free seasons and emphasize the greater sensitivity of subadults to changes in sea ice phenology.

  17. Seasonal regulation of the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-I axis in the American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blumenthal, Stanley; Morgan-Boyd, Rebecca; Nelson, Ralph; Garshelis, David L; Turyk, Mary E; Unterman, Terry

    2011-10-01

    The American black bear maintains lean body mass for months without food during winter denning. We asked whether changes in the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-I (GH-IGF-I) axis may contribute to this remarkable adaptation to starvation. Serum IGF-I levels were measured by radioimmunoassay, and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) were analyzed by ligand blotting. Initial studies in bears living in the wild showed that IGF-I levels are highest in summer and lowest in early winter denning. Detailed studies in captive bears showed that IGF-I levels decline in autumn when bears are hyperphagic, continue to decline in early denning, and later rise above predenning levels despite continued starvation in the den. IGFBP-2 increased and IGFBP-3 decreased in early denning, and these changes were also reversed in later denning. Treatment with GH (0.1 mg·kg(-1)·day(-1) × 6 days) during early denning increased serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 and lowered levels of IGFBP-2, indicating that denning bears remain responsive to GH. GH treatment lowered blood urea nitrogen levels, reflecting effects on protein metabolism. GH also accelerated weight loss and markedly increased serum levels of free fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate, resulting in a ketoacidosis (bicarbonate decreased to 15 meq/l), which was reversed when GH was withdrawn. These results demonstrate seasonal regulation of GH/IGF-I axis activity in black bears. Diminished GH activity may promote fat storage in autumn in preparation for denning and prevent excessive mobilization and premature exhaustion of fat stores in early denning, whereas restoration of GH/IGF activity in later denning may prepare the bear for normal activity outside the den.

  18. Improving sperm banking efficiency in endangered species through the use of a sperm selection method in brown bear (Ursus arctos) thawed sperm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anel-Lopez, L; Ortega-Ferrusola, C; Álvarez, M; Borragán, S; Chamorro, C; Peña, F J; Morrell, J; Anel, L; de Paz, P

    2017-06-26

    Sperm selection methods such as Single Layer Centrifugation (SLC) have been demonstrated to be a useful tool to improve the quality of sperm samples and therefore to increase the efficiency of other artificial reproductive techniques in several species. This procedure could help to improve the quality of genetic resource banks, which is essential for endangered species. In contrast, these sperm selection methods are optimized and focused on farm animals, where the recovery task is not as important as in endangered species because of their higher sperm availability. The aim of this study was to evaluate two centrifugation methods (300 x g/20 min and 600 x g/10 min) and three concentrations of SLC media (Androcoll-Bear -80, 65 and 50%) to optimise the procedure in order to recover as many sperm with the highest quality as possible. Sperm morphology could be important in the hydrodynamic relationship between the cell and centrifugation medium and thus the effect of sperm head morphometry on sperm yield and its hydrodynamic relationship were studied. The samples selected with Androcoll-Bear 65% showed a very good yield (53.1 ± 2.9) although the yield from Androcoll-Bear 80% was lower (19.3 ± 3.3). The latter showed higher values of motility than the control immediately after post-thawing selection. However, both concentrations of colloid (65 and 80%) showed higher values of viable sperm and viable sperm with intact acrosome than the control. After an incubation of 2 h at 37 °C, the samples from Androcoll-Bear 80% had higher kinematics and proportion of viable sperm with intact acrosome. In the morphometric analysis, the sperm selected by the Androcoll-Bear 80% showed a head with a bigger area which was more elongated than the sperm from other treatments. We conclude that sperm selection with Androcoll-Bear at either 65% or 80% is a suitable technique that allows a sperm population with better quality than the initial sample to be obtained. We recommend the

  19. Testing landscape modeling approaches for environmental impact assessment of mining land use on grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the foothills region of west central Alberta

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Symbaluk, M.D. [Elk Valley Coal Corp., Hinton, AB (Canada). Cardinal River Operations

    2008-07-01

    The Cheviot open pit coal mine is located on the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) requirements for the mining project included an assessment of the cumulative effects of past, existing, and immanent activities on a 3040 km{sup 2} study area radiating approximately 25 km around the proposed project area. The grizzly bear was identified as a flagship valued ecosystem component (VEC) for assessing the regional cumulative effects of the proposed Cheviot project. In this portion of the study, a grizzly bear habitat effectiveness model was used to monitor grizzly bear response to mining land use in the study area. An investigation of grizzly bear movement paths prior to and during mine disturbances demonstrated that mining land use does not present significant barriers to grizzly bear activities. The study demonstrated the importance of using inductive modelling tools at appropriate scales, as well as the use of site-specific empirical data. It was concluded that continued monitoring of mining sites is needed to ensure that adaptive management processes are improved. A review of the Cheviot cumulative environmental effects (CEA) process was also provided. 17 refs., 1 fig.

  20. Projected polar bear sea ice habitat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen G Hamilton

    Full Text Available Sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering physical characteristics of marine ecosystems. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus have been identified as vulnerable to changes in sea ice conditions. We use sea ice projections for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from 2006 - 2100 to gain insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears with respect to habitat loss using metrics developed from polar bear energetics modeling.Shifts away from multiyear ice to annual ice cover throughout the region, as well as lengthening ice-free periods, may become critical for polar bears before the end of the 21st century with projected warming. Each polar bear population in the Archipelago may undergo 2-5 months of ice-free conditions, where no such conditions exist presently. We identify spatially and temporally explicit ice-free periods that extend beyond what polar bears require for nutritional and reproductive demands.Under business-as-usual climate projections, polar bears may face starvation and reproductive failure across the entire Archipelago by the year 2100.

  1. Projected polar bear sea ice habitat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamilton, Stephen G; Castro de la Guardia, Laura; Derocher, Andrew E; Sahanatien, Vicki; Tremblay, Bruno; Huard, David

    2014-01-01

    Sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering physical characteristics of marine ecosystems. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have been identified as vulnerable to changes in sea ice conditions. We use sea ice projections for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from 2006 - 2100 to gain insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears with respect to habitat loss using metrics developed from polar bear energetics modeling. Shifts away from multiyear ice to annual ice cover throughout the region, as well as lengthening ice-free periods, may become critical for polar bears before the end of the 21st century with projected warming. Each polar bear population in the Archipelago may undergo 2-5 months of ice-free conditions, where no such conditions exist presently. We identify spatially and temporally explicit ice-free periods that extend beyond what polar bears require for nutritional and reproductive demands. Under business-as-usual climate projections, polar bears may face starvation and reproductive failure across the entire Archipelago by the year 2100.

  2. Polar bear maternity denning in the Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Gardner, Craig L.

    1994-01-01

    The distribution of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is circumpolar in the NOrthern Hemisphere, but known locations of maternal dens are concentrated in relatively few, widely scattered locations. Denning is either uncommon or unknown within gaps. To understand effects of industrial development and propose increases in hunting, the temporal and spatial distribution of denning in the Beaufort Sea must be known. We caputred and radiocollared polar bears between 1981 and 1991 and determined tht denning in the Beaufort Sea region was sufficient to account for the estimated population there. Of 90 dend, 48 were on drifting pack ice, 38 on land, and 4 on land-fast ice. The portions of dens on land was higher (P= 0.029) in later compared with earlier years of the study. Bears denning on pack ice drifting as far as 997 km (x=385km) while in dens. there was no difference in cun production by bears denning on land and pack ice (P =0.66). Mean entry and exit dates were 11 November and 5 April for land dens and 22 November and 26 March for pack-ice dens. Female polar bears captured in the Beaufort Sea appeared to be isolated from those caught eat of Cape Bathurst in Canada. Of 35 polar bears that denned along the mainland coast of Alaska and Canada 80% denned between 137 00'W snf 146 59'W. Bears followed to >1 den did not reuse sites and consecutive dens were 20-1,304 km apart. However radio-collared bears are largely faithful to substrate (pack-ice, land, and land-fast ice) and the general geographic area of previous dens. Bears denning on land may be vunerable to human activities such as hunting and industrial development. However, predictable denning chronology and alck of site fidelity indicate that many potential impacts on denning polar bears could be mitigated.

  3. Effects of intratesticular zinc gluconate treatment on testicular dimensions, echodensity, histology, sperm production, and testosterone secretion in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brito, Leonardo F C; Sertich, Patricia L; Rives, William; Knobbe, Marc; Del Piero, Fabio; Stull, Gordon B

    2011-05-01

    Eight adult American black bears were used to evaluate the effects of chemical castration by intratesticular zinc gluconate treatment on testicular dimensions, echodensity, histology, sperm production, and testosterone secretion. Treatment did not affect testicular dimensions and did not result in decreased resting or GnRH-stimulated testosterone secretion. Multifocal hyperchoic areas in the testicular parenchyma were observed on ultrasound examination, and white foci were observed on gross pathology examination after zinc gluconate treatment. Histologically, there were normal seminiferous tubules containing either round or elongated spermatids, along with abnormal tubules in all bears after treatment. Vacuolation of the seminiferous epithelium, sloughing of germ cells into the tubules' lumen, presence of multinuclear giant cells, and reduced height of the seminiferous epithelium with missing generations of germ cells were commonly observed. The most severe testicular changes were multifocal and included fibrosis, complete degeneration of the seminiferous epithelium with shrinkage of the tubule, and sperm stasis. Epididymal sperm reserve was 982.74 ± 654.16 × 10(6) sperm (mean ± SEM) and motile sperm were observed in the epididymis of all but one of the bears. In conclusion, although intratesticular zinc gluconate treatment in black bears resulted in testicular degenerative changes detected by ultrasound and histology examinations, sperm production was not completely ablated. We inferred that normal fertility might have been compromised, but treatment unlikely resulted in sterility. Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  4. Computed tomographic, magnetic resonance imaging, and cross-sectional anatomic features of the manus in a normal American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ober, C P; Freeman, L E

    2010-06-01

    The purpose of this study was to provide a detailed description of cross-sectional anatomic structures of the manus of a black bear cadaver and correlate anatomic findings with corresponding features in computed tomographic (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) images. CT, MR imaging, and transverse sectioning were performed on the thoracic limb of a cadaver female black bear which had no evidence of lameness or thoracic limb abnormality prior to death. Features in CT and MR images corresponding to clinically important anatomic structures in anatomic sections were identified. Most of the structures identified in transverse anatomic sections were also identified using CT and MR imaging. Bones, muscles and tendons were generally easily identified with both imaging modalities, although divisions between adjacent muscles were rarely visible with CT and only visible sometimes with MR imaging. Vascular structures could not be identified with either imaging modality.

  5. Genetic health and population monitoring of two small black bear (Ursus americanus populations in Alabama, with a regional perspective of genetic diversity and exchange.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John P Draper

    Full Text Available One of the major concerns in conservation today is the loss of genetic diversity which is a frequent consequence of population isolation and small population sizes. Fragmentation of populations and persecution of carnivores has posed a substantial threat to the persistence of free ranging carnivores in North America since the arrival of European settlers. Black bears have seen significant reductions in range size from their historic extent, which is most pronounced in the southeastern United States and even more starkly in Alabama where until recently bears were reduced to a single geographically isolated population in the Mobile River Basin. Recently a second population has naturally re-established itself in northeastern Alabama. We sought to determine size, genetic diversity and genetic connectivity for these two populations in relation to other regional populations. Both populations of black bears in Alabama had small population sizes and had moderate to low genetic diversity, but showed different levels of connectivity to surrounding populations of bears. The Mobile River Basin population had a small population size at only 86 individuals (76-124, 95% C.I., the lowest genetic diversity of compared populations (richness = 2.33, Ho and He = 0.33, and showed near complete genetic isolation from surrounding populations across multiple tests. The newly recolonizing population in northeastern Alabama had a small but growing population doubling in 3 years (34 individuals 26-43, 95% C.I., relatively moderate genetic diversity compared to surrounding populations (richness = 3.32, Ho = 0.53, He = 0.65, and showed a high level of genetic connectivity with surrounding populations.

  6. Genetic health and population monitoring of two small black bear (Ursus americanus) populations in Alabama, with a regional perspective of genetic diversity and exchange.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Draper, John P; Waits, Lisette P; Adams, Jennifer R; Seals, Christopher L; Steury, Todd D

    2017-01-01

    One of the major concerns in conservation today is the loss of genetic diversity which is a frequent consequence of population isolation and small population sizes. Fragmentation of populations and persecution of carnivores has posed a substantial threat to the persistence of free ranging carnivores in North America since the arrival of European settlers. Black bears have seen significant reductions in range size from their historic extent, which is most pronounced in the southeastern United States and even more starkly in Alabama where until recently bears were reduced to a single geographically isolated population in the Mobile River Basin. Recently a second population has naturally re-established itself in northeastern Alabama. We sought to determine size, genetic diversity and genetic connectivity for these two populations in relation to other regional populations. Both populations of black bears in Alabama had small population sizes and had moderate to low genetic diversity, but showed different levels of connectivity to surrounding populations of bears. The Mobile River Basin population had a small population size at only 86 individuals (76-124, 95% C.I.), the lowest genetic diversity of compared populations (richness = 2.33, Ho and He = 0.33), and showed near complete genetic isolation from surrounding populations across multiple tests. The newly recolonizing population in northeastern Alabama had a small but growing population doubling in 3 years (34 individuals 26-43, 95% C.I.), relatively moderate genetic diversity compared to surrounding populations (richness = 3.32, Ho = 0.53, He = 0.65), and showed a high level of genetic connectivity with surrounding populations.

