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Sample records for polar bear black

  1. 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.

  2. Polar Bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Douglas, David C.; Reynolds, Patricia E.; Rhode, E.B.

    2002-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are hunted throughout most of their range. In addition to hunting polar bears of the Beaufort Sea region are exposed to mineral and petroleum extraction and related human activities such as shipping road-building, and seismic testing (Stirling 1990).Little was known at the start of this project about how polar bears move about in their environment, and although it was understood that many bears travel across political borders, the boundaries of populations had not been delineated (Amstrup 1986, Amstrup et al. 1986, Amstrup and DeMaster 1988, Garner et al. 1994, Amstrup 1995, Amstrup et al. 1995, Amstrup 2000).As human populations increase and demands for polar bears and other arctic resources escalate, managers must know the sizes and distributions of the polar bear populations. Resource managers also need reliable estimates of breeding rates, reproductive intervals, litter sizes, and survival of young and adults.Our objectives for this research were 1) to determine the seasonal and annual movements of polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, 2) to define the boundaries of the population(s) using this region, 3) to determine the size and status of the Beaufort Sea polar bear population, and 4) to establish reproduction and survival rates (Amstrup 2000).

  3. COMPOSITION OF BLACK BEAR MILK.

    Science.gov (United States)

    An analysis of black bear ( Ursus americanus Pallas) milk showed that the total solids, fat and protein were much higher and the lactose lower than...either cow or human milk. In comparison with polar bear (Thalarcotos maritimus ), the black bear milk was lower in fat, protein and total calories. (Author)

  4. 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.

  5. Climate Drives Polar Bear Origins

    Science.gov (United States)

    In their provocative analysis of northern bears (“Nuclear genomic sequences reveal that polar bears are an old and distinct bear lineage,” Reports, 20 April, p. 344), F. Hailer et al. use independent nuclear loci to show that polar bears originated during the middle Pleistocene, rather than during t...

  6. Watchable Wildlife: The Black Bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lynn L. Rogers

    1992-01-01

    Black bears are the bears people most often encounter. Black bears live in forests over much of North America, unlike grizzlies that live only in Alaska, northern and western Canada, and the northern Rocky Mountains. This brochure presents the latest information on black bear life and how this species responds to an ever-increasing number of campers, hikers, and...

  7. Introgressive hybridization: brown bears as vectors for polar bear alleles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hailer, Frank

    2015-03-01

    The dynamics and consequences of introgression can inform about numerous evolutionary processes. Biologists have therefore long been interested in hybridization. One challenge, however, lies in the identification of nonadmixed genotypes that can serve as a baseline for accurate quantification of admixture. In this issue of Molecular Ecology, Cahill et al. (2015) analyse a genomic data set of 28 polar bears, eight brown bears and one American black bear. Polar bear alleles are found to be introgressed into brown bears not only near a previously identified admixture zone on the Alaskan Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof (ABC) Islands, but also far into the North American mainland. Elegantly contrasting admixture levels at autosomal and X chromosomal markers, Cahill and colleagues infer that male-biased dispersal has spread these introgressed alleles away from the Late Pleistocene contact zone. Compared to a previous study on the ABC Island population in which an Alaskan brown bear served as a putatively admixture-free reference, Cahill et al. (2015) utilize a newly sequenced Swedish brown bear as admixture baseline. This approach reveals that brown bears have been impacted by introgression from polar bears to a larger extent (up to 8.8% of their genome), than previously known, including the bear that had previously served as admixture baseline. No evidence for introgression of brown bear into polar bear is found, which the authors argue could be a consequence of selection. Besides adding new exciting pieces to the puzzle of polar/brown bear evolutionary history, the study by Cahill and colleagues highlights that wildlife genomics is moving from analysing single genomes towards a landscape genomics approach. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  8. 77 FR 70423 - Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC and Black Bear Development Holdings, LLC and Black Bear SO, LLC...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-26

    ... Bear Hydro Partners, LLC and Black Bear Development Holdings, LLC and Black Bear SO, LLC; Notice of..., 2012, Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC, sole licensee (transferor) and Black Bear Development Holdings, LLC and Black Bear SO, LLC (transferees) filed an application for the partial the transfer of licenses...

  9. Nuclear genomic sequences reveal that polar bears are an old and distinct bear lineage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hailer, Frank; Kutschera, Verena E; Hallström, Björn M; Klassert, Denise; Fain, Steven R; Leonard, Jennifer A; Arnason, Ulfur; Janke, Axel

    2012-04-20

    Recent studies have shown that the polar bear matriline (mitochondrial DNA) evolved from a brown bear lineage since the late Pleistocene, potentially indicating rapid speciation and adaption to arctic conditions. Here, we present a high-resolution data set from multiple independent loci across the nuclear genomes of a broad sample of polar, brown, and black bears. Bayesian coalescent analyses place polar bears outside the brown bear clade and date the divergence much earlier, in the middle Pleistocene, about 600 (338 to 934) thousand years ago. This provides more time for polar bear evolution and confirms previous suggestions that polar bears carry introgressed brown bear mitochondrial DNA due to past hybridization. Our results highlight that multilocus genomic analyses are crucial for an accurate understanding of evolutionary history.

  10. 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.

  11. Climate Change, Polar Bears and their management

    OpenAIRE

    Derenchenko, Liza

    2010-01-01

    This is a literature study of polar bears in the context of climate change: what kind of creatures are polar bears, what are the main interpretations of current climate change, how might the polar bear adapt to these changes (feeding strategies) and how are the bears being managed (hunting)? These are relevant questions , since climate change is on the agenda, and polar bears being the apex predators of the Arctic are a key representation of the wildlife there. The third element of polar bear...

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Satellite monitoring of black bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craighead, J. J.; Craighead, F. C., Jr.; Varney, J. R.; Cote, C. E.

    1971-01-01

    Description of a feasibility experiment recently performed to test the use of a satellite system for telemetering environmental and physiological data from the winter den of a 'hibernating' black bear, Ursus americanus. The instrumentation procedure and evaluations of the equipment performance and sensory data obtained are discussed in detail.

  15. Can polar bear hairs absorb environmental energy?

    OpenAIRE

    He Ji-Huan; Wang Qing-Li; Sun Jie

    2011-01-01

    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.

  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. Cool Polar Bears: Dabbing on the Texture

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connell, Jean

    2011-01-01

    In this article, the author describes how her second-graders created their cool polar bears. The students used the elements of shape and texture to create the bears. They used Monet's technique of dabbing paint so as to give the bear some texture on his fur.

  18. Mercury in polar bears from Alaska

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lentfer, J.W.; Galster, W.A.

    1987-04-01

    Alaskan polar bear (Ursus maritimus) muscle and liver samples collected in 1972 were analyzed for total mercury. Bears north of Alaska had more mercury than bears west of Alaska. The only difference between young and adult animals was in the northern area where adults had more mercury in liver tissue than young animals. Levels were probably not high enough to be a serious threat to bears.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Mercury biomagnification in polar bears ( Ursus maritimus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horton, T. W.; Blum, J. D.; Xie, Z.; Hren, M.; Chamberlain, C. P.

    2007-12-01

    Mercury biomagnification occurs in a variety of ecosystems resulting in greater potential for toxicological effects in higher-level trophic feeders. However, Hg transport pathways through different foodweb channels are not well known, particularly in high-latitude systems affected by atmospheric Hg deposition associated with snow and ice. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios and Hg concentrations determined for 26 late 19th and early 20th century polar bear hair specimens collected from cataloged museum collections elucidate relationships between high latitude marine foodweb structure and Hg transport pathways. Nitrogen and carbon isotopic compositions suggest that polar bears derive nutrition from both open water (pelagic) and ice associated (sympagic) foodweb channels. Correlation between Hg concentrations and nitrogen isotope compositions indicate mercury biomagnification occurred in most of the polar bears investigated. Interpretation of stable isotope based foodweb structure in concert with Hg concentrations further suggests that Hg biomagnification occurred to a greater degree in polar bears participating in pelagic foodweb channels.

  3. Is Polar Bear Hair Fiber Optic?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koon, Daniel W.

    1998-05-01

    New direct measurement of high optical attenuation rates in polar bear hairs 2 8 dB mm in the visible and reanalysis of the data of Tributsch et al . Sol. Energy Mater. 21, 219 (1990) seem to rule out the UV waveguiding proposed by Grojean et al . Appl. Opt. 19, 339 (1980) . The case against fiber-optic polar bear hairs is summarized, and four conditions are given that any variation of the model of Grojean et al . would have to satisfy.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. How to live with black bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lynn L. Rogers

    1988-01-01

    A black bear in camp requires caution but is not cause for great alarm. Most are timid enough to be scared away by yelling, waving, and banging pans. But a few are too accustomed to people to be bothered.

  7. 77 FR 77070 - Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC;

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-12-31

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 2727-086] Black Bear Hydro...: October 24, 2012. d. Submitted By: Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC (Black Bear Hydro). e. Name of Project... designating Black Bear Hydro as the Commission's non-federal representative for carrying out informal...

  8. Polar bears: the fate of an icon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fitzgerald, Kevin T

    2013-11-01

    Polar bears are one of the most iconic animals on our planet. Worldwide, even people who would never see one are drawn to these charismatic arctic ice hunters. They are the world's largest terrestrial carnivore, and despite being born on land, they spend most of their lives out on the sea ice and are considered a marine mammal. Current global studies estimate there are around 20,000 animals in some 19 discrete circumpolar populations. Aside from pregnant females denning in the winter months to give birth, the white bears do not hibernate. They spend their winters on the sea ice hunting seals, an activity they are spectacularly adapted for. Research on these animals is incredibly difficult because of the inhospitable surroundings they inhabit and how inaccessible they make the bears. For many years, the sum of our understanding of the natural history of polar bears came from tracks, scats, the remains of their kills, abandoned dens, and anecdotal observations of native hunters, explorers, and early biologists. Nonetheless, the last 40 years have seen a much better picture of their biology emerge thanks to, first, dedicated Canadian researchers and, later, truly international efforts of workers from many countries. Veterinarians have contributed to our knowledge of the bears by delivering and monitoring anesthesia, obtaining blood samples, performing necropsies, investigating their reproduction, conducting radiotelemetry studies, and examining their behavior. Recently, new technologies have been developed that revolutionize the study of the lives and natural history of undisturbed polar bears. These advances include better satellite radiotelemetry equipment and the development of remote-controlled miniature devices equipped with high-definition cameras. Such new modalities provide dramatic new insights into the life of polar bears. The remarkable degree of specialized adaptation to life on the sea ice that allowed the bears to be successful is the very reason that

  9. Genomic evidence of geographically widespread effect of gene flow from polar bears into brown bears

    OpenAIRE

    Cahill, James A; Stirling, Ian; Kistler, Logan; Salamzade, Rauf; Ersmark, Erik; Fulton, Tara L; Stiller, Mathias; Green, Richard E; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-01-01

    © 2014 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Polar bears are an arctic, marine adapted species that is closely related to brown bears. Genome analyses have shown that polar bears are distinct and genetically homogeneous in comparison to brown bears. However, these analyses have also revealed a remarkable episode of polar bear gene flow into the population of brown bears that colonized the Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof islands (ABC islands) of Alaska. Here, we...