  7. Growth trajectories in the cave bear and its extant relatives: an examination of ontogenetic patterns in phylogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuchs, Manuela; Geiger, Madeleine; Stange, Madlen; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2015-11-02

    The study of postnatal ontogeny can provide insights into evolution by offering an understanding of how growth trajectories have evolved resulting in adult morphological disparity. The Ursus lineage is a good subject for studying cranial and mandibular shape and size variation in relation to postnatal ontogeny and phylogeny because it is at the same time not diverse but the species exhibit different feeding ecologies. Cranial and mandibular shapes of Ursus arctos (brown bear), U. maritimus (polar bear), U. americanus (American black bear), and the extinct U. spelaeus (cave bear) were examined, using a three-dimensional geometric morphometric approach. Additionally, ontogenetic series of crania and mandibles of U. arctos and U. spelaeus ranging from newborns to senile age were sampled. The distribution of specimens in morphospace allowed to distinguish species and age classes and the ontogenetic trajectories U. arctos and U. spelaeus were found to be more similar than expected by chance. Cranial shape changes during ontogeny are largely size related whereas the evolution of cranial shape disparity in this clade appears to be more influenced by dietary adaptation than by size and phylogeny. The different feeding ecologies are reflected in different cranial and mandibular shapes among species. The cranial and mandibular shape disparity in the Ursus lineage appears to be more influenced by adaptation to diet than by size or phylogeny. In contrast, the cranial and mandibular shape changes during postnatal ontogeny in U. arctos and U. spelaeus are probably largely size related. The patterns of morphospace occupation of the cranium and the mandible in adults and through ontogeny are different.

  8. Was the Giant Short-Faced Bear a Hyper-Scavenger? A New Approach to the Dietary Study of Ursids Using Dental Microwear Textures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donohue, Shelly L.; DeSantis, Larisa R. G.; Schubert, Blaine W.; Ungar, Peter S.

    2013-01-01

    Dramatic environmental changes associated with global cooling since the late Miocene, and the onset of glacial-interglacial cycles in the Pleistocene served as a backdrop to the evolutionary radiation of modern bears (family Ursidae). These environmental changes likely prompted changes in food availability, and triggered dietary adaptations that served as motive forces in ursid evolution. Here, we assess correspondence of dental microwear textures of first and second lower molars with diet in extant ursids. We use the resulting baseline data to evaluate the hypothesis that the Pleistocene giant short-faced bear, Arctodus simus, was a bone consumer and hyper-scavenger at Rancho La Brea, California, USA. Significant variation along the tooth row is consistent with functional differentiation, with the second molar serving as a better dietary recorder than the first. Results evince significant variation among species: carnivorous and omnivorous ursids (Ursus maritimus, U. americanus) have significantly higher and more variable complexity (Asfc) than more herbivorous ones (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Tremarctos ornatus, U. malayanus), and A. melanoleuca is differentiated from U. maritimus and U. americanus by significantly higher and more variable anisotropy (epLsar) values. Arctodus simus from Rancho La Brea exhibits wear attributes most comparable to its closest living relative (T. ornatus), which is inconsistent with hard-object (e.g., bone) consumption, and the hypothesis that short-faced bears were bone consuming hyper-scavengers across their range. PMID:24204860

  9. Was the giant short-faced bear a hyper-scavenger? A new approach to the dietary study of ursids using dental microwear textures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donohue, Shelly L; DeSantis, Larisa R G; Schubert, Blaine W; Ungar, Peter S

    2013-01-01

    Dramatic environmental changes associated with global cooling since the late Miocene, and the onset of glacial-interglacial cycles in the Pleistocene served as a backdrop to the evolutionary radiation of modern bears (family Ursidae). These environmental changes likely prompted changes in food availability, and triggered dietary adaptations that served as motive forces in ursid evolution. Here, we assess correspondence of dental microwear textures of first and second lower molars with diet in extant ursids. We use the resulting baseline data to evaluate the hypothesis that the Pleistocene giant short-faced bear, Arctodus simus, was a bone consumer and hyper-scavenger at Rancho La Brea, California, USA. Significant variation along the tooth row is consistent with functional differentiation, with the second molar serving as a better dietary recorder than the first. Results evince significant variation among species: carnivorous and omnivorous ursids (Ursus maritimus, U. americanus) have significantly higher and more variable complexity (Asfc) than more herbivorous ones (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Tremarctos ornatus, U. malayanus), and A. melanoleuca is differentiated from U. maritimus and U. americanus by significantly higher and more variable anisotropy (epLsar) values. Arctodus simus from Rancho La Brea exhibits wear attributes most comparable to its closest living relative (T. ornatus), which is inconsistent with hard-object (e.g., bone) consumption, and the hypothesis that short-faced bears were bone consuming hyper-scavengers across their range.

  10. Was the giant short-faced bear a hyper-scavenger? A new approach to the dietary study of ursids using dental microwear textures.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shelly L Donohue

    Full Text Available Dramatic environmental changes associated with global cooling since the late Miocene, and the onset of glacial-interglacial cycles in the Pleistocene served as a backdrop to the evolutionary radiation of modern bears (family Ursidae. These environmental changes likely prompted changes in food availability, and triggered dietary adaptations that served as motive forces in ursid evolution. Here, we assess correspondence of dental microwear textures of first and second lower molars with diet in extant ursids. We use the resulting baseline data to evaluate the hypothesis that the Pleistocene giant short-faced bear, Arctodus simus, was a bone consumer and hyper-scavenger at Rancho La Brea, California, USA. Significant variation along the tooth row is consistent with functional differentiation, with the second molar serving as a better dietary recorder than the first. Results evince significant variation among species: carnivorous and omnivorous ursids (Ursus maritimus, U. americanus have significantly higher and more variable complexity (Asfc than more herbivorous ones (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Tremarctos ornatus, U. malayanus, and A. melanoleuca is differentiated from U. maritimus and U. americanus by significantly higher and more variable anisotropy (epLsar values. Arctodus simus from Rancho La Brea exhibits wear attributes most comparable to its closest living relative (T. ornatus, which is inconsistent with hard-object (e.g., bone consumption, and the hypothesis that short-faced bears were bone consuming hyper-scavengers across their range.

  11. White-beaked dolphins trapped in the ice and eaten by polar bears

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jon Aars

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Polar bears (Ursus maritimus depend on sea ice, where they hunt ice-associated seals. However, they are opportunistic predators and scavengers with a long list of known prey species. Here we report from a small fjord in Svalbard, Norwegian High Arctic, a sighting of an adult male polar bear preying on two white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris on 23 April 2014. This is the first record of this species as polar bear prey. White-beaked dolphins are frequent visitors to Svalbard waters in summer, but have not previously been reported this far north in early spring. We suggest they were trapped in the ice after strong northerly winds the days before, and possibly killed when forced to surface for air at a small opening in the ice. The bear had consumed most parts of one dolphin. When observed he was in the process of covering the mostly intact second dolphin with snow. Such caching behaviour is generally considered untypical of polar bears. During the following ice-free summer and autumn, at least seven different white-beaked dolphin carcasses were observed in or near the same area. We suggest, based on the area and the degree to which these dolphins had decayed, that they were likely from the same pod and also suffered death due to entrapment in the ice in April. At least six different polar bears were seen scavenging on the carcasses.

  12. Testing methods for using high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor polar bear abundance and distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaRue, Michelle A.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Porter, Claire; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Atwood, Todd C.; Dyck, Markus; Lecomte, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution satellite imagery is a promising tool for providing coarse information about polar species abundance and distribution, but current applications are limited. With polar bears (Ursus maritimus), the technique has only proven effective on landscapes with little topographic relief that are devoid of snow and ice, and time-consuming manual review of imagery is required to identify bears. Here, we evaluated mechanisms to further develop methods for satellite imagery by examining data from Rowley Island, Canada. We attempted to automate and expedite detection via a supervised spectral classification and image differencing to expedite image review. We also assessed what proportion of a region should be sampled to obtain reliable estimates of density and abundance. Although the spectral signature of polar bears differed from nontarget objects, these differences were insufficient to yield useful results via a supervised classification process. Conversely, automated image differencing—or subtracting one image from another—correctly identified nearly 90% of polar bear locations. This technique, however, also yielded false positives, suggesting that manual review will still be required to confirm polar bear locations. On Rowley Island, bear distribution approximated a Poisson distribution across a range of plot sizes, and resampling suggests that sampling >50% of the site facilitates reliable estimation of density (CV in certain areas, but large-scale applications remain limited because of the challenges in automation and the limited environments in which the method can be effectively applied. Improvements in resolution may expand opportunities for its future uses.

  13. Testing methods for using high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor polar bear abundance and distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaRue, Michelle A.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Porter, Claire; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Atwood, Todd C.; Dyck, Markus; Lecomte, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution satellite imagery is a promising tool for providing coarse information about polar species abundance and distribution, but current applications are limited. With polar bears (Ursus maritimus), the technique has only proven effective on landscapes with little topographic relief that are devoid of snow and ice, and time-consuming manual review of imagery is required to identify bears. Here, we evaluated mechanisms to further develop methods for satellite imagery by examining data from Rowley Island, Canada. We attempted to automate and expedite detection via a supervised spectral classification and image differencing to expedite image review. We also assessed what proportion of a region should be sampled to obtain reliable estimates of density and abundance. Although the spectral signature of polar bears differed from nontarget objects, these differences were insufficient to yield useful results via a supervised classification process. Conversely, automated image differencing—or subtracting one image from another—correctly identified nearly 90% of polar bear locations. This technique, however, also yielded false positives, suggesting that manual review will still be required to confirm polar bear locations. On Rowley Island, bear distribution approximated a Poisson distribution across a range of plot sizes, and resampling suggests that sampling >50% of the site facilitates reliable estimation of density (CV large-scale applications remain limited because of the challenges in automation and the limited environments in which the method can be effectively applied. Improvements in resolution may expand opportunities for its future uses.

  14. Polar bear encephalitis: establishment of a comprehensive next-generation pathogen analysis pipeline for captive and free-living wildlife.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szentiks, C A; Tsangaras, K; Abendroth, B; Scheuch, M; Stenglein, M D; Wohlsein, P; Heeger, F; Höveler, R; Chen, W; Sun, W; Damiani, A; Nikolin, V; Gruber, A D; Grobbel, M; Kalthoff, D; Höper, D; Czirják, G Á; Derisi, J; Mazzoni, C J; Schüle, A; Aue, A; East, M L; Hofer, H; Beer, M; Osterrieder, N; Greenwood, A D

    2014-05-01

    This report describes three possibly related incidences of encephalitis, two of them lethal, in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Standard diagnostic methods failed to identify pathogens in any of these cases. A comprehensive, three-stage diagnostic 'pipeline' employing both standard serological methods and new DNA microarray and next generation sequencing-based diagnostics was developed, in part as a consequence of this initial failure. This pipeline approach illustrates the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of these tools in determining pathogen caused deaths in non-model organisms such as wildlife species and why the use of a limited number of diagnostic tools may fail to uncover important wildlife pathogens. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller & Heinroth males' den from Velika Pećina in Duboka Near Kučevo, Eastern Serbia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dimitrijević Vesna M.

    2002-01-01

    Full Text Available More a 100 years after the first research in the cave Velika pećina in Duboka near Kučevo cave bear remains were discovered in a small chamber cut off from the passable channels by a 7 m high slope. A whole skull, bones of a forearm in articulation, and other skeleton parts were laying on the cave floor encrusted in travertine cover and in some places overgrown by stalagmites. Bones belonged to adult males, which found there the shelter to hibernate, in a short epizode that ended by closing the channels that once linked this part of the cave to a surface.

  16. Polar bear attacks on humans: Implications of a changing climate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilder, James; Vongraven, Dag; Atwood, Todd C.; Hansen, Bob; Jessen, Amalie; Kochnev, Anatoly A.; York, Geoff; Vallender, Rachel; Hedman, Daryll; Gibbons, Melissa

    2017-01-01

    Understanding causes of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) attacks on humans is critical to ensuring both human safety and polar bear conservation. Although considerable attention has been focused on understanding black (U. americanus) and grizzly (U. arctos) bear conflicts with humans, there have been few attempts to systematically collect, analyze, and interpret available information on human-polar bear conflicts across their range. To help fill this knowledge gap, a database was developed (Polar Bear-Human Information Management System [PBHIMS]) to facilitate the range-wide collection and analysis of human-polar bear conflict data. We populated the PBHIMS with data collected throughout the polar bear range, analyzed polar bear attacks on people, and found that reported attacks have been extremely rare. From 1870–2014, we documented 73 attacks by wild polar bears, distributed among the 5 polar bear Range States (Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia, and United States), which resulted in 20 human fatalities and 63 human injuries. We found that nutritionally stressed adult male polar bears were the most likely to pose threats to human safety. Attacks by adult females were rare, and most were attributed to defense of cubs. We judged that bears acted as a predator in most attacks, and that nearly all attacks involved ≤2 people. Increased concern for both human and bear safety is warranted in light of predictions of increased numbers of nutritionally stressed bears spending longer amounts of time on land near people because of the loss of their sea ice habitat. Improved conflict investigation is needed to collect accurate and relevant data and communicate accurate bear safety messages and mitigation strategies to the public. With better information, people can take proactive measures in polar bear habitat to ensure their safety and prevent conflicts with polar bears. This work represents an important first step towards improving our understanding of factors influencing

  17. Normal sperm morphology and changes of semen characteristics and abnormal morphological spermatozoa among peri-mating seasons in captive japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okano, Tsukasa; Murase, Tetsuma; Nakamura, Sachiko; Komatsu, Takeshi; Tsubota, Toshio; Asano, Makoto

    2009-04-01

    The objectives of this study were to obtain morphological data for normal spermatozoa and to investigate seasonal changes (the early, mid- and post-mating seasons) in abnormal morphology of spermatozoa and the characteristics of semen in Japanese black bears. Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 34 captive male Japanese black bears a total of 74 times. Length of head, width of head, length of midpiece and total length of the spermatozoa were 6.3 +/- 0.4, 4.5 +/- 0.3, 10.4 +/- 0.7 and 69.6 +/- 3.1 mum (mean +/- SD; 20 semen, 200 spermatozoa), respectively. In the semen collected during the mid-mating season, ejaculate volume, ejaculate pH, sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, viability and intact acrosomes were 0.46 +/- 0.36 ml, 7.3 +/- 0.4, 659 +/- 644 x 10(6)/ml, 214 +/- 208 x 10(6), 82.9 +/- 9.6%, 89.3 +/- 9.5% and 97.0 +/- 3.2% (mean +/- SD; n=21, in ejaculate pH n=8), respectively. Sperm motility and viability in the early (n=7) and mid-mating (n=21) seasons were significantly higher than in the post-mating (n=8) season. The rates of detached heads in the early and mid-mating season were significantly lower than in the post-mating season. The main abnormal morphologies observed (mean +/- SD%; n=23) were simply bent tail (19.9 +/- 22.6), distal droplets (13.5 +/- 11.7), proximal droplets (9.6 +/- 7.8), teratoid spermatozoa (6.7 +/- 10.7), knobbed acrosome (4.9 +/- 8.6), acrosome damage (3.7 +/- 2.8) and bent midpiece (3.7 +/- 5.1). The data will be useful for artificial breeding and further research on male reproductive physiology in this species.

  18. Climate change and the increasing impact of polar bears on bird populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jouke eProp

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available The Arctic is becoming warmer at a high rate, and contractions in the extent of sea ice are currently changing the habitats of marine top-predators dependent on ice. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus depend on sea ice for hunting seals. For these top-predators, longer ice-free seasons are hypothesized to force the bears to hunt for alternative terrestrial food, such as eggs from colonial breeding birds. We analyzed time-series of polar bear observations at four locations on Spitsbergen (Svalbard and one in east Greenland. Summer occurrence of polar bears, measured as the probability of encountering bears and the number of days with bear presence, has increased significantly from the 1970/80s to the present. The shifts in polar bear occurrence coincided with trends for shorter sea ice seasons and less sea ice during the spring in the study area. This resulted in a strong inverse relationship between the probability of bear encounters on land and the length of the sea ice season. Within ten years after their first appearance on land, polar bears had advanced their arrival dates by almost 30 days. Direct observations of nest predation showed that polar bears may severely affect reproductive success of the barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis, common eider (Somateria mollissima and glaucous gull (Larus hyperboreus. Nest predation was strongest in years when the polar bears arrived well before hatch, with more than 90% of all nests being predated. The results are similar to findings from Canada, and large-scale processes, such as climate and subsequent habitat changes, are pinpointed as the most likely drivers in various parts of the Arctic. We suggest that the increasing, earlier appearance of bears on land in summer reflects behavioral adaptations by a small segment of the population to cope with a reduced hunting range on sea ice. This exemplifies how behavioral adaptations may contribute to the cascading effects of climate change.

  19. Sex identification of polar bears from blood and tissue samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Garner, G.W.; Cronin, M.A.; Patton, J.C.

    1993-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be adversely affected by hunting and other human perturbations because of low population densities and low reproduction rates. The sustainable take of adult females may be as low as 1.5% of the population. Females and accompanying young are most vulnerable to hunting, and hunters have not consistently reported the sex composition of the harvest, therefore a method to confirm the sexes of polar bears harvested in Alaska is needed. Evidence of the sex of harvested animals is often not available, but blood or other tissue samples often are. We extracted DNA from tissue and blood samples, and amplified segments of zinc finger (ZFX and ZFY) genes from both X and Y chromosomes with the polymerase chain reaction. Digestion of amplified portions of the X chromosome with the restriction enzyme HaeIII resulted in subdivision of the original amplified segment into four smaller fragments. Digestion with HaeIII did not subdivide the original segment amplified from the Y chromosome. The differing fragment sizes produced patterns in gel electrophoresis that distinguished samples from male and female bears 100% of the time. This technique is applicable to the investigation of many wildlife management and research questions.

  20. Longer ice-free seasons increase the risk of nest depredation by polar bears for colonial breeding birds in the Canadian Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iverson, Samuel A; Gilchrist, H Grant; Smith, Paul A; Gaston, Anthony J; Forbes, Mark R

    2014-03-22

    Northern polar regions have warmed more than other parts of the globe potentially amplifying the effects of climate change on biological communities. Ice-free seasons are becoming longer in many areas, which has reduced the time available to polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to hunt for seals and hampered bears' ability to meet their energetic demands. In this study, we examined polar bears' use of an ancillary prey resource, eggs of colonial nesting birds, in relation to diminishing sea ice coverage in a low latitude region of the Canadian Arctic. Long-term monitoring reveals that bear incursions onto common eider (Somateria mollissima) and thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia) nesting colonies have increased greater than sevenfold since the 1980s and that there is an inverse correlation between ice season length and bear presence. In surveys encompassing more than 1000 km of coastline during years of record low ice coverage (2010-2012), we encountered bears or bear sign on 34% of eider colonies and estimated greater egg loss as a consequence of depredation by bears than by more customary nest predators, such as foxes and gulls. Our findings demonstrate how changes in abiotic conditions caused by climate change have altered predator-prey dynamics and are leading to cascading ecological impacts in Arctic ecosystems.

  1. Invariant polar bear habitat selection during a period of sea ice loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R; Regehr, Eric V; Rode, Karyn D; St Martin, Michelle

    2016-08-17

    Climate change is expected to alter many species' habitat. A species' ability to adjust to these changes is partially determined by their ability to adjust habitat selection preferences to new environmental conditions. Sea ice loss has forced polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to spend longer periods annually over less productive waters, which may be a primary driver of population declines. A negative population response to greater time spent over less productive water implies, however, that prey are not also shifting their space use in response to sea ice loss. We show that polar bear habitat selection in the Chukchi Sea has not changed between periods before and after significant sea ice loss, leading to a 75% reduction of highly selected habitat in summer. Summer was the only period with loss of highly selected habitat, supporting the contention that summer will be a critical period for polar bears as sea ice loss continues. Our results indicate that bears are either unable to shift selection patterns to reflect new prey use patterns or that there has not been a shift towards polar basin waters becoming more productive for prey. Continued sea ice loss is likely to further reduce habitat with population-level consequences for polar bears. © 2016 The Author(s).

  2. Hair Mercury Concentrations in Western Hudson Bay Polar Bear Family Groups.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshoft, Thea; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan; Lunn, Nicholas J; St Louis, Vincent L

    2016-05-17

    Methylmercury is one of the more toxic forms of mercury (Hg), the biomagnification of which is prevalent in the Arctic where apex predators such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can carry high loads. The maternal transfer of contaminants to offspring is a concern, as offspring may be particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants during early development. However, few studies of polar bears report on Hg in dependent young. We examined hair total Hg (THg) concentrations in 24 polar bear family groups in western Hudson Bay: mother, cub-of-the-year (COY), yearling, and 2 year old. THg concentrations increased with bear age, with COYs having lower concentrations than other offspring groups (p ≤ 0.008). Using AICc-based regression models, we found maternal THg to be positively related to body condition and litter size, while overall offspring THg was positively related to maternal body condition in addition to being dependent on the sex and age of the offspring. COY THg concentrations were positively related to maternal THg while also depending on the sex of the offspring. Considering our results, future studies in polar bear ecotoxicology are encouraged to include offspring of different ages and sexes.

  3. Anthropogenic flank attack on polar bears: Interacting consequences of climate warming and pollutant exposure

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bjørn Munro Jenssen

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Polar bears (Ursus maritimus are subjected to several anthropogenic threats, climate warming and exposure to pollutants being two of these. For polar bears, one of the main effects of climate warming is limited access to prey, due to loss of their sea ice habitat. This will result in prolonged fasting periods and emaciation and condition related negative effects on survival and reproduction success. Prolonged fasting will result in increases of the tissue concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs in polar bears, and thus increase the probability for POP levels to exceed threshold levels for effects on health, and thus on reproductive success and survival. There are clear potentials for interactions between impacts of climate warming and impacts of pollutant exposure on polar bears. It is likely that that fasting-induced increases of POPs will add to mortality rates and decrease reproductive success beyond effects caused by loss of habitat alone. However, there is a lack of studies that have addressed this. Thus, there is a need to focus on population effects of POP exposure in polar bears, and to consider such effects in relation to the effects of climate induced habitat loss.

  4. Invariant polar bear habitat selection during a period of sea ice loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R.; Regehr, Eric V.; Rode, Karyn D.; St Martin, Michelle

    2016-01-01

    Climate change is expected to alter many species' habitat. A species' ability to adjust to these changes is partially determined by their ability to adjust habitat selection preferences to new environmental conditions. Sea ice loss has forced polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to spend longer periods annually over less productive waters, which may be a primary driver of population declines. A negative population response to greater time spent over less productive water implies, however, that prey are not also shifting their space use in response to sea ice loss. We show that polar bear habitat selection in the Chukchi Sea has not changed between periods before and after significant sea ice loss, leading to a 75% reduction of highly selected habitat in summer. Summer was the only period with loss of highly selected habitat, supporting the contention that summer will be a critical period for polar bears as sea ice loss continues. Our results indicate that bears are either unable to shift selection patterns to reflect new prey use patterns or that there has not been a shift towards polar basin waters becoming more productive for prey. Continued sea ice loss is likely to further reduce habitat with population-level consequences for polar bears.

  5. Increased Land Use by Chukchi Sea Polar Bears in Relation to Changing Sea Ice Conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D; Wilson, Ryan R; Regehr, Eric V; St Martin, Michelle; Douglas, David C; Olson, Jay

    2015-01-01

    Recent observations suggest that polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are increasingly using land habitats in some parts of their range, where they have minimal access to their preferred prey, likely in response to loss of their sea ice habitat associated with climatic warming. We used location data from female polar bears fit with satellite radio collars to compare land use patterns in the Chukchi Sea between two periods (1986-1995 and 2008-2013) when substantial summer sea-ice loss occurred. In both time periods, polar bears predominantly occupied sea-ice, although land was used during the summer sea-ice retreat and during the winter for maternal denning. However, the proportion of bears on land for > 7 days between August and October increased between the two periods from 20.0% to 38.9%, and the average duration on land increased by 30 days. The majority of bears that used land in the summer and for denning came to Wrangel and Herald Islands (Russia), highlighting the importance of these northernmost land habitats to Chukchi Sea polar bears. Where bears summered and denned, and how long they spent there, was related to the timing and duration of sea ice retreat. Our results are consistent with other studies supporting increased land use as a common response of polar bears to sea-ice loss. Implications of increased land use for Chukchi Sea polar bears are unclear, because a recent study observed no change in body condition or reproductive indices between the two periods considered here. This result suggests that the ecology of this region may provide a degree of resilience to sea ice loss. However, projections of continued sea ice loss suggest that polar bears in the Chukchi Sea and other parts of the Arctic may increasingly use land habitats in the future, which has the potential to increase nutritional stress and human-polar bear interactions.

  6. Increased Land Use by Chukchi Sea Polar Bears in Relation to Changing Sea Ice Conditions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karyn D Rode

    Full Text Available Recent observations suggest that polar bears (Ursus maritimus are increasingly using land habitats in some parts of their range, where they have minimal access to their preferred prey, likely in response to loss of their sea ice habitat associated with climatic warming. We used location data from female polar bears fit with satellite radio collars to compare land use patterns in the Chukchi Sea between two periods (1986-1995 and 2008-2013 when substantial summer sea-ice loss occurred. In both time periods, polar bears predominantly occupied sea-ice, although land was used during the summer sea-ice retreat and during the winter for maternal denning. However, the proportion of bears on land for > 7 days between August and October increased between the two periods from 20.0% to 38.9%, and the average duration on land increased by 30 days. The majority of bears that used land in the summer and for denning came to Wrangel and Herald Islands (Russia, highlighting the importance of these northernmost land habitats to Chukchi Sea polar bears. Where bears summered and denned, and how long they spent there, was related to the timing and duration of sea ice retreat. Our results are consistent with other studies supporting increased land use as a common response of polar bears to sea-ice loss. Implications of increased land use for Chukchi Sea polar bears are unclear, because a recent study observed no change in body condition or reproductive indices between the two periods considered here. This result suggests that the ecology of this region may provide a degree of resilience to sea ice loss. However, projections of continued sea ice loss suggest that polar bears in the Chukchi Sea and other parts of the Arctic may increasingly use land habitats in the future, which has the potential to increase nutritional stress and human-polar bear interactions.