  10. An Interview About Hunting a Black Bear

    OpenAIRE

    G.yu lha

    2009-01-01

    The respondent describes the first time he killed a black bear while hunting. The fifty one audio and nine video files in this collection include: villages’ life stories, circle-dancing songs and performance, local history, folk tales, and interviews from Siyuewu Village, Puxi Township, Rangtang County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China. World Oral Literature Project

  11. Is the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) a hibernator? Continued studies on opioids and hibernation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce, David S.; Darling, Nancy K.; Seeland, Katheleen J.; Oeltgen, Peter R.; Nilekani, Sita P.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    1990-01-01

    Polar bear behavior and biochemistry suggest they may have the ability to hibernate year-round, even though this species is not considered to be a true hibernator. This observation, plus the discovery of a hibernation-induced trigger (HIT) in the blood of black bears, prompted the examination of polar bear blood collected thoughout the year for evidence ofr HIT, and to determine if it displayed opioid activity, as black bear blood does. A bioassay was conducted by injected summer 13-lined ground squirrels with serum collected from polar bears at different seasons. One group of squirrels was previously implanted with osmotic pumps containing naloxone. The rest had pumps containing saline. Squirrels with saline pumps all hibernated significantly more than those with naloxone, except the group receiving blood from a November polar bear, observed to be highly active and hyperphagic. An in vitro study, using guinea pig ileum, showed that 400 nM morphine inhibited induced contractions and 100 nM naloxone reversed the inhibition. Ten mg of winter polar bear serum albumin fraction (to which HIT binds in ground squirrels and woodchucks) had a similar inhibiting effect, but naloxone, even at 4,000 nM, didn't reverse it. It is concluded that polar bear contains HIT, that it has an opioid effct, but may not itself be an opioid.

  12. 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.

  13. Chromatographic (TLC) differentiation of grizzly bear and black bear scats

    Science.gov (United States)

    Picton, Harold D.; Kendall, Katherine C.

    1994-01-01

    While past work concluded that thin-layer chromatography (TLC) was inadequate for the separation of grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bear (U. americanus) scats, our study found differences adequate for species separation. A key was constructed using 19 of 40 data points recorded on each(N)=356 profiles of 178) know-species scat. Accuracy was best for late summer scats (94%). Methods for specimen preparation, analysis, and reading the TLC profiles are discussed. Factors involved in scat variation were tested.

  14. Genomic evidence of geographically widespread effect of gene flow from polar bears into brown bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cahill, James A; Stirling, Ian; Kistler, Logan; Salamzade, Rauf; Ersmark, Erik; Fulton, Tara L; Stiller, Mathias; Green, Richard E; Shapiro, Beth

    2015-03-01

    Polar bears are an arctic, marine adapted species that is closely related to brown bears. Genome analyses have shown that polar bears are distinct and genetically homogeneous in comparison to brown bears. However, these analyses have also revealed a remarkable episode of polar bear gene flow into the population of brown bears that colonized the Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof islands (ABC islands) of Alaska. Here, we present an analysis of data from a large panel of polar bear and brown bear genomes that includes brown bears from the ABC islands, the Alaskan mainland and Europe. Our results provide clear evidence that gene flow between the two species had a geographically wide impact, with polar bear DNA found within the genomes of brown bears living both on the ABC islands and in the Alaskan mainland. Intriguingly, while brown bear genomes contain up to 8.8% polar bear ancestry, polar bear genomes appear to be devoid of brown bear ancestry, suggesting the presence of a barrier to gene flow in that direction. © 2014 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. The Polar BEAR magnetic field experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bythrow, P. F.; Potemra, T. A.; Zanetti, L. J.; Mobley, F. F.; Scheer, L.; Radford, W. E.

    1987-09-01

    The objectives and the instrumentation of the Polar BEAR magnetic field experiment are described along with the preliminary results from simultaneous measurements of Birkeland currents and UV auroral emissions. The experiment consists of an integrated sensor head, analog electronics, and digital electronics. The sensor head is a single unit containing sensor windings for each of the three orthogonal axes, oriented parrallel to the spacecraft coordinates; to minimize interference from spacecraft-generated magnetic fields, the sensor unit is located at the end of the +y solar panel. The digital electronics package is essentially identical to that flown on HILAT. A signal processor digitizes the analog outputs of the three orthogonal axes of the flux-gate magnetometer to a 13-bit resolution, yielding a magnetic field range of + or - 63,000 nT and a resolution of 15.2 nT. The full-resolution magnetic field values are recovered by data processing techniques on the ground.

  16. Is the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) a hibernator? Continued studies on opioids and hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce, D S; Darling, N K; Seeland, K J; Oeltgen, P R; Nilekani, S P; Amstrup, S C

    1990-03-01

    Polar bear behavior and biochemistry suggest they may have the ability to hibernate year-round, even though this species is not considered to be a true hibernator. This observation, plus the discovery of a hibernation-induction trigger (HIT) in the blood of black bears, prompted the examination of polar bear blood collected throughout the year for evidence of HIT, and to determine if it displayed opioid activity, as black bear blood does. A bioassay was conducted by injecting summer 13-lined ground squirrels with serum collected from polar bears at different seasons. One group of squirrels was previously implanted with osmotic pumps containing naloxone. The rest had pumps containing saline. Squirrels with saline pumps all hibernated significantly more than those with naloxone, except the group receiving blood from a November polar bear, observed to be highly active and hyperphagic. An in vitro study, using guinea pig ileum, showed that 400 nM morphine inhibited induced contractions and 100 nM naloxone reversed the inhibition. Ten mg of winter polar bear serum albumin fraction (to which HIT binds in ground squirrels and woodchucks) had a similar inhibiting effect, but naloxone, even at 4,000 nM, didn't reverse it. It is concluded that polar bear blood contains HIT, that it has an inhibiting effect, but naloxone, even at 4,000 nM, didn't reverse it. It is concluded that polar bear blood contains HIT, that it has an opioid effect, but may not itself be an opioid.

  17. Telemetry experiments with a hibernating black bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craighead, J. J.; Varney, J. R.; Sumner, J. S.; Craighead, F. C., Jr.

    1972-01-01

    The objectives of this research were to develop and test telemetry equipment suitable for monitoring physiological parameters and activity of a hibernating bear in its den, to monitor this data and other environmental information with the Nimbus 3 IRLS data collection system, and to refine immobilizing, handling, and other techniques required in future work with wild bears under natural conditions. A temperature-telemetering transmitter was implanted in the abdominal cavity of a captive black bear and body temperature data was recorded continuously during a 3 month hibernation period. Body temperatures ranging between 37.5 and 31.8 C were observed. Body temperature and overall activity were influenced by disturbances and ambient den temperature. Nychthemeral temperature changes were not noticable. A load cell weight recording device was tested for determining weight loss during hibernation. Monitoring of data by satellite was not attempted. The implanted transmitter was removed and the bear was released with a radiolocation collar at the conclusion of the experiment.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2015-01-01

    -4 pathway in polar bears, similar to rodents. The large individual variability in steroid levels reported here most likely reflects the differences in reproductive status of the female polar bears during mating season. The steroid data establish reference values of steroid hormones and may...... 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...

  1. 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...

  2. East Greenland and Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pertoldi, Cino; Sonne, Christian; Wiig, Øystein

    2012-01-01

    A morphometric study was conducted on four skull traits of 37 male and 18 female adult East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) collected 18921968, and on 54 male and 44 female adult Barents Sea polar bears collected 19501969. The aim was to compare differences in size and shape of the bear...... 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...... 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...

  3. Black bear damage to northwestern conifers in California: a review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kenneth O. Fulgham; Dennis Hosack

    2017-01-01

    A total of 789 black bear damaged trees were investigate over a multi-year period on 14 different study sites chosen on lands of four participating timber companies. The sites ranged from 30 to 50 years of age. Four different conifer species were found to have black bear damage: coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.), Douglas-fir (...

  4. Human disturbances of denning polar bears in Alaska

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Amstrup, S.C. (Alaska Fish and Wildlife Research Center, Anchorage, AK (United States))

    1993-09-01

    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.

  5. Biomechanical consequences of rapid evolution in the polar bear lineage.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Graham J Slater

    2010-11-01

    Full Text Available The polar bear is the only living ursid with a fully carnivorous diet. Despite a number of well-documented craniodental adaptations for a diet of seal flesh and blubber, molecular and paleontological data indicate that this morphologically distinct species evolved less than a million years ago from the omnivorous brown bear. To better understand the evolution of this dietary specialization, we used phylogenetic tests to estimate the rate of morphological specialization in polar bears. We then used finite element analysis (FEA to compare the limits of feeding performance in the polar bear skull to that of the phylogenetically and geographically close brown bear. Results indicate that extremely rapid evolution of semi-aquatic adaptations and dietary specialization in the polar bear lineage produced a cranial morphology that is weaker than that of brown bears and less suited to processing tough omnivorous or herbivorous diets. Our results suggest that continuation of current climate trends could affect polar bears by not only eliminating their primary food source, but also through competition with northward advancing, generalized brown populations for resources that they are ill-equipped to utilize.

  6. Biomechanical consequences of rapid evolution in the polar bear lineage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slater, Graham J; Figueirido, Borja; Louis, Leeann; Yang, Paul; Van Valkenburgh, Blaire

    2010-11-05

    The polar bear is the only living ursid with a fully carnivorous diet. Despite a number of well-documented craniodental adaptations for a diet of seal flesh and blubber, molecular and paleontological data indicate that this morphologically distinct species evolved less than a million years ago from the omnivorous brown bear. To better understand the evolution of this dietary specialization, we used phylogenetic tests to estimate the rate of morphological specialization in polar bears. We then used finite element analysis (FEA) to compare the limits of feeding performance in the polar bear skull to that of the phylogenetically and geographically close brown bear. Results indicate that extremely rapid evolution of semi-aquatic adaptations and dietary specialization in the polar bear lineage produced a cranial morphology that is weaker than that of brown bears and less suited to processing tough omnivorous or herbivorous diets. Our results suggest that continuation of current climate trends could affect polar bears by not only eliminating their primary food source, but also through competition with northward advancing, generalized brown populations for resources that they are ill-equipped to utilize.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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, André E Rodrigues; Stirling, Ian; Bradley, Daniel; Edwards, Ceiridwen J; Graim, Kiley; Kisleika, Aliaksandr A; Malev, Alexander V; Monaghan, Nigel; Green, Richard E; Shapiro, Beth

    2018-02-20

    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, when 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.

  10. Polar and brown bear genomes reveal ancient admixture and demographic footprints of past climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Webb; Schuster, Stephan C.; Welch, Andreanna J.; Ratan, Aakrosh; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C.; Zhao, Fangqing; Kim, Hie Lim; Burhans, Richard C.; Drautz, Daniela I.; Wittekindt, Nicola E.; Tomsho, Lynn P.; Ibarra-Laclette, Enrique; Herrera-Estrella, Luis; Peacock, Elizabeth; Farley, Sean; Sage, George K.; Rode, Karyn D.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Montiel, Rafael; Bachmann, Lutz; Ingólfsson, Ólafur; Aars, Jon; Mailund, Thomas; Wiig, Øystein; Talbot, Sandra L.; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2012-01-01

    Polar bears (PBs) are superbly adapted to the extreme Arctic environment and have become emblematic of the threat to biodiversity from global climate change. Their divergence from the lower-latitude brown bear provides a textbook example of rapid evolution of distinct phenotypes. However, limited mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence conflicts in the timing of PB origin as well as placement of the species within versus sister to the brown bear lineage. We gathered extensive genomic sequence data from contemporary polar, brown, and American black bear samples, in addition to a 130,000- to 110,000-y old PB, to examine this problem from a genome-wide perspective. Nuclear DNA markers reflect a species tree consistent with expectation, showing polar and brown bears to be sister species. However, for the enigmatic brown bears native to Alaska's Alexander Archipelago, we estimate that not only their mitochondrial genome, but also 5–10% of their nuclear genome, is most closely related to PBs, indicating ancient admixture between the two species. Explicit admixture analyses are consistent with ancient splits among PBs, brown bears and black bears that were later followed by occasional admixture. We also provide paleodemographic estimates that suggest bear evolution has tracked key climate events, and that PB in particular experienced a prolonged and dramatic decline in its effective population size during the last ca. 500,000 years. We demonstrate that brown bears and PBs have had sufficiently independent evolutionary histories over the last 4–5 million years to leave imprints in the PB nuclear genome that likely are associated with ecological adaptation to the Arctic environment.