  7. What to eat now? Shifts in polar bear diet during the ice-free season in western Hudson Bay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gormezano, Linda J; Rockwell, Robert F

    2013-01-01

    Under current climate trends, spring ice breakup in Hudson Bay is advancing rapidly, leaving polar bears (Ursus maritimus) less time to hunt seals during the spring when they accumulate the majority of their annual fat reserves. For this reason, foods that polar bears consume during the ice-free season may become increasingly important in alleviating nutritional stress from lost seal hunting opportunities. Defining how the terrestrial diet might have changed since the onset of rapid climate change is an important step in understanding how polar bears may be reacting to climate change. We characterized the current terrestrial diet of polar bears in western Hudson Bay by evaluating the contents of passively sampled scat and comparing it to a similar study conducted 40 years ago. While the two terrestrial diets broadly overlap, polar bears currently appear to be exploiting increasingly abundant resources such as caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and snow geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens) and newly available resources such as eggs. This opportunistic shift is similar to the diet mixing strategy common among other Arctic predators and bear species. We discuss whether the observed diet shift is solely a response to a nutritional stress or is an expression of plastic foraging behavior. PMID:24223286

  8. Habitat degradation affects the summer activity of polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ware, Jasmine V; Rode, Karyn D; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F; Douglas, David C; Wilson, Ryan R; Regehr, Eric V; Amstrup, Steven C; Durner, George M; Pagano, Anthony M; Olson, Jay; Robbins, Charles T; Jansen, Heiko T

    2017-05-01

    Understanding behavioral responses of species to environmental change is critical to forecasting population-level effects. Although climate change is significantly impacting species' distributions, few studies have examined associated changes in behavior. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations have varied in their near-term responses to sea ice decline. We examined behavioral responses of two adjacent subpopulations to changes in habitat availability during the annual sea ice minimum using activity data. Location and activity sensor data collected from 1989 to 2014 for 202 adult female polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea (SB) and Chukchi Sea (CS) subpopulations were used to compare activity in three habitat types varying in prey availability: (1) land; (2) ice over shallow, biologically productive waters; and (3) ice over deeper, less productive waters. Bears varied activity across and within habitats with the highest activity at 50-75% sea ice concentration over shallow waters. On land, SB bears exhibited variable but relatively high activity associated with the use of subsistence-harvested bowhead whale carcasses, whereas CS bears exhibited low activity consistent with minimal feeding. Both subpopulations had fewer observations in their preferred shallow-water sea ice habitats in recent years, corresponding with declines in availability of this substrate. The substantially higher use of marginal habitats by SB bears is an additional mechanism potentially explaining why this subpopulation has experienced negative effects of sea ice loss compared to the still-productive CS subpopulation. Variability in activity among, and within, habitats suggests that bears alter their behavior in response to habitat conditions, presumably in an attempt to balance prey availability with energy costs.

  9. Public Perceptions of Bears and Management Interventions in Japan

    OpenAIRE

    Sakurai, Ryo; Jacobson, Susan K.

    2011-01-01

    Conservation of bears is a challenge globally. In Japan, Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) are considered a nuisance because of agricultural and property damage and personal human danger due to occasional human casualties. Reduction of human–bear conflicts in Japan would improve long-term conservation of bears and reduce risks to human health and safety. To understand Japanese perceptions of and experience with bears, we analyzed results of 5 public surveys...

  10. Relative influences of climate change and human activity on the onshore distribution of polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R.; Regehr, Eric V.; St. Martin, Michelle; Atwood, Todd C.; Peacock, Elizabeth; Miller, Susanne; Divoky, George J.

    2017-01-01

    Climate change is altering habitat for many species, leading to shifts in distributions that can increase levels of human-wildlife conflict. To develop effective strategies for minimizing human-wildlife conflict, we must understand the relative influences that climate change and other factors have on wildlife distributions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are increasingly using land during summer and autumn due to sea ice loss, leading to higher incidents of conflict and concerns for human safety. We sought to understand the relative influence of sea ice conditions, onshore habitat characteristics, and human-provisioned food attractants on the distribution and abundance of polar bears while on shore. We also wanted to determine how mitigation measures might reduce human-polar bear conflict associated with an anthropogenic food source. We built a Bayesian hierarchical model based on 14 years of aerial survey data to estimate the weekly number and distribution of polar bears on the coast of northern Alaska in autumn. We then used the model to predict how effective two management options for handling subsistence-harvested whale remains in the community of Kaktovik, Alaska might be. The distribution of bears on shore was most strongly influenced by the presence of whale carcasses and to a lesser extent sea ice and onshore habitat conditions. The numbers of bears on shore were related to sea ice conditions. The two management strategies for handling the whale carcasses reduced the estimated number of bears near Kaktovik by > 75%. By considering multiple factors associated with the onshore distribution and abundance of polar bears we discerned what role human activities played in where bears occur and how successful efforts to manage the whale carcasses might be for reducing human-polar bear conflict.

  11. Polar bear use of a persistent food subsidy: insights from non-invasive genetic sampling in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Herreman, Jason

    2013-01-01

    Remains of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) harvested by Iñupiat whalers are deposited in bone piles along the coast of Alaska and have become persistent and reliable food sources for polar bears (Ursus maritimus). The importance of bone piles to individuals and the population, the patterns of use, and the number, sex, and age of bears using these resources are poorly understood. We implemented barbed-wire hair snaring to obtain genetic identities from bears using the Point Barrow bone pile in winter 2010–11. Eighty-three percent of genotyped samples produced individual and sex identification. We identified 97 bears from 200 samples. Using genetic mark–recapture techniques, we estimated that 228 bears used the bone pile during November to February, which would represent approximately 15% of the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear subpopulation, if all bears were from this subpopulation. We found that polar bears of all age and sex classes simultaneously used the bone pile. More males than females used the bone pile, and males predominated in February, likely because 1/3 of adult females would be denning during this period. On average, bears spent 10 days at the bone pile (median  =  5 days); the probability that an individual bear remained at the bone pile from week to week was 63% for females and 45% for males. Most bears in the sample were detected visiting the bone pile once or twice. We found some evidence of matrilineal fidelity to the bone pile, but the group of animals visiting the bone pile did not differ genetically from the Southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation, nor did patterns of relatedness. We demonstrate that bowhead whale bone piles may be an influential food subsidy for polar bears in the Barrow region in autumn and winter for all sex and age classes.

  12. Reduced body size and cub recruitment in polar bears associated with sea ice decline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Regehr, Eric V.

    2010-01-01

    Rates of reproduction and survival are dependent upon adequate body size and condition of individuals. Declines in size and condition have provided early indicators of population decline in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) near the southern extreme of their range. We tested whether patterns in body size, condition, and cub recruitment of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska were related to the availability of preferred sea ice habitats and whether these measures and habitat availability exhibited trends over time, between 1982 and 2006. The mean skull size and body length of all polar bears over three years of age declined over time, corresponding with long‐term declines in the spatial and temporal availability of sea ice habitat. Body size of young, growing bears declined over time and was smaller after years when sea ice availability was reduced. Reduced litter mass and numbers of yearlings per female following years with lower availability of optimal sea ice habitat, suggest reduced reproductive output and juvenile survival. These results, based on analysis of a long‐term data set, suggest that declining sea ice is associated with nutritional limitations that reduced body size and reproduction in this population.

  13. An experimental investigation of chemical communication in the polar bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Owen, Megan A.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Slocomb, C.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Durner, George M.; Simac, Kristin S.; Pessier, Allan P.

    2015-01-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus), with its wide-ranging movements, solitary existence and seasonal reproduction, is expected to favor chemosignaling over other communication modalities. However, the topography of its Arctic sea ice habitat is generally lacking in stationary vertical substrates routinely used for targeted scent marking in other bears. These environmental constraints may have shaped a marking strategy, unique to polar bears, for widely dispersed continuous dissemination of scent via foot pads. To investigate the role of chemical communication, pedal scents were collected from free-ranging polar bears of different sex and reproductive classes captured on spring sea ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, and presented in a controlled fashion to 26 bears in zoos. Results from behavioral bioassays indicated that bears, especially females, were more likely to approach conspecific scent during the spring than the fall. Male flehmen behavior, indicative of chemosignal delivery to the vomeronasal organ, differentiated scent donor by sex and reproductive condition. Histologic examination of pedal skin collected from two females indicated prominent and profuse apocrine glands in association with large compound hair follicles, suggesting that they may produce scents that function as chemosignals. These results suggest that pedal scent, regardless of origin, conveys information to conspecifics that may facilitate social and reproductive behavior, and that chemical communication in this species has been adaptively shaped by environmental constraints of its habitat. However, continuously distributed scent signals necessary for breeding behavior may prove less effective if current and future environmental conditions cause disruption of scent trails due to increased fracturing of sea ice.

  14. Cortisol levels in hair of East Greenland polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshøft, T Ø; Sonne, C; Dietz, R; Born, E W; Novak, M A; Henchey, E; Meyer, J S

    2011-01-15

    To demonstrate the ability to assess long-term hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity in polar bears (Ursus maritimus), a pilot study was conducted in which cortisol concentrations was analyzed in hair from 7 female (3-19 years) and 10 male (6-19 years) East Greenland polar bears sampled in 1994-2006. The hair was chosen as matrix as it is non-invasive, seasonally harmonized, and has been validated as an index of long-term changes in cortisol levels. The samples were categorized according to contamination: eight were clean (2 females, 6 males), 5 had been contaminated with bear blood (2 F, 3 M), and 4 with bear fat (3 F, 1 M). There was no significant difference in cortisol concentration between the three categories after external contamination was removed. However, contaminated hair samples should be cleaned before cortisol determination. Average hair cortisol concentration was 8.90 pg/mg (range: 5.5 to 16.4 pg/mg). There was no significant correlation between cortisol concentration and age (p=0.81) or sampling year (p=0.11). However, females had higher mean cortisol concentration than males (females mean: 11.0 pg/mg, males: 7.3 pg/mg; p=0.01). The study showed that polar bear hair contains measurable amounts of cortisol and that cortisol in hair may be used in studies of long-term stress in polar bears. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Using satellite telemetry to define spatial population structure in polar bears in the Norwegian and western Russian Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mauritzen, Mette; Derocher, Andrew E.; Wiig, Øystein; Belikov, Stanislav; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Garner, Gerald W.

    2002-01-01

    1. Animal populations, defined by geographical areas within a species’ distribution where population dynamics are largely regulated by births and deaths rather than by migration from surrounding areas, may be the correct unit for wildlife management. However, in heterogeneous landscapes varying habitat quality may yield subpopulations with distinct patterns in resource use and demography significant to the dynamics of populations.2. To define the spatial population structure of polar bears Ursus maritimus in the Norwegian and western Russian Arctic, and to assess the existence of a shared population between the two countries, we analysed satellite telemetry data obtained from 105 female polar bears over 12 years.3. Using both cluster analyses and home-range estimation methods, we identified five population units inhabiting areas with different sea-ice characteristics and prey availability.4. The continuous distribution of polar bear positions indicated that the different subpopulations formed one continuous polar bear population in the Norwegian and western Russian Arctic. Hence, Norway and Russia have a shared management responsibility.5. The spatial population structure identified will provide a guide for evaluating geographical patterns in polar bear ecology, the dynamics of polar bear–seal relationships and the effects of habitat alteration due to climate change. The work illustrates the importance of defining population borders and subpopulation structure in understanding the dynamics and management of larger animals.

  16. No need to replace an “anomalous” primate (Primates) with an “anomalous” bear (Carnivora, Ursidae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gutiérrez, Eliécer E.; Pine, Ronald H.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract By means of mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequencing of putative “yeti”, “bigfoot”, and other “anomalous primate” hair samples, a recent study concluded that two samples, presented as from the Himalayas, do not belong to an “anomalous primate”, but to an unknown, anomalous type of ursid. That is, that they match 12S rRNA sequences of a fossil Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus), but neither of modern Polar Bears, nor of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos), the closest relative of Polar Bears, and one that occurs today in the Himalayas. We have undertaken direct comparison of sequences; replication of the original comparative study; inference of phylogenetic relationships of the two samples with respect to those from all extant species of Ursidae (except for the Giant Panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and two extinct Pleistocene species; and application of a non-tree-based population aggregation approach for species diagnosis and identification. Our results demonstrate that the very short fragment of the 12S rRNA gene sequenced by Sykes et al. is not sufficiently informative to support the hypotheses provided by these authors with respect to the taxonomic identity of the individuals from which these sequences were obtained. We have concluded that there is no reason to believe that the two samples came from anything other than Brown Bears. These analyses afforded an opportunity to test the monophyly of morphologically defined species and to comment on both their phylogenetic relationships and future efforts necessary to advance our understanding of ursid systematics. PMID:25829853

  17. No need to replace an “anomalous” primate (Primates with an “anomalous” bear (Carnivora, Ursidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eliécer Gutiérrez

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available By means of mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequencing of putative “yeti”, “bigfoot”, and other “anomalous primate” hair samples, a recent study concluded that two samples, presented as from the Himalayas, do not belong to an “anomalous primate”, but to an unknown, anomalous type of ursid. That is, that they match 12S rRNA sequences of a fossil Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus, but neither of modern Polar Bears, nor of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos, the closest relative of Polar Bears, and one that occurs today in the Himalayas. We have undertaken direct comparison of sequences; replication of the original comparative study; inference of phylogenetic relationships of the two samples with respect to those from all extant species of Ursidae (except for the Giant Panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca and two extinct Pleistocene species; and application of a non-tree-based population aggregation approach for species diagnosis and identification. Our results demonstrate that the very short fragment of the 12S rRNA gene sequenced by Sykes et al. is not sufficiently informative to support the hypotheses provided by these authors with respect to the taxonomic identity of the individuals from which these sequences were obtained. We have concluded that there is no reason to believe that the two samples came from anything other than Brown Bears. These analyses afforded an opportunity to test the monophyly of morphologically defined species and to comment on both their phylogenetic relationships and future efforts necessary to advance our understanding of ursid systematics.