  11. Polar and brown bear genomes reveal ancient admixture and demographic footprints of past climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Webb; Schuster, Stephan C; Welch, Andreanna J; Ratan, Aakrosh; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C; Zhao, Fangqing; Kim, Hie Lim; Burhans, Richard C; Drautz, Daniela I; Wittekindt, Nicola E; Tomsho, Lynn P; Ibarra-Laclette, Enrique; Herrera-Estrella, Luis; Peacock, Elizabeth; Farley, Sean; Sage, George K; Rode, Karyn; Obbard, Martyn; Montiel, Rafael; Bachmann, Lutz; Ingólfsson, Olafur; Aars, Jon; Mailund, Thomas; Wiig, Oystein; Talbot, Sandra L; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2012-09-04

    Polar bears (PBs) are superbly adapted to the extreme Arctic environment and have become emblematic of the threat to biodiversity from global climate change. Their divergence from the lower-latitude brown bear provides a textbook example of rapid evolution of distinct phenotypes. However, limited mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence conflicts in the timing of PB origin as well as placement of the species within versus sister to the brown bear lineage. We gathered extensive genomic sequence data from contemporary polar, brown, and American black bear samples, in addition to a 130,000- to 110,000-y old PB, to examine this problem from a genome-wide perspective. Nuclear DNA markers reflect a species tree consistent with expectation, showing polar and brown bears to be sister species. However, for the enigmatic brown bears native to Alaska's Alexander Archipelago, we estimate that not only their mitochondrial genome, but also 5-10% of their nuclear genome, is most closely related to PBs, indicating ancient admixture between the two species. Explicit admixture analyses are consistent with ancient splits among PBs, brown bears and black bears that were later followed by occasional admixture. We also provide paleodemographic estimates that suggest bear evolution has tracked key climate events, and that PB in particular experienced a prolonged and dramatic decline in its effective population size during the last ca. 500,000 years. We demonstrate that brown bears and PBs have had sufficiently independent evolutionary histories over the last 4-5 million years to leave imprints in the PB nuclear genome that likely are associated with ecological adaptation to the Arctic environment.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Food availability and foraging near human developments by black bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Merkle, Jerod A.; Robinson, Hugh S.; Krausman, Paul R.; Alaback, Paul B.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the relationship between foraging ecology and the presence of human-dominated landscapes is important, particularly for American black bears (Ursus americanus), which sometimes move between wildlands and urban areas to forage. The food-related factors influencing this movement have not been explored, but can be important for understanding the benefits and costs to black bear foraging behavior and the fundamental origins of bear conflicts. We tested whether the scarcity of wildland foods or the availability of urban foods can explain when black bears forage near houses, examined the extent to which male bears use urban areas in comparison to females, and identified the most important food items influencing bear movement into urban areas. We monitored 16 collared black bears in and around Missoula, Montana, during 2009 and 2010, while quantifying the rate of change in green vegetation and the availability of 5 native berry-producing species outside the urban area, the rate of change in green vegetation, and the availability of apples and garbage inside the urban area. We used parametric time-to-event models in which an event was a bear location collected within 100 m of a house. We also visited feeding sites located near houses and quantified food items bears had eaten. The probability of a bear being located near a house was 1.6 times higher for males, and increased during apple season and the urban green-up. Fruit trees accounted for most of the forage items at urban feeding sites (49%), whereas wildland foods composed Black bears foraged on human foods near houses even when wildland foods were available, suggesting that the absence of wildland foods may not influence the probability of bears foraging near houses. Additionally, other attractants, in this case fruit trees, appear to be more important than the availability of garbage in influencing when bears forage near houses.

  17. Polar bear Ursus maritimus hearing measured with auditory evoked potentials.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nachtigall, Paul E; Supin, Alexander Y; Amundin, Mats; Röken, Bengt; Møller, Thorsten; Mooney, T Aran; Taylor, Kristen A; Yuen, Michelle

    2007-04-01

    While there has been recent concern about the effects of sound on marine mammals, including polar bears, there are no data available measuring the hearing of any bear. The in-air hearing of three polar bears was measured using evoked auditory potentials obtained while tone pips were played to three individually anaesthetized bears at the Kolmården Djurpark. Hearing was tested in half-octave steps from 1 to 22.5 kHz. Measurements were not obtainable at 1 kHz and best sensitivity was found in the range from 11.2-22.5 kHz. Considering the tone pips were short and background noise measurements were available, absolute measurements were estimated based on an assumed mammalian integration time of 300 ms. These data show sensitive hearing in the polar bear over a wide frequency range and should cause those concerned with the introduction of anthropogenic noise into the polar bear's environment to operate with caution.

  18. Comparative analysis of fecal microbiota and intestinal microbial metabolic activity in captive polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwab, Clarissa; Gänzle, Michael

    2011-03-01

    The composition of the intestinal microbiota depends on gut physiology and diet. Ursidae possess a simple gastrointestinal system composed of a stomach, small intestine, and indistinct hindgut. This study determined the composition and stability of fecal microbiota of 3 captive polar bears by group-specific quantitative PCR and PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) using the 16S rRNA gene as target. Intestinal metabolic activity was determined by analysis of short-chain fatty acids in feces. For comparison, other Carnivora and mammals were included in this study. Total bacterial abundance was approximately log 8.5 DNA gene copies·(g feces)-1 in all 3 polar bears. Fecal polar bear microbiota was dominated by the facultative anaerobes Enterobacteriaceae and enterococci, and the Clostridium cluster I. The detection of the Clostridium perfringens α-toxin gene verified the presence of C. perfringens. Composition of the fecal bacterial population was stable on a genus level; according to results obtained by PCR-DGGE, dominant bacterial species fluctuated. The total short-chain fatty acid content of Carnivora and other mammals analysed was comparable; lactate was detected in feces of all carnivora but present only in trace amounts in other mammals. In comparison, the fecal microbiota and metabolic activity of captive polar bears mostly resembled the closely related grizzly and black bears.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus), the most evolutionary advanced hibernators, avoid significant bone loss during hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lennox, Alanda R; Goodship, Allen E

    2008-02-01

    Some hibernating animals are known to reduce muscle and bone loss associated with mechanical unloading during prolonged immobilisation,compared to humans. However, here we show that wild pregnant polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are the first known animals to avoid significant bone loss altogether, despite six months of continuous hibernation. Using serum biochemical markers of bone turnover, we showed that concentrations for bone resorption are not significantly increased as a consequence of hibernation in wild polar bears. This is in sharp contrast to previous studies on other hibernating species, where for example, black bears (Ursus americanus), show a 3-4 fold increase in serum bone resorption concentrations posthibernation,and must compensate for this loss through rapid bone recovery on remobilisation, to avoid the risk of fracture. In further contrast to black bears, serum concentrations of bone formation markers were highly significantly increased in pregnant female polar bears compared to non-pregnant,thus non-hibernating females both prior to and after hibernation. However, bone formation concentrations in new mothers were significantly reduced compared to pre-hibernation concentrations. The de-coupling of bone turnover in favour of bone formation prior to hibernation, suggests that wild polar bears may posses a unique physiological mechanism for building bone in protective preparation against expected osteopenia associated with disuse,starvation, and hormonal drives to mobilise calcium for reproduction, during hibernation. Understanding this physiological mechanism could have profound implications for a natural solution for the prevention of osteoporosis in animals subjected to captivity with inadequate space for exercise,humans subjected to prolonged bed rest while recovering from illness, or astronauts exposed to antigravity during spaceflight.© 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  5. Black bear density in Glacier National Park, Montana

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stetz, Jeff B.; Kendall, Katherine C.; Macleod, Amy C.

    2013-01-01

    We report the first abundance and density estimates for American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Glacier National Park (NP),Montana, USA.We used data from 2 independent and concurrent noninvasive genetic sampling methods—hair traps and bear rubs—collected during 2004 to generate individual black bear encounter histories for use in closed population mark–recapture models. We improved the precision of our abundance estimate by using noninvasive genetic detection events to develop individual-level covariates of sampling effort within the full and one-half mean maximum distance moved (MMDM) from each bear’s estimated activity center to explain capture probability heterogeneity and inform our estimate of the effective sampling area.Models including the one-halfMMDMcovariate received overwhelming Akaike’s Information Criterion support suggesting that buffering our study area by this distance would be more appropriate than no buffer or the full MMDM buffer for estimating the effectively sampled area and thereby density. Our modelaveraged super-population abundance estimate was 603 (95% CI¼522–684) black bears for Glacier NP. Our black bear density estimate (11.4 bears/100 km2, 95% CI¼9.9–13.0) was consistent with published estimates for populations that are sympatric with grizzly bears (U. arctos) and without access to spawning salmonids. Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

  6. Organophosphate esters in East Greenland polar bears and ringed seals

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Strobel, Adelle; Willmore, William G; Sonne, Christian

    2018-01-01

    influenced by biotransformation. In the present study, the hepatic in vitro metabolism of six environmentally relevant organophosphate (OP) triesters and corresponding OP diester formation were investigated in East Greenland polar bears (PBs) and ringed seals (RSs). The in vitro metabolism assay results were...

  7. 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.

  8. Bear-ly” learning: Limits of abstraction in black bear cognition

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer Vonk

    2018-02-01

    Full Text Available We presented two American black bears (Ursus americanus with a serial list learning memory task, and one of the bears with a matching-to-sample task. After extended training, both bears demonstrated some success with the memory task but failed to generalize the overarching rule of the task to novel stimuli. Matching to sample proved even more difficult for our bear to learn. We conclude that, despite previous success in training bears to respond to natural categories, quantity discriminations, and other related tasks, that bears may possess a cognitive limitation with regards to learning abstract rules. Future tests using different procedures are necessary to determine whether this is a limit of bears’ cognitive capacities, or a limitation of the current tasks as presented. Future tests should present a larger number of varying stimuli. Ideally, bears of various species should be tested on these tasks to demonstrate species as well as individual differences.

  9. Borreliosis in free-ranging black bears from Wisconsin.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kazmierczak, J J; Amundson, T E; Burgess, E C

    1988-04-01

    Blood, kidney and tick samples were obtained from 18 hunter-killed black bears (Ursus americanus) from three sites in northern Wisconsin. A Borrelia sp., morphologically and antigenically similar to Borrelia burgdorferi, was isolated from the blood of two of the animals, and from the kidney of a third. Ixodes dammini and Dermacentor variabilis were found on the bears. This is the first report of borreliosis in the Ursidae, and of the primary vector of Lyme disease, I. dammini, from this host.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 50 CFR 18.30 - Polar bear sport-hunted trophy import permits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 6 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Polar bear sport-hunted trophy import... IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE AND PLANTS (CONTINUED) MARINE MAMMALS Special Exceptions § 18.30 Polar bear sport... estate, must submit an application for a permit to import a trophy of a polar bear taken in Canada to the...

  14. 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...

  15. 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.