  18. The fur of mammals in exposed environments; do crypsis and thermal needs necessarily conflict? The polar bear and marsupial koala compared.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dawson, Terence J; Webster, Koa N; Maloney, Shane K

    2014-02-01

    The furs of mammals have varied and complex functions. Other than for thermoregulation, fur is involved in physical protection, sensory input, waterproofing and colouration, the latter being important for crypsis or camouflage. Some of these diverse functions potentially conflict. We have investigated how variation in cryptic colouration and thermal features may interact in the coats of mammals and influence potential heat inflows from solar radiation, much of which is outside the visible spectral range. The coats of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and the marsupial koala (Phascolarctus cinereus) have insulative similarities but, while they feature cryptic colouration, they are of contrasting colour, i.e. whitish and dark grey. The reflectance of solar radiation by coats was measured across the full solar spectrum using a spectroradiometer. The modulation of incident solar radiation and resultant heat flows in these coats were determined at a range of wind speeds by mounting them on a heat flux transducer/temperature-controlled plate apparatus in a wind tunnel. A lamp with a spectral distribution of radiation similar to the solar spectrum was used as a proxy for the sun. Crypsis by colour matching was apparent within the visible spectrum for the two species, U. maritimus being matched against snow and P. cinereus against Eucalyptus forest foliage. While reflectances across the full solar spectrum differed markedly, that of U. maritimus being 66 % as opposed to 10 % for P. cinereus, the heat influxes from solar radiation reaching the skin were similar. For both coats at low wind speed (1 m s(-1)), 19 % of incident solar radiation impacted as heat at the skin surface; at higher wind speed (10 m s(-1)) this decreased to approximately 10 %. Ursus maritimus and P. cinereus have high and comparable levels of fur insulation and although the patterns of reflectance and depths of penetrance of solar radiation differ for the coats, the considerable insulation limited the

  19. Assessing bear-human conflicts in the Yukon Territory

    OpenAIRE

    Lukie, Raechel Dawn

    2010-01-01

    Managing conflicts between bears and humans is vital for human safety and for the conservation of bears. This study investigated black bear (Ursus americanus) and grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) interactions with humans in 18 major communities of the Yukon Territory. I used an information theoretic approach to generate predictive models of the relative potential of bear-human interaction for the 9 conservation officer management regions in the Yukon Territory. I independently modeled interactions...

  20. Potential impacts of offshore oil spills on polar bears in the Chukchi Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R; Perham, Craig; French-McCay, Deborah P; Balouskus, Richard

    2018-04-01

    Sea ice decline is anticipated to increase human access to the Arctic Ocean allowing for offshore oil and gas development in once inaccessible areas. Given the potential negative consequences of an oil spill on marine wildlife populations in the Arctic, it is important to understand the magnitude of impact a large spill could have on wildlife to inform response planning efforts. In this study we simulated oil spills that released 25,000 barrels of oil for 30 days in autumn originating from two sites in the Chukchi Sea (one in Russia and one in the U.S.) and tracked the distribution of oil for 76 days. We then determined the potential impact such a spill might have on polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and their habitat by overlapping spills with maps of polar bear habitat and movement trajectories. Only a small proportion (1-10%) of high-value polar bear sea ice habitat was directly affected by oil sufficient to impact bears. However, 27-38% of polar bears in the region were potentially exposed to oil. Oil consistently had the highest probability of reaching Wrangel and Herald islands, important areas of denning and summer terrestrial habitat. Oil did not reach polar bears until approximately 3 weeks after the spills. Our study found the potential for significant impacts to polar bears under a worst case discharge scenario, but suggests that there is a window of time where effective containment efforts could minimize exposure to bears. Our study provides a framework for wildlife managers and planners to assess the level of response that would be required to treat exposed wildlife and where spill response equipment might be best stationed. While the size of spill we simulated has a low probability of occurring, it provides an upper limit for planners to consider when crafting response plans. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  1. Geographic distribution of selected elements in the livers of polar bears from Greenland, Canada and the United States

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rush, Scott A.; Borga, Katrine; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W.; Sonne, Christian; Evans, Thomas; Muir, Derek C.G.; Letcher, Robert J.; Norstrom, Ross J.; Fisk, Aaron T.

    2008-01-01

    To assess geographic distributions of elements in the Arctic we compared essential and non-essential elements in the livers of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) collected from five regions within Canada in 2002, in Alaska between 1994 and 1999 and from the northwest and east coasts of Greenland between 1988 and 2000. As, Hg, Pb and Se varied with age, and Co and Zn with gender, which limited spatial comparisons across all populations to Cd, which was highest in Greenland bears. Collectively, geographic relationships appeared similar to past studies with little change in concentration over time in Canada and Greenland for most elements; Hg and Se were higher in some Canadian populations in 2002 as compared to 1982 and 1984. Concentrations of most elements in the polar bears did not exceed toxicity thresholds, although Cd and Hg exceeded levels correlated with the formation of hepatic lesions in laboratory animals. - Geographical trends were observed for a number of elements in livers, including mercury, of polar bears collected across Alaska, Canada and Greenland and were similar to those observed in the early 1980s

  2. Consequences of long-distance swimming and travel over deep-water pack ice for a female polar bear during a year of extreme sea ice retreat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M.; Whiteman, J.P.; Harlow, H.J.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Regehr, E.V.; Ben-David, M.

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) prefer to live on Arctic sea ice but may swim between ice floes or between sea ice and land. Although anecdotal observations suggest that polar bears are capable of swimming long distances, no data have been available to describe in detail long distance swimming events or the physiological and reproductive consequences of such behavior. Between an initial capture in late August and a recapture in late October 2008, a radio-collared adult female polar bear in the Beaufort Sea made a continuous swim of 687 km over 9 days and then intermittently swam and walked on the sea ice surface an additional 1,800 km. Measures of movement rate, hourly activity, and subcutaneous and external temperature revealed distinct profiles of swimming and walking. Between captures, this polar bear lost 22% of her body mass and her yearling cub. The extraordinary long distance swimming ability of polar bears, which we confirm here, may help them cope with reduced Arctic sea ice. Our observation, however, indicates that long distance swimming in Arctic waters, and travel over deep water pack ice, may result in high energetic costs and compromise reproductive fitness.

  3. Hematology of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (2005-2007): Biomarker for an arctic ecosystem health sentinel

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirk, Cassandra M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Swor, Rhonda; Holcomb, Darce; O'Hara, T. M.

    2010-01-01

    Declines in sea-ice habitats have resulted in declining stature, productivity, and survival of polar bears in some regions. With continuing sea-ice declines, negative population effects are projected to expand throughout the polar bear's range. Precise causes of diminished polar bear life history performance are unknown, however, climate and sea-ice condition change are expected to adversely impact polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health and population dynamics. As apex predators in the Arctic, polar bears integrate the status of lower trophic levels and are therefore sentinels of ecosystem health. Arctic residents feed at the apex of the ecosystem, thus polar bears can serve as indicators of human health in the Arctic. Despite their value as indicators of ecosystem welfare, population-level health data for U.S. polar bears are lacking. We present hematological reference ranges for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears. Hematological parameters in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears varied by age, geographic location, and reproductive status. Total leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and serum immunoglobulin G were significantly greater in males than females. These measures were greater in nonlactating females ages ???5, than lactating adult females ages ???5, suggesting that females encumbered by young may be less resilient to new immune system challenges that may accompany ongoing climate change. Hematological values established here provide a necessary baseline for anticipated changes in health as arctic temperatures warm and sea-ice declines accelerate. Data suggest that females with dependent young may be most vulnerable to these changes and should therefore be a targeted cohort for monitoring in this sentinel. ?? 2010 International Association for Ecology and Health.

  4. Hematology of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (2005-2007): biomarker for an Arctic ecosystem health sentinel.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kirk, Cassandra M; Amstrup, Steven; Swor, Rhonda; Holcomb, Darce; O'Hara, Todd M

    2010-09-01

    Declines in sea-ice habitats have resulted in declining stature, productivity, and survival of polar bears in some regions. With continuing sea-ice declines, negative population effects are projected to expand throughout the polar bear's range. Precise causes of diminished polar bear life history performance are unknown, however, climate and sea-ice condition change are expected to adversely impact polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health and population dynamics. As apex predators in the Arctic, polar bears integrate the status of lower trophic levels and are therefore sentinels of ecosystem health. Arctic residents feed at the apex of the ecosystem, thus polar bears can serve as indicators of human health in the Arctic. Despite their value as indicators of ecosystem welfare, population-level health data for U.S. polar bears are lacking. We present hematological reference ranges for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears. Hematological parameters in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears varied by age, geographic location, and reproductive status. Total leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and serum immunoglobulin G were significantly greater in males than females. These measures were greater in nonlactating females ages ≥5, than lactating adult females ages ≥5, suggesting that females encumbered by young may be less resilient to new immune system challenges that may accompany ongoing climate change. Hematological values established here provide a necessary baseline for anticipated changes in health as arctic temperatures warm and sea-ice declines accelerate. Data suggest that females with dependent young may be most vulnerable to these changes and should therefore be a targeted cohort for monitoring in this sentinel.

  5. Age and sex composition of seals killed by polar bears in the eastern Beaufort Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas W Pilfold

    Full Text Available Polar bears (Ursus maritimus of the Beaufort Sea enter hyperphagia in spring and gain fat reserves to survive periods of low prey availability. We collected information on seals killed by polar bears (n=650 and hunting attempts on ringed seal (Pusa hispida lairs (n=1396 observed from a helicopter during polar bear mark-recapture studies in the eastern Beaufort Sea in spring in 1985-2011. We investigated how temporal shifts in ringed seal reproduction affect kill composition and the intraspecific vulnerabilities of ringed seals to polar bear predation.Polar bears primarily preyed on ringed seals (90.2% while bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus only comprised 9.8% of the kills, but 33% of the biomass. Adults comprised 43.6% (150/344 of the ringed seals killed, while their pups comprised 38.4% (132/344. Juvenile ringed seals were killed at the lowest proportion, comprising 18.0% (62/344 of the ringed seal kills. The proportion of ringed seal pups was highest between 2007-2011, in association with high ringed seal productivity. Half of the adult ringed seal kills were ≥ 21 years (60/121, and kill rates of adults increased following the peak of parturition. Determination of sex from DNA revealed that polar bears killed adult male and adult female ringed seals equally (0.50, n=78. The number of hunting attempts at ringed seal subnivean lair sites was positively correlated with the number of pup kills (r(2 =0.30, P=0.04, but was not correlated with the number of adult kills (P=0.37.Results are consistent with decadal trends in ringed seal productivity, with low numbers of pups killed by polar bears in spring in years of low pup productivity, and conversely when pup productivity was high. Vulnerability of adult ringed seals to predation increased in relation to reproductive activities and age, but not gender.

  6. Increased Arctic sea ice drift alters adult female polar bear movements and energetics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M; Douglas, David C; Albeke, Shannon E; Whiteman, John P; Amstrup, Steven C; Richardson, Evan; Wilson, Ryan R; Ben-David, Merav

    2017-09-01

    Recent reductions in thickness and extent have increased drift rates of Arctic sea ice. Increased ice drift could significantly affect the movements and the energy balance of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) which forage, nearly exclusively, on this substrate. We used radio-tracking and ice drift data to quantify the influence of increased drift on bear movements, and we modeled the consequences for energy demands of adult females in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas during two periods with different sea ice characteristics. Westward and northward drift of the sea ice used by polar bears in both regions increased between 1987-1998 and 1999-2013. To remain within their home ranges, polar bears responded to the higher westward ice drift with greater eastward movements, while their movements north in the spring and south in fall were frequently aided by ice motion. To compensate for more rapid westward ice drift in recent years, polar bears covered greater daily distances either by increasing their time spent active (7.6%-9.6%) or by increasing their travel speed (8.5%-8.9%). This increased their calculated annual energy expenditure by 1.8%-3.6% (depending on region and reproductive status), a cost that could be met by capturing an additional 1-3 seals/year. Polar bears selected similar habitats in both periods, indicating that faster drift did not alter habitat preferences. Compounding reduced foraging opportunities that result from habitat loss; changes in ice drift, and associated activity increases, likely exacerbate the physiological stress experienced by polar bears in a warming Arctic. Published 2017. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  7. Contributions of vital rates to growth of a protected population of American black bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, M.S.; Pacifici, L.B.; Grand, J.B.; Powell, R.A.