  16. Fractional model for heat conduction in polar bear hairs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wang Qing-Li

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Time-fractional differential equations can accurately describe heat conduction in fractal media, such as wool fibers, goose down and polar bear hair. The fractional complex transform is used to convert time-fractional heat conduction equations with the modified Riemann-Liouville derivative into ordinary differential equations, and exact solutions can be easily obtained. The solution process is straightforward and concise.

  17. Spatial Distribution of Black Bear Incident Reports in Michigan.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jamie E McFadden-Hiller

    Full Text Available Interactions between humans and carnivores have existed for centuries due to competition for food and space. American black bears are increasing in abundance and populations are expanding geographically in many portions of its range, including areas that are also increasing in human density, often resulting in associated increases in human-bear conflict (hereafter, bear incidents. We used public reports of bear incidents in Michigan, USA, from 2003-2011 to assess the relative contributions of ecological and anthropogenic variables in explaining the spatial distribution of bear incidents and estimated the potential risk of bear incidents. We used weighted Normalized Difference Vegetation Index mean as an index of primary productivity, region (i.e., Upper Peninsula or Lower Peninsula, primary and secondary road densities, and percentage land cover type within 6.5-km2 circular buffers around bear incidents and random points. We developed 22 a priori models and used generalized linear models and Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC to rank models. The global model was the best compromise between model complexity and model fit (w = 0.99, with a ΔAIC 8.99 units from the second best performing model. We found that as deciduous forest cover increased, the probability of bear incident occurrence increased. Among the measured anthropogenic variables, cultivated crops and primary roads were the most important in our AIC-best model and were both positively related to the probability of bear incident occurrence. The spatial distribution of relative bear incident risk varied markedly throughout Michigan. Forest cover fragmented with agriculture and other anthropogenic activities presents an environment that likely facilitates bear incidents. Our map can help wildlife managers identify areas of bear incident occurrence, which in turn can be used to help develop strategies aimed at reducing incidents. Researchers and wildlife managers can use similar mapping

  18. Spatial Distribution of Black Bear Incident Reports in Michigan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McFadden-Hiller, Jamie E; Beyer, Dean E; Belant, Jerrold L

    2016-01-01

    Interactions between humans and carnivores have existed for centuries due to competition for food and space. American black bears are increasing in abundance and populations are expanding geographically in many portions of its range, including areas that are also increasing in human density, often resulting in associated increases in human-bear conflict (hereafter, bear incidents). We used public reports of bear incidents in Michigan, USA, from 2003-2011 to assess the relative contributions of ecological and anthropogenic variables in explaining the spatial distribution of bear incidents and estimated the potential risk of bear incidents. We used weighted Normalized Difference Vegetation Index mean as an index of primary productivity, region (i.e., Upper Peninsula or Lower Peninsula), primary and secondary road densities, and percentage land cover type within 6.5-km2 circular buffers around bear incidents and random points. We developed 22 a priori models and used generalized linear models and Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) to rank models. The global model was the best compromise between model complexity and model fit (w = 0.99), with a ΔAIC 8.99 units from the second best performing model. We found that as deciduous forest cover increased, the probability of bear incident occurrence increased. Among the measured anthropogenic variables, cultivated crops and primary roads were the most important in our AIC-best model and were both positively related to the probability of bear incident occurrence. The spatial distribution of relative bear incident risk varied markedly throughout Michigan. Forest cover fragmented with agriculture and other anthropogenic activities presents an environment that likely facilitates bear incidents. Our map can help wildlife managers identify areas of bear incident occurrence, which in turn can be used to help develop strategies aimed at reducing incidents. Researchers and wildlife managers can use similar mapping techniques to

  19. The urothelium of a hibernator: the American black bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spector, David A; Deng, Jie; Coleman, Richard; Wade, James B

    2015-06-01

    The American black bear undergoes a 3-5 month winter hibernation during which time bears do not eat, drink, defecate, or urinate. During hibernation renal function (GFR) is 16-50% of normal but urine is reabsorbed across the urinary bladder (UB) urothelium thus enabling metabolic recycling of all urinary constituents. To elucidate the mechanism(s) whereby urine is reabsorbed, we examined the UBs of five nonhibernating wild bears using light, electron (EM), and confocal immunofluorescent (IF) microscopy-concentrating on two components of the urothelial permeability barrier - the umbrella cell apical membranes and tight junctions (TJ). Bear UB has the same tissue layers (serosa, muscularis, lamina propria, urothelia) and its urothelia has the same cell layers (basal, intermediate, umbrella cells) as other mammalians. By EM, the bear apical membrane demonstrated a typical mammalian scalloped appearance with hinge and plaque regions - the latter containing an asymmetric trilaminar membrane and, on IF, uroplakins Ia, IIIa, and IIIb. The umbrella cell TJs appeared similar to those in other mammals and also contained TJ proteins occludin and claudin - 4, and not claudin -2. Thus, we were unable to demonstrate urothelial apical membrane or TJ differences between active black bears and other mammals. Expression and localization of UT-B, AQP-1 and -3, and Na(+), K(+)-ATPase on bear urothelial membranes was similar to that of other mammals. Similar studies of urothelia of hibernating bears, including evaluation of the apical membrane lipid bilayer and GAGs layer are warranted to elucidate the mechanism(s) whereby hibernating bears reabsorb their daily urine output and thus ensure successful hibernation. © 2015 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American Physiological Society and The Physiological Society.

  20. Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Local Support for Black Bear Recovery Strategies(AED)

    Science.gov (United States)

    There is global interest in recovering locally extirpated carnivore species. Successful efforts to recover Louisiana black bear in Louisiana have prompted interest in recovery throughout the species’ historical range. We evaluated support for three potential black bear recovery s...

  1. 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.

  2. The role of human outdoor recreation in shaping patterns of grizzly bear-black bear co-occurrence

    OpenAIRE

    Ladle, Andrew; Steenweg, Robin; Shepherd, Brenda; Boyce, Mark S.

    2018-01-01

    Species’ distributions are influenced by a combination of landscape variables and biotic interactions with other species, including people. Grizzly bears and black bears are sympatric, competing omnivores that also share habitats with human recreationists. By adapting models for multi-species occupancy analysis, we analyzed trail camera data from 192 trail camera locations in and around Jasper National Park, Canada to estimate grizzly bear and black bear occurrence and intensity of trail use....

  3. Vacuum polarization on black hole space times

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jensen, B.P.

    1985-01-01

    The effects of vacuum polarization in black hole space times are examined. Particular attention is given to the vacuum physics inside the event horizon. The analytic properties of the solutions to the radial wave equation in Schwarzs child space time as functions of argument, frequency, and angular momentum are given. These functions are employed to define the Feynmann Green function (G/sub F/(x,x') for a scalar field subject to the Hartle-Hawking boundary conditions. An examination of the Schwarzschild mode functions near r = 0 is provided. This work is necessary background for a future calculation of 2 > and the quantum stress-energy tensor for small r. Some opinions are given on how this calculation might be performed. A solution of the one-loop Einstein equations for Schwarzs child Anti-deSitter (SAdS) space time is presented, using Page's approximation to the quantum stress tensor. The resulting perturbed metric is shown to be unphysical, as it leads to a system of fields with infinite total energy. This problem is believed to be due to a failure of Page's method in SAdS. Suggestions are given on how one might correct the method

  4. Polar Bears Exhibit Genome-Wide Signatures of Bioenergetic Adaptation to Life in the Arctic Environment

    OpenAIRE

    Welch, Andreanna J.; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C.; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D.; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2014-01-01

    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 rat...

  5. 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.

  6. Serosurvey of selected zoonotic agents in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rah, H.; Chomel, B.B.; Follmann, E.H.; Kasten, R.W.; Hew, C.H.; Farver, T.B.; Garner, G.W.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2005-01-01

    Between 1982 and 1999 blood samples were collected from 500 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) captured in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, to determine the seroprevalence of Brucella species, Toxoplasma gondii, and Trichinella species infections. The bears were classified into four age groups, cubs, yearlings, subadults and adults. Brucella and Toxoplasma antibodies were detected by agglutination (a buffered acidified card antigen and rapid automated presumptive test for brucellosis and a commercial latex agglutination test for toxoplasmosis); an ELISA was used to detect Thichinella antibodies. The overall seroprevalence of Brucella species was 5 per cent, and subadults and yearlings were 2.62 times (95 per cent confidence interval 1-02 to 6-82) more likely to be seropositive for Brucella species than adults and their cubs. The antibody prevalence for Toxoplasma gondii was 6 per cent, and for Trichinella species 55.6 per cent. The prevalence of antibodies to Trichinella species increased with age (P<0.001).

  7. Climate change threatens polar bear populations: A stochastic demographic analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, C.M.; Caswell, H.; Runge, M.C.; Regehr, E.V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.

    2010-01-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) depends on sea ice for feeding, breeding, and movement. Significant reductions in Arctic sea ice are forecast to continue because of climate warming. We evaluated the impacts of climate change on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea by means of a demographic analysis, combining deterministic, stochastic, environment-dependent matrix population models with forecasts of future sea ice conditions from IPCC general circulation models (GCMs). The matrix population models classified individuals by age and breeding status; mothers and dependent cubs were treated as units. Parameter estimates were obtained from a capture-recapture study conducted from 2001 to 2006. Candidate statistical models allowed vital rates to vary with time and as functions of a sea ice covariate. Model averaging was used to produce the vital rate estimates, and a parametric bootstrap procedure was used to quantify model selection and parameter estimation uncertainty. Deterministic models projected population growth in years with more extensive ice coverage (2001-2003) and population decline in years with less ice coverage (2004-2005). LTRE (life table response experiment) analysis showed that the reduction in ?? in years with low sea ice was due primarily to reduced adult female survival, and secondarily to reduced breeding. A stochastic model with two environmental states, good and poor sea ice conditions, projected a declining stochastic growth rate, log ??s, as the frequency of poor ice years increased. The observed frequency of poor ice years since 1979 would imply log ??s ' - 0.01, which agrees with available (albeit crude) observations of population size. The stochastic model was linked to a set of 10 GCMs compiled by the IPCC; the models were chosen for their ability to reproduce historical observations of sea ice and were forced with "business as usual" (A1B) greenhouse gas emissions. The resulting stochastic population projections showed drastic

  8. Climate change threatens polar bear populations: a stochastic demographic analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hunter, Christine M; Caswell, Hal; Runge, Michael C; Regehr, Eric V; Amstrup, Steve C; Stirling, Ian

    2010-10-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) depends on sea ice for feeding, breeding, and movement. Significant reductions in Arctic sea ice are forecast to continue because of climate warming. We evaluated the impacts of climate change on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea by means of a demographic analysis, combining deterministic, stochastic, environment-dependent matrix population models with forecasts of future sea ice conditions from IPCC general circulation models (GCMs). The matrix population models classified individuals by age and breeding status; mothers and dependent cubs were treated as units. Parameter estimates were obtained from a capture-recapture study conducted from 2001 to 2006. Candidate statistical models allowed vital rates to vary with time and as functions of a sea ice covariate. Model averaging was used to produce the vital rate estimates, and a parametric bootstrap procedure was used to quantify model selection and parameter estimation uncertainty. Deterministic models projected population growth in years with more extensive ice coverage (2001-2003) and population decline in years with less ice coverage (2004-2005). LTRE (life table response experiment) analysis showed that the reduction in lambda in years with low sea ice was due primarily to reduced adult female survival, and secondarily to reduced breeding. A stochastic model with two environmental states, good and poor sea ice conditions, projected a declining stochastic growth rate, log lambdas, as the frequency of poor ice years increased. The observed frequency of poor ice years since 1979 would imply log lambdas approximately - 0.01, which agrees with available (albeit crude) observations of population size. The stochastic model was linked to a set of 10 GCMs compiled by the IPCC; the models were chosen for their ability to reproduce historical observations of sea ice and were forced with "business as usual" (A1B) greenhouse gas emissions. The resulting stochastic population

  9. The role of human outdoor recreation in shaping patterns of grizzly bear-black bear co-occurrence.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrew Ladle

    Full Text Available Species' distributions are influenced by a combination of landscape variables and biotic interactions with other species, including people. Grizzly bears and black bears are sympatric, competing omnivores that also share habitats with human recreationists. By adapting models for multi-species occupancy analysis, we analyzed trail camera data from 192 trail camera locations in and around Jasper National Park, Canada to estimate grizzly bear and black bear occurrence and intensity of trail use. We documented (a occurrence of grizzly bears and black bears relative to habitat variables (b occurrence and intensity of use relative to competing bear species and motorised and non-motorised recreational activity, and (c temporal overlap in activity patterns among the two bear species and recreationists. Grizzly bears were spatially separated from black bears, selecting higher elevations and locations farther from roads. Both species co-occurred with motorised and non-motorised recreation, however, grizzly bears reduced their intensity of use of sites with motorised recreation present. Black bears showed higher temporal activity overlap with recreational activity than grizzly bears, however differences in bear daily activity patterns between sites with and without motorised and non-motorised recreation were not significant. Reduced intensity of use by grizzly bears of sites where motorised recreation was present is a concern given off-road recreation is becoming increasingly popular in North America, and can negatively influence grizzly bear recovery by reducing foraging opportunities near or on trails. Camera traps and multi-species occurrence models offer non-invasive methods for identifying how habitat use by animals changes relative to sympatric species, including humans. These conclusions emphasise the need for integrated land-use planning, access management, and grizzly bear conservation efforts to consider the implications of continued access for

  10. The role of human outdoor recreation in shaping patterns of grizzly bear-black bear co-occurrence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ladle, Andrew; Steenweg, Robin; Shepherd, Brenda; Boyce, Mark S

    2018-01-01

    Species' distributions are influenced by a combination of landscape variables and biotic interactions with other species, including people. Grizzly bears and black bears are sympatric, competing omnivores that also share habitats with human recreationists. By adapting models for multi-species occupancy analysis, we analyzed trail camera data from 192 trail camera locations in and around Jasper National Park, Canada to estimate grizzly bear and black bear occurrence and intensity of trail use. We documented (a) occurrence of grizzly bears and black bears relative to habitat variables (b) occurrence and intensity of use relative to competing bear species and motorised and non-motorised recreational activity, and (c) temporal overlap in activity patterns among the two bear species and recreationists. Grizzly bears were spatially separated from black bears, selecting higher elevations and locations farther from roads. Both species co-occurred with motorised and non-motorised recreation, however, grizzly bears reduced their intensity of use of sites with motorised recreation present. Black bears showed higher temporal activity overlap with recreational activity than grizzly bears, however differences in bear daily activity patterns between sites with and without motorised and non-motorised recreation were not significant. Reduced intensity of use by grizzly bears of sites where motorised recreation was present is a concern given off-road recreation is becoming increasingly popular in North America, and can negatively influence grizzly bear recovery by reducing foraging opportunities near or on trails. Camera traps and multi-species occurrence models offer non-invasive methods for identifying how habitat use by animals changes relative to sympatric species, including humans. These conclusions emphasise the need for integrated land-use planning, access management, and grizzly bear conservation efforts to consider the implications of continued access for motorised

  11. Demography and population status of polar bears in western Hudson Bay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lunn, Nicholas J.; Regher, Eric V; Servanty, Sabrina; Converse, Sarah J.; Richardson, Evan S.; Stirling, Ian

    2013-01-01

    We evaluated the demography and population status of the Western Hudson Bay (WH) polar bear subpopulation for the period 1984-2011, using live-recapture data from research studies and management actions, and dead-recovery data from polar bears harvested for subsistence purposes or removed during human-bear conflicts.

  12. 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.

  13. Contrasting activity patterns of sympatric and allopatric black and grizzly bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, C.C.; Cain, S.L.; Podruzny, S.; Cherry, S.; Frattaroli, L.

    2010-01-01

    The distribution of grizzly (Ursus arctos) and American black bears (U. americanus) overlaps in western North America. Few studies have detailed activity patterns where the species are sympatric and no studies contrasted patterns where populations are both sympatric and allopatric. We contrasted activity patterns for sympatric black and grizzly bears and for black bears allopatric to grizzly bears, how human influences altered patterns, and rates of grizzlyblack bear predation. Activity patterns differed between black bear populations, with those sympatric to grizzly bears more day-active. Activity patterns of black bears allopatric with grizzly bears were similar to those of female grizzly bears; both were crepuscular and day-active. Male grizzly bears were crepuscular and night-active. Both species were more night-active and less day-active when ???1 km from roads or developments. In our sympatric study area, 2 of 4 black bear mortalities were due to grizzly bear predation. Our results suggested patterns of activity that allowed for intra- and inter-species avoidance. National park management often results in convergence of locally high human densities in quality bear habitat. Our data provide additional understanding into how bears alter their activity patterns in response to other bears and humans and should help park managers minimize undesirable bearhuman encounters when considering needs for temporal and spatial management of humans and human developments in bear habitats. ?? 2010 The Wildlife Society.

  14. Bears, Big and Little. Young Discovery Library Series.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pfeffer, Pierre

    This book is written for children 5 through 10. Part of a series designed to develop their curiosity, fascinate them and educate them, this volume describes: (1) the eight species of bears, including black bear, brown bear, grizzly bear, spectacled bear, sun bear, sloth bear, polar bear, and giant panda; (2) geographical habitats of bears; (3)…

  15. 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.

  16. Vacuum polarization of massless fields in black holes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zel'nikov, A.I.; Frolov, V.P.

    1987-01-01

    This chapter contains a detailed survey of the fundamental results from an investigation of the contribution of massless fields to vacuum polarization near black holes. A method is developed for calculating the vacuum average energy-momentum tensor for the electromagnetic field on the surface of a black hole. An explicit value is derived for the renormalized energy-momentum tensor of an electromagnetic field near the event horizon of a rotating black hole

  17. A Thermally Insulating Textile Inspired by Polar Bear Hair.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cui, Ying; Gong, Huaxin; Wang, Yujie; Li, Dewen; Bai, Hao

    2018-04-01

    Animals living in the extremely cold environment, such as polar bears, have shown amazing capability to keep warm, benefiting from their hollow hairs. Mimicking such a strategy in synthetic fibers would stimulate smart textiles for efficient personal thermal management, which plays an important role in preventing heat loss and improving efficiency in house warming energy consumption. Here, a "freeze-spinning" technique is used to realize continuous and large-scale fabrication of fibers with aligned porous structure, mimicking polar bear hairs, which is difficult to achieve by other methods. A textile woven with such biomimetic fibers shows an excellent thermal insulation property as well as good breathability and wearability. In addition to passively insulating heat loss, the textile can also function as a wearable heater, when doped with electroheating materials such as carbon nanotubes, to induce fast thermal response and uniform electroheating while maintaining its soft and porous nature for comfortable wearing. © 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  18. Ancestral polymorphisms and sex-biased migration shaped the demographic history of brown bears and polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakagome, Shigeki; Mano, Shuhei; Hasegawa, Masami

    2013-01-01

    Recent studies have reported discordant gene trees in the evolution of brown bears and polar bears. Genealogical histories are different among independent nuclear loci and between biparentally inherited autosomal DNA (aDNA) and matrilineal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Based on multi-locus genomic sequences from aDNA and mtDNA, we inferred the population demography of brown and polar bears and found that brown bears have 6 times (aDNA) or more than 14 times (mtDNA) larger population sizes than polar bears and that polar bear lineage is derived from within brown bear diversity. In brown bears, the effective population size ratio of mtDNA to aDNA was at least 0.62, which deviated from the expected value of 0.25, suggesting matriarchal population due to female philopatry and male-biased migration. These results emphasize that ancestral polymorphisms and sex-biased migration may have contributed to conflicting branching patterns in brown and polar bears across aDNA genes and mtDNA.

  19. Ancestral polymorphisms and sex-biased migration shaped the demographic history of brown bears and polar bears.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shigeki Nakagome

    Full Text Available Recent studies have reported discordant gene trees in the evolution of brown bears and polar bears. Genealogical histories are different among independent nuclear loci and between biparentally inherited autosomal DNA (aDNA and matrilineal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA. Based on multi-locus genomic sequences from aDNA and mtDNA, we inferred the population demography of brown and polar bears and found that brown bears have 6 times (aDNA or more than 14 times (mtDNA larger population sizes than polar bears and that polar bear lineage is derived from within brown bear diversity. In brown bears, the effective population size ratio of mtDNA to aDNA was at least 0.62, which deviated from the expected value of 0.25, suggesting matriarchal population due to female philopatry and male-biased migration. These results emphasize that ancestral polymorphisms and sex-biased migration may have contributed to conflicting branching patterns in brown and polar bears across aDNA genes and mtDNA.

  20. Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindqvist, Charlotte; Schuster, Stephan C; Sun, Yazhou; Talbot, Sandra L; Qi, Ji; Ratan, Aakrosh; Tomsho, Lynn P; Kasson, Lindsay; Zeyl, Eve; Aars, Jon; Miller, Webb; Ingólfsson, Olafur; Bachmann, Lutz; Wiig, Oystein

    2010-03-16

    The polar bear has become the flagship species in the climate-change discussion. However, little is known about how past climate impacted its evolution and persistence, given an extremely poor fossil record. Although it is undisputed from analyses of mitochondrial (mt) DNA that polar bears constitute a lineage within the genetic diversity of brown bears, timing estimates of their divergence have differed considerably. Using next-generation sequencing technology, we have generated a complete, high-quality mt genome from a stratigraphically validated 130,000- to 110,000-year-old polar bear jawbone. In addition, six mt genomes were generated of extant polar bears from Alaska and brown bears from the Admiralty and Baranof islands of the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska and Kodiak Island. We show that the phylogenetic position of the ancient polar bear lies almost directly at the branching point between polar bears and brown bears, elucidating a unique morphologically and molecularly documented fossil link between living mammal species. Molecular dating and stable isotope analyses also show that by very early in their evolutionary history, polar bears were already inhabitants of the Artic sea ice and had adapted very rapidly to their current and unique ecology at the top of the Arctic marine food chain. As such, polar bears provide an excellent example of evolutionary opportunism within a widespread mammalian lineage.