    2009-01-01

    Analyses of large, long-lived animals suggest that adult survival generally has the potential to contribute more than reproduction to population growth rate (??), but because survival varies little, high variability in reproduction can have a greater influence. This pattern has been documented for several species of large mammals, but few studies have evaluated such contributions of vital rates to ?? for American black bears (Ursus americanus). We used variance-based perturbation analyses (life table response experiments, LTRE) and analytical sensitivity and elasticity analyses to examine the actual and potential contributions of variation of vital rates to variation in growth rate (??) of a population of black bears inhabiting the Pisgah Bear Sanctuary in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, using a 22-year dataset. We found that recruitment varied more than other vital rates; LTRE analyses conducted over several time intervals thus indicated that recruitment generally contributed at least as much as juvenile and adult survival to observed variation in ??, even though the latter 2 vital rates had the greater potential to affect ??. Our findings are consistent with predictions from studies on polar bears (U. maritimus) and grizzly bears (U. arctos), but contrast with the few existing studies on black bears in ways that suggest levels of protection from human-caused mortality might explain whether adult survival or recruitment contribute most to variation in ?? for this species. We hypothesize that ?? is most strongly influenced by recruitment in protected populations where adult survival is relatively high and constant, whereas adult survival will most influence ?? for unprotected populations. ?? 2009 International Association for Bear Research and Management.

  8. Population ecology of polar bears in Davis Strait, Canada and Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Taylor, Mitchell K.; Laake, Jeffrey L.; Stirling, Ian

    2013-01-01

    Until recently, the sea ice habitat of polar bears was understood to be variable, but environmental variability was considered to be cyclic or random, rather than progressive. Harvested populations were believed to be at levels where density effects were considered not significant. However, because we now understand that polar bear demography can also be influenced by progressive change in the environment, and some populations have increased to greater densities than historically lower numbers, a broader suite of factors should be considered in demographic studies and management. We analyzed 35 years of capture and harvest data from the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulation in Davis Strait, including data from a new study (2005–2007), to quantify its current demography. We estimated the population size in 2007 to be 2,158 ± 180 (SE), a likely increase from the 1970s. We detected variation in survival, reproductive rates, and age-structure of polar bears from geographic sub-regions. Survival and reproduction of bears in southern Davis Strait was greater than in the north and tied to a concurrent dramatic increase in breeding harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) in Labrador. The most supported survival models contained geographic and temporal variables. Harp seal abundance was significantly related to polar bear survival. Our estimates of declining harvest recovery rate, and increasing total survival, suggest that the rate of harvest declined over time. Low recruitment rates, average adult survival rates, and high population density, in an environment of high prey density, but deteriorating and variable ice conditions, currently characterize the Davis Strait polar bears. Low reproductive rates may reflect negative effects of greater densities or worsening ice conditions.

  9. Age and sex composition of seals killed by polar bears in the eastern Beaufort Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilfold, Nicholas W; Derocher, Andrew E; Stirling, Ian; Richardson, Evan; Andriashek, Dennis

    2012-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the Beaufort Sea enter hyperphagia in spring and gain fat reserves to survive periods of low prey availability. We collected information on seals killed by polar bears (n=650) and hunting attempts on ringed seal (Pusa hispida) lairs (n=1396) observed from a helicopter during polar bear mark-recapture studies in the eastern Beaufort Sea in spring in 1985-2011. We investigated how temporal shifts in ringed seal reproduction affect kill composition and the intraspecific vulnerabilities of ringed seals to polar bear predation. Polar bears primarily preyed on ringed seals (90.2%) while bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) only comprised 9.8% of the kills, but 33% of the biomass. Adults comprised 43.6% (150/344) of the ringed seals killed, while their pups comprised 38.4% (132/344). Juvenile ringed seals were killed at the lowest proportion, comprising 18.0% (62/344) of the ringed seal kills. The proportion of ringed seal pups was highest between 2007-2011, in association with high ringed seal productivity. Half of the adult ringed seal kills were ≥ 21 years (60/121), and kill rates of adults increased following the peak of parturition. Determination of sex from DNA revealed that polar bears killed adult male and adult female ringed seals equally (0.50, n=78). The number of hunting attempts at ringed seal subnivean lair sites was positively correlated with the number of pup kills (r(2) =0.30, P=0.04), but was not correlated with the number of adult kills (P=0.37). Results are consistent with decadal trends in ringed seal productivity, with low numbers of pups killed by polar bears in spring in years of low pup productivity, and conversely when pup productivity was high. Vulnerability of adult ringed seals to predation increased in relation to reproductive activities and age, but not gender.

  10. The value of a polar bear: evaluating the role of a multiple-use resource in the Nunavut mixed economy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dowsley, Martha

    2010-01-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a common pool resource that contributes to both the subsistence and monetary aspects of the Nunavut mixed economy through its use as food, the sale of hides in the fur trade, and sport hunt outfitting. Sport hunting is more financially profitable than subsistence hunting; however, the proportion of the polar bear quota devoted to the sport hunt has become relatively stable at approximately 20% across Nunavut. This ratio suggests local Inuit organizations are not using a neoclassical economic model based on profit maximization. This paper examines local-level hunting organizations and their institutions (as sets of rules) governing the sport and Inuit subsistence hunts from both formalist and substantivist economic perspectives. It concludes that profit maximization is used within the sport hunting sphere, which fits a neoclassical model of economic rationality. A second and parallel system, better viewed through the substantivist perspective, demonstrates that the communities focus on longer-term goals to maintain and reproduce the socio-economic system of the subsistence economy, which is predicated on maintaining social, human-environment, and human-polar bear relations.

  11. Polar bear hemoglobin and human Hb A0: same 2,3-diphosphoglycerate binding site but asymmetry of the binding?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pomponi, Massimo; Bertonati, Claudia; Patamia, Maria; Marta, Maurizio; Derocher, Andrew E; Lydersen, Christian; Kovacs, Kit M; Wiig, Oystein; Bårdgard, Astrid J

    2002-11-01

    Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hemoglobin (Hb) shows a low response to 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG), compared to human Hb A0, even though these proteins have the same 2,3-DPG-binding site. In addition, polar bear Hb shows a high response to chloride and an alkaline Bohr effect (deltalog P50/deltapH) that is significantly greater than that of human Hb A0. The difference in sequence Pro (Hb A0)-->Gly (polar bear Hb) at position A2 in the A helix seems to be critical for reduced binding of 2,3-DPG. Our results also show that the A2 position may influence not only the flexibility of the A helix, but that differences in flexibility of the first turn of the A helix may affect the unloading of oxygen for the intrinsic ligand affinities of the alpha and beta chains. However, preferential binding to either chain can only take place if there is appreciable asymmetric binding of the phosphoric effector. Regarding this point, 31P NMR data suggest a loss of symmetry of the 2,3-DPG-binding site in the deoxyHb-2,3-DPG complex.

  12. Greenhouse gas mitigation can reduce sea-ice loss and increase polar bear persistence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Deweaver, E.T.; Douglas, David C.; Marcot, B.G.; Durner, George M.; Bitz, C.M.; Bailey, D.A.

    2010-01-01

    On the basis of projected losses of their essential sea-ice habitats, a United States Geological Survey research team concluded in 2007 that two-thirds of the worlds polar bears (Ursus maritimus) could disappear by mid-century if business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions continue. That projection, however, did not consider the possible benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation. A key question is whether temperature increases lead to proportional losses of sea-ice habitat, or whether sea-ice cover crosses a tipping point and irreversibly collapses when temperature reaches a critical threshold. Such a tipping point would mean future greenhouse gas mitigation would confer no conservation benefits to polar bears. Here we show, using a general circulation model, that substantially more sea-ice habitat would be retained if greenhouse gas rise is mitigated. We also show, with Bayesian network model outcomes, that increased habitat retention under greenhouse gas mitigation means that polar bears could persist throughout the century in greater numbers and more areas than in the business-as-usual case. Our general circulation model outcomes did not reveal thresholds leading to irreversible loss of ice; instead, a linear relationship between global mean surface air temperature and sea-ice habitat substantiated the hypothesis that sea-ice thermodynamics can overcome albedo feedbacks proposed to cause sea-ice tipping points. Our outcomes indicate that rapid summer ice losses in models and observations represent increased volatility of a thinning sea-ice cover, rather than tipping-point behaviour. Mitigation-driven Bayesian network outcomes show that previously predicted declines in polar bear distribution and numbers are not unavoidable. Because polar bears are sentinels of the Arctic marine ecosystem and trends in their sea-ice habitats foreshadow future global changes, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions to improve polar bear status would have conservation benefits throughout

  13. Uncertainties in forecasting the response of polar bears to global climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Douglas, David C.; Atwood, Todd C.; Butterworth, Andy

    2017-01-01

    Several sources of uncertainty affect how precisely the future status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be forecasted. Foremost are unknowns about the future levels of global greenhouse gas emissions, which could range from an unabated increase to an aggressively mitigated reduction. Uncertainties also arise because different climate models project different amounts and rates of future warming (and sea ice loss)—even for the same emission scenario. There are also uncertainties about how global warming could affect the Arctic Ocean’s food web, so even if climate models project the presence of sea ice in the future, the availability of polar bear prey is not guaranteed. Under a worst-case emission scenario in which rates of greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated to century’s end, the uncertainties about polar bear status center on a potential for extinction. If the species were to persist, it would likely be restricted to a high-latitude refugium in northern Canada and Greenland—assuming a food web also existed with enough accessible prey to fuel weight gains for surviving onshore during the most extreme years of summer ice melt. On the other hand, if emissions were to be aggressively mitigated at the levels proposed in the Paris Climate Agreement, healthy polar bear populations would probably continue to occupy all but the most southern areas of their contemporary summer range. While polar bears have survived previous warming phases—which indicate some resiliency to the loss of sea ice habitat—what is certain is that the present pace of warming is unprecedented and will increasingly expose polar bears to historically novel stressors.

  14. Greenhouse gas mitigation can reduce sea-ice loss and increase polar bear persistence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C; Deweaver, Eric T; Douglas, David C; Marcot, Bruce G; Durner, George M; Bitz, Cecilia M; Bailey, David A

    2010-12-16

    On the basis of projected losses of their essential sea-ice habitats, a United States Geological Survey research team concluded in 2007 that two-thirds of the world's polar bears (Ursus maritimus) could disappear by mid-century if business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions continue. That projection, however, did not consider the possible benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation. A key question is whether temperature increases lead to proportional losses of sea-ice habitat, or whether sea-ice cover crosses a tipping point and irreversibly collapses when temperature reaches a critical threshold. Such a tipping point would mean future greenhouse gas mitigation would confer no conservation benefits to polar bears. Here we show, using a general circulation model, that substantially more sea-ice habitat would be retained if greenhouse gas rise is mitigated. We also show, with Bayesian network model outcomes, that increased habitat retention under greenhouse gas mitigation means that polar bears could persist throughout the century in greater numbers and more areas than in the business-as-usual case. Our general circulation model outcomes did not reveal thresholds leading to irreversible loss of ice; instead, a linear relationship between global mean surface air temperature and sea-ice habitat substantiated the hypothesis that sea-ice thermodynamics can overcome albedo feedbacks proposed to cause sea-ice tipping points. Our outcomes indicate that rapid summer ice losses in models and observations represent increased volatility of a thinning sea-ice cover, rather than tipping-point behaviour. Mitigation-driven Bayesian network outcomes show that previously predicted declines in polar bear distribution and numbers are not unavoidable. Because polar bears are sentinels of the Arctic marine ecosystem and trends in their sea-ice habitats foreshadow future global changes, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions to improve polar bear status would have conservation benefits throughout

  15. Temporal complexity of southern Beaufort Sea polar bear diets during a period of increasing land use

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Iverson, Sara J.; Peacock, Elizabeth

    2017-01-01

    From 2000 to 2013, use of land as a seasonal habitat by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) subpopulation substantially increased. This onshore use has been linked to reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice, as well as to the availability of subsistence‐harvested bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) bone piles. Here, we evaluated the role of climate conditions on consumption of traditional ice‐associated prey relative to onshore bowhead whale bone piles. We determined seasonal and interannual trends in the diets of SB polar bears using fatty acid‐based analysis during this period of increasing land use. Diet estimates of 569 SB polar bears from 2004 to 2012 showed high seasonal fluctuations in the proportions of prey consumed. Higher proportions of bowhead whale, as well as ringed seal (Pusa hispida) and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), were estimated to occur in the winter–spring diet, while higher proportions of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) were estimated for summer–fall diets. Trends in the annual mean proportions of individual prey items were not found in either period, except for significant declines in the proportion of beluga in spring‐sampled bears. Nonetheless, in years following a high winter Arctic oscillation index, proportions of ice‐associated ringed seal were lower in the winter–spring diets of adult females and juveniles. Proportions of bowhead increased in the winter–spring diets of adult males with the number of ice‐free days over the continental shelf. In one or both seasons, polar bears that were in better condition were estimated to have consumed less ringed seal and/or more bowhead whale than those in worse condition. Therefore, climate variation over this recent period appeared to influence the extent of onshore vs. on‐ice food use, which in turn, appeared to be linked to fluctuating condition of SB polar bears.

  16. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F; Mcdonald, Trent L; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan S; Regehr, Eric V; Douglas, David C; Durner, George M; Atwood, Todd; Amstrup, Steven C

    2015-04-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark-recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25-50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606-1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies.

  17. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.; McDonald, Trent L.; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E.; Richardson, Evan S.; Regehr, Eric V.; Douglas, David C.; Durner, George M.; Atwood, Todd C.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark–recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25–50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606–1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies.

  18. Heritability of body size in the polar bears of Western Hudson Bay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malenfant, René M; Davis, Corey S; Richardson, Evan S; Lunn, Nicholas J; Coltman, David W

    2018-04-18

    Among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), fitness is dependent on body size through males' abilities to win mates, females' abilities to provide for their young and all bears' abilities to survive increasingly longer fasting periods caused by climate change. In the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation (near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada), polar bears have declined in body size and condition, but nothing is known about the genetic underpinnings of body size variation, which may be subject to natural selection. Here, we combine a 4449-individual pedigree and an array of 5,433 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to provide the first quantitative genetic study of polar bears. We used animal models to estimate heritability (h 2 ) among polar bears handled between 1966 and 2011, obtaining h 2 estimates of 0.34-0.48 for strictly skeletal traits and 0.18 for axillary girth (which is also dependent on fatness). We genotyped 859 individuals with the SNP array to test for marker-trait association and combined p-values over genetic pathways using gene-set analysis. Variation in all traits appeared to be polygenic, but we detected one region of moderately large effect size in body length near a putative noncoding RNA in an unannotated region of the genome. Gene-set analysis suggested that variation in body length was associated with genes in the regulatory cascade of cyclin expression, which has previously been associated with body size in mice. A greater understanding of the genetic architecture of body size variation will be valuable in understanding the potential for adaptation in polar bear populations challenged by climate change. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Tissue-specific concentrations and patterns of perfluoroalkyl carboxylates and sulfonates in East Greenland polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greaves, Alana K; Letcher, Robert J; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W

    2012-11-06

    Several perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs) of varying chain length are bioaccumulative in biota. However, wildlife reports have focused on liver and with very little examination of other tissues, and thus there is a limited understanding of their distribution and potential effects in the mammalian body. In the present study, the comparative accumulation of C(6) to C(15) PFCAs, C(4), C(6), C(8) and C(10) PFSAs, and select precursors were examined in the liver, blood, muscle, adipose, and brain of 20 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Scoresby Sound, Central East Greenland. Overall, PFSA and PFCA concentrations were highest in liver followed by blood > brain > muscle ≈ adipose. Liver and blood samples contained proportionally more of the shorter/medium chain length (C(6) to C(11)) PFCAs, whereas adipose and brain samples were dominated by longer chain (C(13) to C(15)) PFCAs. PFCAs with lower lipophilicities accumulated more in the liver, whereas the brain accumulated PFCAs with higher lipophilicities. The concentration ratios (±SE) between perfluorooctane sulfonate and its precursor perfluorooctane sulfonamide varied among tissues from 9 (±1):1 (muscle) to 36 (±7):1 (liver). PFCA and PFSA patterns in polar bears indicate that the pharmacokinetics of these compounds are to some extent tissue-specific, and are the result of several factors that may include differing protein interactions throughout the body.

  20. Mercury cycling and sequestration in salt marshes sediments: An ecosystem service provided by Juncus maritimus and Scirpus maritimus

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Marques, B.; Lillebo, A.I.; Pereira, E.; Duarte, A.C.

    2011-01-01

    In this study two time scales were looked at: a yearlong study was completed, and a 180-day decay experiment was done. Juncus maritimus and Scirpus maritimus have different life cycles, and this seems to have implications in the Hg-contaminated salt marsh sediment chemical environment, namely Eh and pH. In addition, the belowground biomass decomposition rates were faster for J. maritimus, as well as the biomass turnover rates. Results show that all these species-specific factors have implications in the mercury dynamics and sequestration. Meaning that J. maritimus belowground biomass has a sequestration capacity for mercury per square metre approximately 4-5 times higher than S. maritimus, i.e., in S. maritimus colonized areas Hg is more extensively exchange between belowground biomass and the rhizosediment. In conclusion, J. maritimus seems to provide a comparatively higher ecosystem service through phytostabilization (Hg complexation in the rhizosediment) and through phytoaccumulation (Hg sequestration in the belowground biomass). - Graphical abstract: Display Omitted Highlights: → Potentially halophytes auto-remediate systems by reducing Hg availability. → Species-specific factors have implications in the Hg dynamics and sequestration. → Ecosystem services are provided through phytostabilization and/or phytoaccumulation. → J. maritimus provide a comparatively higher ecosystem service. → In S. maritimus rhizosediment Hg is more extensively exchange with the halophyte. - Juncus maritimus provide an ecosystem service through Hg-phytostabilization and Hg-phytoaccumulation.

  1. Variation in the response of an Arctic top predator experiencing habitat loss: feeding and reproductive ecology of two polar bear populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D; Regehr, Eric V; Douglas, David C; Durner, George; Derocher, Andrew E; Thiemann, Gregory W; Budge, Suzanne M

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have experienced substantial changes in the seasonal availability of sea ice habitat in parts of their range, including the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas. In this study, we compared the body size, condition, and recruitment of polar bears captured in the Chukchi and Bering Seas (CS) between two periods (1986-1994 and 2008-2011) when declines in sea ice habitat occurred. In addition, we compared metrics for the CS population 2008-2011 with those of the adjacent southern Beaufort Sea (SB) population where loss in sea ice habitat has been associated with declines in body condition, size, recruitment, and survival. We evaluated how variation in body condition and recruitment were related to feeding ecology. Comparing habitat conditions between populations, there were twice as many reduced ice days over continental shelf waters per year during 2008-2011 in the SB than in the CS. CS polar bears were larger and in better condition, and appeared to have higher reproduction than SB bears. Although SB and CS bears had similar diets, twice as many bears were fasting in spring in the SB than in the CS. Between 1986-1994 and 2008-2011, body size, condition, and recruitment indices in the CS were not reduced despite a 44-day increase in the number of reduced ice days. Bears in the CS exhibited large body size, good body condition, and high indices of recruitment compared to most other populations measured to date. Higher biological productivity and prey availability in the CS relative to the SB, and a shorter recent history of reduced sea ice habitat, may explain the maintenance of condition and recruitment of CS bears. Geographic differences in the response of polar bears to climate change are relevant to range-wide forecasts for this and other ice-dependent species. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  2. Variation in the response of an Arctic top predator experiencing habitat loss: Feeding and reproductive ecology of two polar bear populations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D.; Regehr, Eric V.; Douglas, David C.; Durner, George M.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Budge, Suzanne M.

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have experienced substantial changes in the seasonal availability of sea ice habitat in parts of their range, including the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas. In this study, we compared the body size, condition, and recruitment of polar bears captured in the Chukchi and Bering Seas (CS) between two periods (1986–1994 and 2008–2011) when declines in sea ice habitat occurred. In addition, we compared metrics for the CS population 2008–2011 with those of the adjacent southern Beaufort Sea (SB) population where loss in sea ice habitat has been associated with declines in body condition, size, recruitment, and survival. We evaluated how variation in body condition and recruitment were related to feeding ecology. Comparing habitat conditions between populations, there were twice as many reduced ice days over continental shelf waters per year during 2008–2011 in the SB than in the CS. CS polar bears were larger and in better condition, and appeared to have higher reproduction than SB bears. Although SB and CS bears had similar diets, twice as many bears were fasting in spring in the SB than in the CS. Between 1986–1994 and 2008–2011, body size, condition, and recruitment indices in the CS were not reduced despite a 44-day increase in the number of reduced ice days. Bears in the CS exhibited large body size, good body condition, and high indices of recruitment compared to most other populations measured to date. Higher biological productivity and prey availability in the CS relative to the SB, and a shorter recent history of reduced sea ice habitat, may explain the maintenance of condition and recruitment of CS bears. Geographic differences in the response of polar bears to climate change are relevant to range-wide forecasts for this and other ice-dependent species.

  3. Genome-Wide Search Identifies 1.9 Mb from the Polar Bear Y Chromosome for Evolutionary Analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bidon, Tobias; Schreck, Nancy; Hailer, Frank; Nilsson, Maria A; Janke, Axel

    2015-05-27

    The male-inherited Y chromosome is the major haploid fraction of the mammalian genome, rendering Y-linked sequences an indispensable resource for evolutionary research. However, despite recent large-scale genome sequencing approaches, only a handful of Y chromosome sequences have been characterized to date, mainly in model organisms. Using polar bear (Ursus maritimus) genomes, we compare two different in silico approaches to identify Y-linked sequences: 1) Similarity to known Y-linked genes and 2) difference in the average read depth of autosomal versus sex chromosomal scaffolds. Specifically, we mapped available genomic sequencing short reads from a male and a female polar bear against the reference genome and identify 112 Y-chromosomal scaffolds with a combined length of 1.9 Mb. We verified the in silico findings for the longer polar bear scaffolds by male-specific in vitro amplification, demonstrating the reliability of the average read depth approach. The obtained Y chromosome sequences contain protein-coding sequences, single nucleotide polymorphisms, microsatellites, and transposable elements that are useful for evolutionary studies. A high-resolution phylogeny of the polar bear patriline shows two highly divergent Y chromosome lineages, obtained from analysis of the identified Y scaffolds in 12 previously published male polar bear genomes. Moreover, we find evidence of gene conversion among ZFX and ZFY sequences in the giant panda lineage and in the ancestor of ursine and tremarctine bears. Thus, the identification of Y-linked scaffold sequences from unordered genome sequences yields valuable data to infer phylogenomic and population-genomic patterns in bears. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

  4. Genome-Wide Search Identifies 1.9 Mb from the Polar Bear Y Chromosome for Evolutionary Analyses

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bidon, Tobias; Schreck, Nancy; Hailer, Frank; Nilsson, Maria A.; Janke, Axel

    2015-01-01

    The male-inherited Y chromosome is the major haploid fraction of the mammalian genome, rendering Y-linked sequences an indispensable resource for evolutionary research. However, despite recent large-scale genome sequencing approaches, only a handful of Y chromosome sequences have been characterized to date, mainly in model organisms. Using polar bear (Ursus maritimus) genomes, we compare two different in silico approaches to identify Y-linked sequences: 1) Similarity to known Y-linked genes and 2) difference in the average read depth of autosomal versus sex chromosomal scaffolds. Specifically, we mapped available genomic sequencing short reads from a male and a female polar bear against the reference genome and identify 112 Y-chromosomal scaffolds with a combined length of 1.9 Mb. We verified the in silico findings for the longer polar bear scaffolds by male-specific in vitro amplification, demonstrating the reliability of the average read depth approach. The obtained Y chromosome sequences contain protein-coding sequences, single nucleotide polymorphisms, microsatellites, and transposable elements that are useful for evolutionary studies. A high-resolution phylogeny of the polar bear patriline shows two highly divergent Y chromosome lineages, obtained from analysis of the identified Y scaffolds in 12 previously published male polar bear genomes. Moreover, we find evidence of gene conversion among ZFX and ZFY sequences in the giant panda lineage and in the ancestor of ursine and tremarctine bears. Thus, the identification of Y-linked scaffold sequences from unordered genome sequences yields valuable data to infer phylogenomic and population-genomic patterns in bears. PMID:26019166

  5. Yellowstone grizzly bear investigations: Annual report of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, 2001

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Haroldson, Mark A.

    2001-01-01

    The contents of this Annual Report summarize results of monitoring and research from the 2001 field season. The report also contains a summary of nuisance grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) management actions.

  6. Yellowstone grizzly bear investigations: Annual report of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, 2006

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Haroldson, Mark A.; West, Karrie K.

    2007-01-01

    The contents of this Annual Report summarize results of monitoring and research from the 2006 field season. The report also contains a summary of nuisance grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) management actions.

  7. Dietary ecology of the extinct cave bear: Evidence of omnivory as inferred from dental microwear textures

    OpenAIRE

    D. Brent Jones; Larisa R.G. DeSantis

    2016-01-01

    The diet of the extinct European cave bear, Ursus spelaeus, has widely been debated. Diverging from the extant brown bear (Ursus arctos) approximately 1.2 million years ago, the cave bear is one of the most ubiquitous fossil bears occurring in Europe during the middle and Late Pleistocene. Early morphological studies suggested that the cave bear was likely specialized on processing tough and/or abrasive foods, while later two-dimensional low-magnification microwear studies suggested that they...

  8. Circumpolar Genetic Structure and Recent Gene Flow of Polar Bears: A Reanalysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malenfant, René M; Davis, Corey S; Cullingham, Catherine I; Coltman, David W

    2016-01-01

    Recently, an extensive study of 2,748 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from across their circumpolar range was published in PLOS ONE, which used microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes to apparently show altered population structure and a dramatic change in directional gene flow towards the Canadian Archipelago-an area believed to be a future refugium for polar bears as their southernmost habitats decline under climate change. Although this study represents a major international collaborative effort and promised to be a baseline for future genetics work, methodological shortcomings and errors of interpretation undermine some of the study's main conclusions. Here, we present a reanalysis of this data in which we address some of these issues, including: (1) highly unbalanced sample sizes and large amounts of systematically missing data; (2) incorrect calculation of FST and of significance levels; (3) misleading estimates of recent gene flow resulting from non-convergence of the program BayesAss. In contrast to the original findings, in our reanalysis we find six genetic clusters of polar bears worldwide: the Hudson Bay Complex, the Western and Eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the Western and Eastern Polar Basin, and-importantly-we reconfirm the presence of a unique and possibly endangered cluster of bears in Norwegian Bay near Canada's expected last sea-ice refugium. Although polar bears' abundance, distribution, and population structure will certainly be negatively affected by ongoing-and increasingly rapid-loss of Arctic sea ice, these genetic data provide no evidence of strong directional gene flow in response to recent climate change.