  1. Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindqvist, Charlotte; Schuster, Stephan C.; Sun, Yazhou; Talbot, Sandra L.; Qi, Ji; Ratan, Aakrosh; Tomsho, Lynn P.; Kasson, Lindsay; Zeyl, Eve; Aars, Jon; Miller, Webb; Ingólfsson, Ólafur; Bachmann, Lutz; Wiig, Øystein

    2010-01-01

    The polar bear has become the flagship species in the climate-change discussion. However, little is known about how past climate impacted its evolution and persistence, given an extremely poor fossil record. Although it is undisputed from analyses of mitochondrial (mt) DNA that polar bears constitute a lineage within the genetic diversity of brown bears, timing estimates of their divergence have differed considerably. Using next-generation sequencing technology, we have generated a complete, high-quality mt genome from a stratigraphically validated 130,000- to 110,000-year-old polar bear jawbone. In addition, six mt genomes were generated of extant polar bears from Alaska and brown bears from the Admiralty and Baranof islands of the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska and Kodiak Island. We show that the phylogenetic position of the ancient polar bear lies almost directly at the branching point between polar bears and brown bears, elucidating a unique morphologically and molecularly documented fossil link between living mammal species. Molecular dating and stable isotope analyses also show that by very early in their evolutionary history, polar bears were already inhabitants of the Artic sea ice and had adapted very rapidly to their current and unique ecology at the top of the Arctic marine food chain. As such, polar bears provide an excellent example of evolutionary opportunism within a widespread mammalian lineage. PMID:20194737

  2. Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lindqvist, Charlotte; Schuster, Stephan C.; Sun, Yazhou; Talbot, Sandra L.; Qi, Ji; Ratan, Aakrosh; Tomsho, Lynn P.; Kasson, Lindsay; Zeyl, Eve; Aars, Jon; Miller, Webb; Ingólfsson, Ólafur; Bachmann, Lutz; Wiig, Øystein

    2010-01-01

    The polar bear has become the flagship species in the climate-change discussion. However, little is known about how past climate impacted its evolution and persistence, given an extremely poor fossil record. Although it is undisputed from analyses of mitochondrial (mt) DNA that polar bears constitute a lineage within the genetic diversity of brown bears, timing estimates of their divergence have differed considerably. Using next-generation sequencing technology, we have generated a complete, high-quality mt genome from a stratigraphically validated 130,000- to 110,000-year-old polar bear jawbone. In addition, six mt genomes were generated of extant polar bears from Alaska and brown bears from the Admiralty and Baranof islands of the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska and Kodiak Island. We show that the phylogenetic position of the ancient polar bear lies almost directly at the branching point between polar bears and brown bears, elucidating a unique morphologically and molecularly documented fossil link between living mammal species. Molecular dating and stable isotope analyses also show that by very early in their evolutionary history, polar bears were already inhabitants of the Artic sea ice and had adapted very rapidly to their current and unique ecology at the top of the Arctic marine food chain. As such, polar bears provide an excellent example of evolutionary opportunism within a widespread mammalian lineage.

  3. 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.

  4. Weights and hematology of wild black bears during hibernation

    Science.gov (United States)

    DelGiudice, Glenn D.; Rogers, Lynn L.; Allen, Arthur W.; Seal, U.S.

    1991-01-01

    We compared weights and hematological profiles of adult (greater than 3-yr-old) female black bears (Ursus americanus) during hibernation (after 8 January). We handled 28 bears one to four times (total of 47) over 4 yr of varying mast and berry production. Mean weight of lactating bears was greater (P less than 0.0001) than that of non-lactating females. White blood cells (P less than 0.05) and mean corpuscular volume (P = 0.005) also differed between lactating and non-lactating bears. Hemoglobin (P = 0.006) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (P = 0.02) varied among years; values were lowest during 1975, following decreased precipitation and the occurrence of a second year of mast and berry crop shortages in a three-year period. Significant (P less than 0.05) interaction between reproductive status (lactating versus non-lactating) and study year for hemoglobin, red blood cells, and packed cell volume, and increased mean corpuscular volume, suggested a greater nutritional challenge for lactating females compared to non-lactating females during the 1975 denning season. Our data suggest that hematological characteristics of denning bears may be more sensitive than weights as indicators of annual changes in nutritional status; however, other influential factors, in addition to mast and berry crop production, remain to be examined.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. An analysis of heat conduction in polar bear hairs using one-dimensional fractional model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhu Wei-Hong

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Hairs of a polar bear are of superior properties such as the excellent thermal protection. The polar bears can perennially live in an extremely cold environment and can maintain body temperature at around 37 °C. Why do polar bears can resist such cold environment? Its membrane-pore structure plays an important role. In the previous work, we established a 1-D fractional heat conduction equation to reveal the hidden mechanism for the hairs. In this paper, we further discuss solutions and parameters of the equation established and analyze heat conduction in polar bear hairs.

  8. Sea-ice indicators of polar bear habitat

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    H. L. Stern

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Nineteen subpopulations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus are found throughout the circumpolar Arctic, and in all regions they depend on sea ice as a platform for traveling, hunting, and breeding. Therefore polar bear phenology – the cycle of biological events – is linked to the timing of sea-ice retreat in spring and advance in fall. We analyzed the dates of sea-ice retreat and advance in all 19 polar bear subpopulation regions from 1979 to 2014, using daily sea-ice concentration data from satellite passive microwave instruments. We define the dates of sea-ice retreat and advance in a region as the dates when the area of sea ice drops below a certain threshold (retreat on its way to the summer minimum or rises above the threshold (advance on its way to the winter maximum. The threshold is chosen to be halfway between the historical (1979–2014 mean September and mean March sea-ice areas. In all 19 regions there is a trend toward earlier sea-ice retreat and later sea-ice advance. Trends generally range from −3 to −9 days decade−1 in spring and from +3 to +9 days decade−1 in fall, with larger trends in the Barents Sea and central Arctic Basin. The trends are not sensitive to the threshold. We also calculated the number of days per year that the sea-ice area exceeded the threshold (termed ice-covered days and the average sea-ice concentration from 1 June through 31 October. The number of ice-covered days is declining in all regions at the rate of −7 to −19 days decade−1, with larger trends in the Barents Sea and central Arctic Basin. The June–October sea-ice concentration is declining in all regions at rates ranging from −1 to −9 percent decade−1. These sea-ice metrics (or indicators of habitat change were designed to be useful for management agencies and for comparative purposes among subpopulations. We recommend that the National Climate Assessment include the timing of sea-ice retreat and advance in

  9. Sea-ice indicators of polar bear habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Harry L.; Laidre, Kristin L.

    2016-09-01

    Nineteen subpopulations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are found throughout the circumpolar Arctic, and in all regions they depend on sea ice as a platform for traveling, hunting, and breeding. Therefore polar bear phenology - the cycle of biological events - is linked to the timing of sea-ice retreat in spring and advance in fall. We analyzed the dates of sea-ice retreat and advance in all 19 polar bear subpopulation regions from 1979 to 2014, using daily sea-ice concentration data from satellite passive microwave instruments. We define the dates of sea-ice retreat and advance in a region as the dates when the area of sea ice drops below a certain threshold (retreat) on its way to the summer minimum or rises above the threshold (advance) on its way to the winter maximum. The threshold is chosen to be halfway between the historical (1979-2014) mean September and mean March sea-ice areas. In all 19 regions there is a trend toward earlier sea-ice retreat and later sea-ice advance. Trends generally range from -3 to -9 days decade-1 in spring and from +3 to +9 days decade-1 in fall, with larger trends in the Barents Sea and central Arctic Basin. The trends are not sensitive to the threshold. We also calculated the number of days per year that the sea-ice area exceeded the threshold (termed ice-covered days) and the average sea-ice concentration from 1 June through 31 October. The number of ice-covered days is declining in all regions at the rate of -7 to -19 days decade-1, with larger trends in the Barents Sea and central Arctic Basin. The June-October sea-ice concentration is declining in all regions at rates ranging from -1 to -9 percent decade-1. These sea-ice metrics (or indicators of habitat change) were designed to be useful for management agencies and for comparative purposes among subpopulations. We recommend that the National Climate Assessment include the timing of sea-ice retreat and advance in future reports.

  10. 77 FR 20808 - Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing, Ready for...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-04-06

    ... March 14, 2012. d. Applicant: Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC. e. Name of Projects: Orono Project 2710.... 791a-825r. h. Applicant Contact: Mr. Scott D. Hall, Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC, P.O. Box 276... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project Nos. 2710-057; 2712-074] Black...

  11. Microhabitat features influencing habitat use by Florida black bears

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dana L. Karelus

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Understanding fine-scale habitat needs of species and the factors influencing heterogeneous use of habitat within home range would help identify limiting resources and inform habitat management practices. This information is especially important for large mammals living in fragmented habitats where resources may be scarcer and more patchily distributed than in contiguous habitats. Using bihourly Global Position System (GPS location data collected from 10 individuals during 2011–2014, we investigated microhabitat features of areas within home ranges that received high vs. low intensity of use by Florida black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus in north-central, Florida. We identified areas receiving high and low levels of use by bears based on their utilization distributions estimated with the dynamic Brownian bridge movement model, and performed vegetation sampling at bear locations within high- and low-use areas. Using univariate analyses and generalized linear mixed models, we found that (1 canopy cover, visual obstruction, and hardwood density were important in defining high-use sites; (2 the probability of high use was positively associated with principal components that represented habitat closer to creeks and with high canopy and shrub cover and higher hardwood densities, likely characteristic of forested wetlands; and (3 the probability of high use was, to a lesser extent, associated with principal components that represented habitat with high canopy cover, high pine density, and low visual obstruction and hardwood density; likely representing sand pine and pine plantations. Our results indicate that the high bear-use sites were in forested wetlands, where cover and food resources for bears are likely to occur in higher abundance. Habitat management plans whereby bears are a focal species should aim to increase the availability and quality of forested wetlands. Keywords: Habitat selection, Heterogeneous habitat use, Forest management

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Estimating black bear density using DNA data from hair snares

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gardner, B.; Royle, J. Andrew; Wegan, M.T.; Rainbolt, R.E.; Curtis, P.D.

    2010-01-01

    DNA-based mark-recapture has become a methodological cornerstone of research focused on bear species. The objective of such studies is often to estimate population size; however, doing so is frequently complicated by movement of individual bears. Movement affects the probability of detection and the assumption of closure of the population required in most models. To mitigate the bias caused by movement of individuals, population size and density estimates are often adjusted using ad hoc methods, including buffering the minimum polygon of the trapping array. We used a hierarchical, spatial capturerecapture model that contains explicit components for the spatial-point process that governs the distribution of individuals and their exposure to (via movement), and detection by, traps. We modeled detection probability as a function of each individual's distance to the trap and an indicator variable for previous capture to account for possible behavioral responses. We applied our model to a 2006 hair-snare study of a black bear (Ursus americanus) population in northern New York, USA. Based on the microsatellite marker analysis of collected hair samples, 47 individuals were identified. We estimated mean density at 0.20 bears/km2. A positive estimate of the indicator variable suggests that bears are attracted to baited sites; therefore, including a trap-dependence covariate is important when using bait to attract individuals. Bayesian analysis of the model was implemented in WinBUGS, and we provide the model specification. The model can be applied to any spatially organized trapping array (hair snares, camera traps, mist nests, etc.) to estimate density and can also account for heterogeneity and covariate information at the trap or individual level. ?? The Wildlife Society.

  16. Black Bear Reactions to Venomous and Non-venomous Snakes in Eastern North America

    OpenAIRE

    Rogers, Lynn L; Mansfield, Susan A; Hornby, Kathleen; Hornby, Stewart; Debruyn, Terry D; Mize, Malvin; Clark, Rulon; Burghardt, Gordon M

    2014-01-01

    Bears are often considered ecological equivalents of large primates, but the latter often respond with fear, avoidance, and alarm calls to snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, there is sparse information on how bears respond to snakes. We videotaped or directly observed natural encounters between black bears (Ursus americanus) and snakes. Inside the range of venomous snakes in Arkansas and West Virginia, adolescent and adult black bears reacted fearfully in seven of seven encounters upon b...

  17. 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).

  18. 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

    2014-01-01

    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 if 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, which can regulate energy production in several different ways. This suggests that polar bears may be able to fine-tune intracellular levels of nitric oxide as an adaptive response to control trade-offs between energy production in the form of ATP versus generation of heat (thermogenesis).

  19. 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...