  9. Circumpolar Genetic Structure and Recent Gene Flow of Polar Bears: A Reanalysis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    René M Malenfant

    Full Text Available Recently, an extensive study of 2,748 polar bears (Ursus maritimus from across their circumpolar range was published in PLOS ONE, which used microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes to apparently show altered population structure and a dramatic change in directional gene flow towards the Canadian Archipelago-an area believed to be a future refugium for polar bears as their southernmost habitats decline under climate change. Although this study represents a major international collaborative effort and promised to be a baseline for future genetics work, methodological shortcomings and errors of interpretation undermine some of the study's main conclusions. Here, we present a reanalysis of this data in which we address some of these issues, including: (1 highly unbalanced sample sizes and large amounts of systematically missing data; (2 incorrect calculation of FST and of significance levels; (3 misleading estimates of recent gene flow resulting from non-convergence of the program BayesAss. In contrast to the original findings, in our reanalysis we find six genetic clusters of polar bears worldwide: the Hudson Bay Complex, the Western and Eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the Western and Eastern Polar Basin, and-importantly-we reconfirm the presence of a unique and possibly endangered cluster of bears in Norwegian Bay near Canada's expected last sea-ice refugium. Although polar bears' abundance, distribution, and population structure will certainly be negatively affected by ongoing-and increasingly rapid-loss of Arctic sea ice, these genetic data provide no evidence of strong directional gene flow in response to recent climate change.

  10. Identifying polar bear resource selection patterns to inform offshore development in a dynamic and changing Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R.; Horne, Jon S.; Rode, Karyn D.; Regehr, Eric V.; Durner, George M.

    2014-01-01

    Although sea ice loss is the primary threat to polar bears (Ursus maritimus), little can be done to mitigate its effects without global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other factors, however, could exacerbate the impacts of sea ice loss on polar bears, such as exposure to increased industrial activity. The Arctic Ocean has enormous oil and gas potential, and its development is expected to increase in the coming decades. Estimates of polar bear resource selection will inform managers how bears use areas slated for oil development and to help guide conservation planning. We estimated temporally-varying resource selection patterns for non-denning adult female polar bears in the Chukchi Sea population (2008–2012) at two scales (i.e., home range and weekly steps) to identify factors predictive of polar bear use throughout the year, before any offshore development. From the best models at each scale, we estimated scale-integrated resource selection functions to predict polar bear space use across the population's range and determined when bears were most likely to use the region where offshore oil and gas development in the United States is slated to occur. Polar bears exhibited significant intra-annual variation in selection patterns at both scales but the strength and annual patterns of selection differed between scales for most variables. Bears were most likely to use the offshore oil and gas planning area during ice retreat and growth with the highest predicted use occurring in the southern portion of the planning area. The average proportion of predicted high-value habitat in the planning area was >15% of the total high-value habitat for the population during sea ice retreat and growth and reached a high of 50% during November 2010. Our results provide a baseline on which to judge future changes to non-denning adult female polar bear resource selection in the Chukchi Sea and help guide offshore development in the region. Lastly, our study provides a

  11. Range contraction and increasing isolation of a polar bear subpopulation in an era of sea-ice loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laidre, Kristin L; Born, Erik W; Atkinson, Stephen N; Wiig, Øystein; Andersen, Liselotte W; Lunn, Nicholas J; Dyck, Markus; Regehr, Eric V; McGovern, Richard; Heagerty, Patrick

    2018-02-01

    Climate change is expected to result in range shifts and habitat fragmentation for many species. In the Arctic, loss of sea ice will reduce barriers to dispersal or eliminate movement corridors, resulting in increased connectivity or geographic isolation with sweeping implications for conservation. We used satellite telemetry, data from individually marked animals (research and harvest), and microsatellite genetic data to examine changes in geographic range, emigration, and interpopulation connectivity of the Baffin Bay (BB) polar bear ( Ursus maritimus ) subpopulation over a 25-year period of sea-ice loss. Satellite telemetry collected from n  = 43 (1991-1995) and 38 (2009-2015) adult females revealed a significant contraction in subpopulation range size (95% bivariate normal kernel range) in most months and seasons, with the most marked reduction being a 70% decline in summer from 716,000 km 2 (SE 58,000) to 211,000 km 2 (SE 23,000) ( p  Bears in the 2000s were less likely to leave BB, with significant reductions in the numbers of bears moving into Davis Strait (DS) in winter and Lancaster Sound (LS) in summer. Harvest recoveries suggested both short and long-term fidelity to BB remained high over both periods (83-99% of marked bears remained in BB). Genetic analyses using eight polymorphic microsatellites confirmed a previously documented differentiation between BB, DS, and LS; yet weakly differentiated BB from Kane Basin (KB) for the first time. Our results provide the first multiple lines of evidence for an increasingly geographically and functionally isolated subpopulation of polar bears in the context of long-term sea-ice loss. This may be indicative of future patterns for other polar bear subpopulations under climate change.

  12. Simulating polar bear energetics during a seasonal fast using a mechanistic model.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Paul D Mathewson

    Full Text Available In this study we tested the ability of a mechanistic model (Niche Mapper™ to accurately model adult, non-denning polar bear (Ursus maritimus energetics while fasting during the ice-free season in the western Hudson Bay. The model uses a steady state heat balance approach, which calculates the metabolic rate that will allow an animal to maintain its core temperature in its particular microclimate conditions. Predicted weight loss for a 120 day fast typical of the 1990s was comparable to empirical studies of the population, and the model was able to reach a heat balance at the target metabolic rate for the entire fast, supporting use of the model to explore the impacts of climate change on polar bears. Niche Mapper predicted that all but the poorest condition bears would survive a 120 day fast under current climate conditions. When the fast extended to 180 days, Niche Mapper predicted mortality of up to 18% for males. Our results illustrate how environmental conditions, variation in animal properties, and thermoregulation processes may impact survival during extended fasts because polar bears were predicted to require additional energetic expenditure for thermoregulation during a 180 day fast. A uniform 3°C temperature increase reduced male mortality during a 180 day fast from 18% to 15%. Niche Mapper explicitly links an animal's energetics to environmental conditions and thus can be a valuable tool to help inform predictions of climate-related population changes. Since Niche Mapper is a generic model, it can make energetic predictions for other species threatened by climate change.

  13. Simulating polar bear energetics during a seasonal fast using a mechanistic model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathewson, Paul D; Porter, Warren P

    2013-01-01

    In this study we tested the ability of a mechanistic model (Niche Mapper™) to accurately model adult, non-denning polar bear (Ursus maritimus) energetics while fasting during the ice-free season in the western Hudson Bay. The model uses a steady state heat balance approach, which calculates the metabolic rate that will allow an animal to maintain its core temperature in its particular microclimate conditions. Predicted weight loss for a 120 day fast typical of the 1990s was comparable to empirical studies of the population, and the model was able to reach a heat balance at the target metabolic rate for the entire fast, supporting use of the model to explore the impacts of climate change on polar bears. Niche Mapper predicted that all but the poorest condition bears would survive a 120 day fast under current climate conditions. When the fast extended to 180 days, Niche Mapper predicted mortality of up to 18% for males. Our results illustrate how environmental conditions, variation in animal properties, and thermoregulation processes may impact survival during extended fasts because polar bears were predicted to require additional energetic expenditure for thermoregulation during a 180 day fast. A uniform 3°C temperature increase reduced male mortality during a 180 day fast from 18% to 15%. Niche Mapper explicitly links an animal's energetics to environmental conditions and thus can be a valuable tool to help inform predictions of climate-related population changes. Since Niche Mapper is a generic model, it can make energetic predictions for other species threatened by climate change.

  14. Allee effect in polar bears: a potential consequence of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlova, Viola; Nabe-Nielsen, Jacob; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Grimm, Volker

    2016-11-30

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland and Svalbard exhibited very high concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the 1980s and 1990s. In Svalbard, slow population growth during that period was suspected to be linked to PCB contamination. In this case study, we explored how PCBs could have impacted polar bear population growth and/or male reproductive success in Svalbard during the mid-1990s by reducing the fertility of contaminated males. A dose-response relationship linking the effects of PCBs to male polar bear fertility was extrapolated from studies of the effects of PCBs on sperm quality in rodents. Based on this relationship, an individual-based model of bear interactions during the breeding season predicted fertilization success under alternative assumptions regarding male-male competition for females. Contamination reduced pregnancy rates by decreasing the availability of fertile males, thus triggering a mate-finding Allee effect, particularly when male-male competition for females was limited or when infertile males were able to compete with fertile males for females. Comparisons of our model predictions on age-dependent reproductive success of males with published empirical observations revealed that the low representation of 10-14-year-old males among breeding males documented in Svalbard in mid-1990s could have resulted from PCB contamination. We conclude that contamination-related male infertility may lead to a reduction in population growth via an Allee effect. The magnitude of the effect is largely dependent on the population-specific mating system. In eco-toxicological risk assessments, appropriate consideration should therefore be given to negative effects of contaminants on male fertility and male mating behaviour. © 2016 The Author(s).

  15. Forecasting the relative influence of environmental and anthropogenic stressors on polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd C.; Marcot, Bruce G.; Douglas, David C.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Rode, Karyn D.; Durner, George M.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey F.

    2016-01-01

    Effective conservation planning requires understanding and ranking threats to wildlife populations. We developed a Bayesian network model to evaluate the relative influence of environmental and anthropogenic stressors, and their mitigation, on the persistence of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Overall sea ice conditions, affected by rising global temperatures, were the most influential determinant of population outcomes. Accordingly, unabated rise in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations was the dominant influence leading to worsened population outcomes, with polar bears in three of four ecoregions reaching a dominant probability of decreased or greatly decreased by the latter part of this century. Stabilization of atmospheric GHG concentrations by mid-century delayed the greatly reduced state by ≈25 yr in two ecoregions. Prompt and aggressive mitigation of emissions reduced the probability of any regional population becoming greatly reduced by up to 25%. Marine prey availability, linked closely to sea ice trend, had slightly less influence on outcome state than sea ice availability itself. Reduced mortality from hunting and defense of life and property interactions resulted in modest declines in the probability of a decreased or greatly decreased population outcome. Minimizing other stressors such as trans-Arctic shipping, oil and gas exploration, and contaminants had a negligible effect on polar bear outcomes, although the model was not well-informed with respect to the potential influence of these stressors. Adverse consequences of loss of sea ice habitat became more pronounced as the summer ice-free period lengthened beyond four months, which could occur in most of the Arctic basin after mid-century if GHG emissions are not promptly reduced. Long-term conservation of polar bears would be best supported by holding global mean temperature to ≤ 2°C above preindustrial levels. Until further sea ice loss is stopped, management of other stressors may

  16. Lactational transfer of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls in polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knott, Katrina K; Boyd, Daryle; Ylitalo, Gina M; O'Hara, Todd M

    2012-07-01

    We examined concentrations of total mercury (tHg, inorganic and methylated forms) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in blood and milk from free-ranging Southern Beaufort-Chukchi Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to assess maternal transfer of contaminants during lactation and the potential health risk to nursing young. Concentrations of contaminants in the blood of dependent and juvenile animals (ages 1-5 years) ranged from 35.9 to 52.2 μg kg(-1) ww for tHg and 13.9 to 52.2 μg kg(-1) ww (3255.81-11067.79 μg kg(-1) lw) for ΣPCB(7)s, similar to those of adult females, but greater than adult males. Contaminant concentrations in milk ranged from 5.7 to 71.8 μg tHg kg(-1)ww and 160 to 690 μg ΣPCB(11)s kg(-1) ww (547-5190 μg kg(-1) lw). The daily intake levels for tHg by milk consumption estimated for dependent young were below the tolerable daily intake level (TDIL) of tHg established for adult humans. Although the daily intake levels of PCBs through milk consumption for cubs of the year exceeded the TDIL thresholds, calculated dioxin equivalents for PCBs in milk were below adverse physiological thresholds for aquatic mammals. Relatively high concentrations of non-dioxin like PCBs in polar bear milk and blood could impact endocrine function of Southern Beaufort-Chukchi Sea polar bears, but this is uncertain. Transfer of contaminants during mid to late lactation likely limits bioaccumulation of dietary contaminants in female polar bears during spring. As polar bears respond to changes in their arctic sea ice habitat, the adverse health impacts associated with nutritional stress may be exacerbated by tHg and PCBs exposure, especially in ecologically and toxicologically sensitive polar bear cohorts such as reproductive females and young. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  17. Mapping polar bear maternal denning habitat in the National Petroleum Reserve -- Alaska with an IfSAR digital terrain model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M.; Simac, Kristin S.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2013-01-01

    The National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPR-A) in northeastern Alaska provides winter maternal denning habitat for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and also has high potential for recoverable hydrocarbons. Denning polar bears exposed to human activities may abandon their dens before their young are able to survive the severity of Arctic winter weather. To ensure that wintertime petroleum activities do not threaten polar bears, managers need to know the distribution of landscape features in which maternal dens are likely to occur. Here, we present a map of potential denning habitat within the NPR-A. We used a fine-grai