  20. 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

  1. 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.......04) and SigmaCHL (p polar...... bears may have been caused by organochlorine exposure. Udgivelsesdato: 2004-Dec...

  2. A new fractional derivative and its application to explanation of polar bear hairs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ji-Huan He

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available A new fractional derivative is defined through the variational iteration method, and its application in explaining the excellent thermal protection of polar bear hairs is elucidated. The fractal porosity of its inner structure makes a polar bear mathematically adapted for living in a harsh Arctic region.

  3. 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 ...

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Population genomics reveal recent speciation and rapid evolutionary adaptation in polar bears

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Liu, Shiping; Lorenzen, Eline D.; Fumagalli, Matteo

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears are uniquely adapted to life in the High Arctic and have undergone drastic physiological changes in response to Arctic climates and a hyperlipid diet of primarily marine mammal prey. We analyzed 89 complete genomes of polar bear and brown bear using population genomic modeling and show...... that the species diverged only 479-343 thousand years BP. We find that genes on the polar bear lineage have been under stronger positive selection than in brown bears; nine of the top 16 genes under strong positive selection are associated with cardiomyopathy and vascular disease, implying important reorganization...... of the cardiovascular system. One of the genes showing the strongest evidence of selection, APOB, encodes the primary lipoprotein component of low-density lipoprotein (LDL); functional mutations in APOB may explain how polar bears are able to cope with life-long elevated LDL levels that are associated with high risk...

  7. Complete mitochondrial genome of a Pleistocene jawbone unveils the origin of polar bear

    OpenAIRE

    Lindqvist, Charlotte; Schuster, Stephan C.; Sun, Yazhou; Talbot, Sandra L.; Qi, Ji; Ratan, Aakrosh; Tomsho, Lynn P.; Kasson, Lindsay; Zeyl, Eve; Aars, Jon; Miller, Webb; Ingólfsson, Ólafur; Bachmann, Lutz; Wiig, Øystein

    2010-01-01

    The polar bear has become the flagship species in the climate-change discussion. However, little is known about how past climate impacted its evolution and persistence, given an extremely poor fossil record. Although it is undisputed from analyses of mitochondrial (mt) DNA that polar bears constitute a lineage within the genetic diversity of brown bears, timing estimates of their divergence have differed considerably. Using next-generation sequencing technology, we have generated a complete, ...

  8. 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....

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

    OpenAIRE

    Brown, TA; Galicia, MP; Thiemann, GW; Belt, ST; Yurkowski, DJ; Dyck, MG

    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 ...

  10. 75 FR 65507 - U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission Adopts an Annual Taking Limit for the Alaska-Chukotka Polar...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-10-25

    ...-FY10] U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission Adopts an Annual Taking Limit for the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice. SUMMARY: On June 9, 2010, by unanimous vote, the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission established by the ``Agreement Between the...

  11. Variation in winter diet of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears inferred from stable isotope analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bentzen, T.W.; Follmann, Erich H.; Amstrup, Steven C.; York, G.S.; Wooller, M.J.; O'Hara, T. M.

    2007-01-01

    Ringed seals (Phoca hispida Schreber, 1775 = Pusa hispida (Schreber, 1775)) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus (Erxleben, 1777)) represent the majority of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) annual diet. However, remains of lower trophic level bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus L., 1758) are available in the southern Beaufort Sea and their dietary contribution to polar bears has been unknown. We used stable isotope (13C/12C, δ13C, 15N/14N, and δ15N) analysis to determine the diet composition of polar bears sampled along Alaska’s Beaufort Sea coast in March and April 2003 and 2004. The mean δ15N values of polar bear blood cells were 19.5‰ (SD = 0.7‰) in 2003 and 19.9‰ (SD = 0.7‰) in 2004. Mixing models indicated bowhead whales composed 11%–26% (95% CI) of the diets of sampled polar bears in 2003, and 0%–14% (95% CI) in 2004. This suggests significant variability in the proportion of lower trophic level prey in polar bear diets among individuals and between years. Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting seals, and the temporal and spatial availabilities of sea ice are projected to decline. Consumption of low trophic level foods documented here suggests bears may increasingly scavenge such foods in the future.

  12. Population-level resource selection by sympatric brown and American black bears in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Belant, Jerrold L.; Griffith, Brad; Zhang, Yingte; Follmann, Erich H.; Adams, Layne G.

    2010-01-01

    Distribution theory predicts that for two species living in sympatry, the subordinate species would be constrained from using the most suitable resources (e.g., habitat), resulting in its use of less suitable habitat and spatial segregation between species. We used negative binomial generalized linear mixed models with fixed effects to estimate seasonal population-level resource selection at two spatial resolutions for female brown bears (Ursus arctos) and female American black bears (U. americanus) in southcentral Alaska during May–September 2000. Black bears selected areas occupied by brown bears during spring which may be related to spatially restricted (i.e., restricted to low elevations) but dispersed or patchy availability of food. In contrast, black bears avoided areas occupied by brown bears during summer. Brown bears selected areas near salmon streams during summer, presumably to access spawning salmon. Use of areas with high berry production by black bears during summer appeared in response to avoidance of areas containing brown bears. Berries likely provided black bears a less nutritious, but adequate food source. We suggest that during summer, black bears were displaced by brown bears, which supports distribution theory in that black bears appeared to be partially constrained from areas containing salmon, resulting in their use of areas containing less nutritious forage. Spatial segregation of brown and American black bears apparently occurs when high-quality resources are spatially restricted and alternate resources are available to the subordinate species. This and previous work suggest that individual interactions between species can result in seasonal population-level responses.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Trichinella nativa in a black bear from Plymouth, New Hampshire.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hill, D E; Gamble, H R; Zarlenga, D S; Coss, C; Finnigan, J

    2005-09-05

    A suspected case of trichinellosis was identified in a single patient by the New Hampshire Public Health Laboratories in Concord, NH. The patient was thought to have become infected by consumption of muscle larvae (ML) in undercooked meat from a black bear killed in Plymouth, NH in October 2003 and stored frozen at -20 degrees C fro 4 months. In January 2004, a 600 g sample of the meat was thawed at 4 degrees C, digested in hydrochloric acid and pepsin, and larvae were collected by sedimentation. Intact, coiled, and motile ML were recovered (366 larvae per gram (l pg) of tissue), which were passed into mice and pigs. Multiplex PCR revealed a single 127 bp amplicon, indicative of Trichinella nativa. The Reproductive Capacity Index (RCI) for the T. nativa-Plymouth isolate in mice was 24.3. Worm burdens in the diaphragms of two 3-month-old pigs given 2,500 ML were 0.05 and 0.2l pg by 35 days post-inoculation, while 2.2 and 0.75 l pg were recovered from two 3-month-old pigs given 10,000 ML; no larvae were recovered from four 1-year-old pigs given 2,500 ML (n=2) or 10,000 ML (n=2). Viable larvae were also recovered from frozen black bear meat harvested at two additional locations, one in southern Ontario, Canada, and one in upstate New York, USA. Multiplex PCR using genomic DNA from these parasite samples demonstrated that both isolates were T. nativa. This is the first report of the freeze-resistant species, T. nativa, within the continental United States.

  17. 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.

  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. Polychlorinated biphenyls and reproductive hormones in female polar bears at Svalbard.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haave, Marte; Ropstad, Erik; Derocher, Andrew E; Lie, Elisabeth; Dahl, Ellen; Wiig, Øystein; Skaare, Janneche U; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2003-04-01

    High concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in polar bears from Svalbard have increased concern for that population's reproductive health. We examined whether there were associations between the plasma concentrations of PCBs and reproductive hormones [progesterone (P4)] and 17 beta-estradiol (E2)] in free-living female polar bears from Svalbard. Concentrations of P4 depended on reproductive status, and concentrations were lowest in females with offspring--females with cubs and females with yearlings. In these females, the P4 concentrations were positively correlated with plasma sigma PCBs (sum of all analyzed polychlorinated biphenyl congeners) concentrations. The sigma PCBs concentrations explained 27% of the variation in the P4 concentrations. There were no correlations between sigma PCBs and E2 and cortisol in any of the groups of polar bears, or between sigma PCBs and P4 in single polar bears. Although the sigma PCBs-P4 relationship in female polar bears with offspring is not evidence per se of a direct cause-effect association, the results indicate that PCBs may affect levels of P4 in polar bear females. There is a clear need to further assess the hormone balance and population health of polar bears at Svalbard.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Potential Arctic sea ice refuge for sustaining a remnant polar bear population (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, G. M.; Amstrup, S. C.; Douglas, D. C.; Gautier, D. L.

    2010-12-01

    Polar bears depend on sea ice as a platform from which they capture seals. Sea ice availability must be spatially and temporally adequate for birth and weaning of seal pups, and to maximize seal hunting opportunities for polar bears. Projected declines in the spatial and temporal extent of summer and autumn sea ice could potentially limit the ability of polar bears to build up body stores sufficient to maintain reproductive fitness. General circulation models, however, suggest that summer and autumn sea ice may persist in the shelf waters of the Canadian Archipelago and northern Greenland adjacent to the Arctic basin. While winter-formed ice is important, a primary mechanism for sea ice accumulation in this region is by mechanical thickening of the sea ice facilitated by convergent forces from the Beaufort Gyre and the Transpolar Drift Stream. Collectively these areas could provide a polar bear refugium when other regions have lost the sea ice necessary to support viable populations. The potential for a polar bear refugium, however, must include other resource considerations. Projected declines of sea ice in the Northwest Passage may expose polar bears to hazards related to increase shipping and other commerce. Increasing global demands and limited opportunities elsewhere make the Arctic an increasingly attractive area for petroleum exploration. The Canadian Archipelago coincides with the Sverdrup basin, where petroleum accumulations have already been discovered but as yet are undeveloped. The Lincoln Sea Basin offshore of northern Greenland has the geological possibility of significant petroleum accumulations, and northeastern Greenland is one of the most prospective areas in the Arctic for undiscovered oil. Activities associated with commerce and petroleum development could reduce the potential viability of the region as a polar bear refugium. Hence, if the goal is a sustainable (albeit reduced) polar bear population, important considerations include commerce

  6. Behavioral decisions for managing social distance and aggression in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renner, Michael J; Kelly, Aislinn L

    2006-01-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in most zoos attracts high levels of public attention and can play an important role in conservation education. Polar bears in the wild are typically solitary; bears in captivity often house socially. This study reported behavioral evidence on how bears manage this situation and whether proximity leads to aggression. The study recorded location and behavior once per minute for 106 hr for 2 female polar bears at the Philadelphia Zoo; the samples represented all times of day bears spent in the enclosure (off-exhibit time spent in separate, indoor dens). When changing locations, 1 bear more frequently moved away from the other, effecting a net increase in interindividual distance. When either bear moved into an adjacent zone, 1 typically moved away. The bears occupied the same enclosure zone for a low proportion of time; proximity did not routinely lead to overt aggression. These data indicate polar bears make behavioral decisions, minimizing aggression, to manage social distance and that enclosure designers for solitary species--to facilitate social avoidance--should consider using topographical complexity and multiple pathways throughout.

  7. 77 FR 4492 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reissuance of Interim Special Rule for the Polar Bear

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-30

    ... Special Rule for the Polar Bear AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY... order in regard to Misc. No. 08- 764 (EGS) MDL Docket No. 1993 IN RE: POLAR BEAR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT... December 16, 2008, final special rule for the polar bear (73 FR 76249). The Court further ordered that in...

  8. 75 FR 76085 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-12-07

    ... Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in the... Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in the United... Wildlife Service (Service), designate critical habitat for polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations in the...

  9. 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...

  10. 78 FR 11766 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Special Rule for the Polar Bear Under Section 4(d...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-02-20

    ...'' definition requires evidence of demonstrable injury or death to polar bears. The breadth of the MMPA... Polar Bear Under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior... polar bear (Ursus maritimus), while also including appropriate prohibitions from section 9(a)(1) of the...

  11. 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...

  12. Stable isotope and trace element studies of black bear hair, Big Bend ecosystem, Texas and Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shanks, W.C. Pat; Hellgren, Eric C.; Stricker, Craig A.; Gemery-Hill, Pamela A.; Onorato, David P.

    2008-01-01

    Hair from black bears (Ursus americanus), collected from four areas in the Big Bend ecosystem, has been analyzed for stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur to determine major food sources and for trace metals to infer possible effects of environmental contaminants. Results indicate that black bears are largely vegetarian, feeding on desert plants, nuts, and berries. Mercury concentrations in bear hair are below safe level standards (

  13. Effects of Aversive Conditioning on Behavior of Nuisance Louisiana Black Bears

    OpenAIRE

    Leigh, Jennifer; Chamberlain, Michael J.

    2008-01-01

    Complaints associated with nuisance activity by Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus) in south Louisiana have steadily increased since 2000, demanding intervention by state and federal agencies. As a federally threatened species, Louisiana black bears that are a nuisance require nonlethal management, referred to as aversive conditioning. We used rubber buckshot and dogs to test the effectiveness of management techniques used by the state of Louisiana to deter nuisance bear activit...

  14. Demographic rates and population viability of black bears in Louisiana

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laufenberg, Jared S.; Clark, Joseph D.; Hooker, Michael J.; Lowe, Carrie L.; O'Connell-Goode, Kaitlin C.; Troxler, Jesse C.; Davidson, Maria M.; Chamberlain, Michael J.; Chandler, Richard B.

    2015-01-01

    The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) was reduced to a few small, fragmented, and isolated subpopulations in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley by the mid-twentieth century resulting from loss and fragmentation of habitat. In 1992, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) granted the Louisiana black bear threatened status under the United States Endangered Species Act of 1973. Since that time, a recovery plan was developed, a reintroduced population was established, and habitat recovery has occurred. The Recovery Plan states that a minimum of 2 populations must be viable (i.e., persistence probabilities over 100 years >0.95), 1 in the Tensas River Basin and 1 in the Atchafalaya River Basin. Consequently, our objectives were to 1) estimate demographic rates of Louisiana black bear subpopulations, 2) develop data-driven stochastic population projection models, and 3) determine how different projection model assumptions affect population trajectories and predictions about long-term persistence. Our overall goal was to assess long-term persistence of the bear subpopulations in Louisiana, individually and as a whole. We collected data using varying combinations of non-invasive DNA sampling, live capture, winter den visits, and radio monitoring from 2002 to 2012 in the 4 areas currently supporting breeding subpopulations in Louisiana: Tensas River Basin (TRB), Upper Atchafalaya River Basin (UARB), Lower Atchafalaya River Basin (LARB), and a recently reintroduced population at the Three Rivers Complex (TRC). From 2002 to 2012, we radio monitored fates of 86 adult females within the TRB and 43 in the TRC. Mean estimates of annual adult survival for the TRB and TRC were 0.997 and 0.990, respectively, when unknown fates were assumed alive and 0.970 and 0.926 when unknown fates were assumed dead. From 2003 to 2013, we observed 130 cub litters from 74 females in the TRB, and 74 cub litters from 45 females in the TRC. During the same period, we

  15. Zinc, cadmium, mercury and selenium in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Central East Greenland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dietz, R. [Greenland Environmental Research Institute, Copenhagen (Denmark); Born, E.W. [Greenland Fisheries Research Institute, Copenhagen (Denmark); Agger, C.T. [National Environmental Research Institute, Roskilde (Denmark); Nielsen, C.O. [Ravnsnaesvej, Birkerod (Denmark)

    1995-02-01

    Muscle, liver, and kidney tissues from 38 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) caught in the Scoresby Sound area, Central East Greenland, were analysed for zinc, cadmium, mercury and selenium. In general, cadmium concentrations were low in muscle, liver and kidney tissue. This finding can be explained by low cadmium levels in the blubber of ringed seals. The concentration of mercury in muscle tissue was low, whereas concentrations in liver and kidney tissue were relatively high. Mercury and cadmium were positively correlated with age in liver and kidney. Zinc was positively correlated with in kidney, and selenium was correlated with age in liver. Contrary to other marine mammals, polar bears had higher mercury levels in the kidneys than in the liver. In all three tissues polar bears had significantly lower cadmium levels than ringed seals from the same area. Mercury levels were significantly lower in the muscle tissue of polar bears than in ringed seals, where-as levels in the liver and kidney were significantly higher. The previous geographic trend for cadmium and mercury found in Canadian polar bears could be extended to cover East Greenland as well. Hence cadmium levels were higher in Greenland than in Canada, while the opposite was the case for mercury. Greenland polar bears had higher mercury and cadmium contents in livers and kidneys than polar bears from Svalbard. The mercury levels in muscle and liver tissue from polar bears from East Greenland were twice as high as found in bears from western Alaska, but half the levels found in northern Alaska. Cadmium and zinc were partially correlated in kidney tissue, and this was found for mercury and selenium as well. Cadmium and zinc showed molar ratios close to unity with the highest concentrations occurring in kidney tissue, while the levels of zinc exceeded cadmium in muscle and liver tissue by up to several decades. Mercury and selenium showed molar ratios close to unity in liver and kidneys. 56 refs., 5 figs., 6 tabs.

  16. Increased Arctic Sea Ice Drift Alters Polar Bear Movements and Energetics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Douglas, D. C.; Durner, G. M.; Albeke, S. E.; Whiteman, J. P.; Amstrup, S. C.; Richardson, E.; Wilson, R. R.; Ben-David, M.

    2015-12-01

    Recent thinning of Arctic sea ice has increased its drift from currents and winds. Increased ice drift could affect movements and energy balance of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) which rely, almost exclusively, on this substrate for hunting seals. Foraging by polar bears is a relatively sedentary behavior, as they typically capture their main prey by waiting at breathing holes, where seals haul-out along leads, or by short-distance stalking. We examined the response of polar bears to ice drift in the Beaufort (BS) and Chukchi (CS) seas, and between two periods with different sea ice characteristics: 1987-1998 and 1999-2013. We used satellite-tracked adult female polar bear locations, standardized by a continuous-time correlated random walk, coupled with modeled ice drift, to estimate displacement and drift-corrected bear movements along east-west and north-south axes. Sea ice drift in both regions increased with greater westward and more extreme northward and southward rates from 1987-1998 to 1999-2013. Polar bears responded with greater eastward movements and, in the CS greater movements north and south. We show that efforts by polar bears to compensate for greater westward ice drift in recent years translated into a model-derived estimate of 5.7-7.2% increase in energy expenditure. We also estimated that polar bears increased their travel time 18-20% between the two time periods, suggesting time allocated to foraging was reduced. Increased energetic costs and travel time resulting from greater ice drift, in conjunction with ongoing habitat loss, suggest that recent changes to Arctic sea ice may affect movements and energy balance of polar bears.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...... defect (21-hydroxylase deficiency), androgen producing tumour or high exposure to organochlorines during the foetal stage or early development could be the reason for the supposed pseudohermaphroditism observed for Svalbard bears. Except for the enlarged clitoris, all dimensions of the external...... 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...

  19. Predicting 21st-century polar bear habitat distribution from global climate models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, G.M.; Douglas, D.C.; Nielson, R.M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; McDonald, T.L.; Stirling, I.; Mauritzen, Mette; Born, E.W.; Wiig, O.; Deweaver, E.; Serreze, Mark C.; Belikov, Stanislav; Holland, M.M.; Maslanik, J.; Aars, Jon; Bailey, D.A.; Derocher, A.E.

    2009-01-01

    Projections of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sea ice habitat distribution in the polar basin during the 21st century were developed to understand the consequences of anticipated sea ice reductions on polar bear populations. We used location data from satellitecollared polar bears and environmental data (e.g., bathymetry, distance to coastlines, and sea ice) collected from 1985 to 1995 to build resource selection functions (RSFs). RSFs described habitats that polar bears preferred in summer, autumn, winter, and spring. When applied to independent data from 1996 to 2006, the RSFs consistently identified habitats most frequently used by polar bears. We applied the RSFs to monthly maps of 21st-century sea ice concentration projected by 10 general circulation models (GCMs) used in the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, under the A1B greenhouse gas forcing scenario. Despite variation in their projections, all GCMs indicated habitat losses in the polar basin during the 21st century. Losses in the highest-valued RSF habitat (optimal habitat) were greatest in the southern seas of the polar basin, especially the Chukchi and Barents seas, and least along the Arctic Ocean shores of Banks Island to northern Greenland. Mean loss of optimal polar bear habitat was greatest during summer; from an observed 1.0 million km2 in 1985-1995 (baseline) to a projected multi-model mean of 0.32 million km2 in 2090-2099 (-68% change). Projected winter losses of polar bear habitat were less: from 1.7 million km2 in 1985-1995 to 1.4 million km2 in 2090-2099 (-17% change). Habitat losses based on GCM multi-model means may be conservative; simulated rates of habitat loss during 1985-2006 from many GCMs were less than the actual observed rates of loss. Although a reduction in the total amount of optimal habitat will likely reduce polar bear populations, exact relationships between habitat losses and population demographics remain unknown. Density and energetic

  20. Polychlorinated biphenyls and reproductive hormones in female polar bears at Svalbard.

    OpenAIRE

    Haave, Marte; Ropstad, Erik; Derocher, Andrew E; Lie, Elisabeth; Dahl, Ellen; Wiig, Øystein; Skaare, Janneche U; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2003-01-01

    High concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in polar bears from Svalbard have increased concern for that population's reproductive health. We examined whether there were associations between the plasma concentrations of PCBs and reproductive hormones [progesterone (P4)] and 17 beta-estradiol (E2)] in free-living female polar bears from Svalbard. Concentrations of P4 depended on reproductive status, and concentrations were lowest in females with offspring--females with cubs and fem...

  1. The polar bear Ursus maritimus feeding in a seabird colony in Frans Josef Land

    OpenAIRE

    Stempniewicz, Lech

    1993-01-01

    During the second half of August 1992 polar bears were observed feeding intensively in the little auk Alle alle colony on Rubini Rock, Hooker Island, Frans Josef Land. They dug out nests eating eggs, chicks and adult birds. Their activity results in both worsening the breeding conditions and decreasing the breeding success of the little auks. The polar bear has not earlier been known as a little auk predator.

  2. 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...... polar bear skulls continue in order to further explore how CBL and BMD reflect individual and population response upon exposure to environmental stress. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved....

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  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. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Do Small Canopy Gaps Created by Japanese Black Bears Facilitate Fruiting of Fleshy-Fruited Plants?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kazuaki Takahashi

    Full Text Available Japanese black bears often break branches when climbing trees and feeding on fruit in canopies, thereby creating small canopy gaps. However, the role of black bear-created canopy gaps has not been evaluated in the context of multiple forest dynamics. Our hypothesis was that small canopy gaps created by black bears improve light conditions, which facilitates fruiting of adult fleshy-fruited plants located beneath the gaps, and also that this chain interaction depends on interactions among the size of gaps, improved light conditions, forest layers, and life form of plants. The rPPFD, size of black bear-created canopy gaps, and fruiting/non-fruiting of fleshy-fruited plants were investigated in five forest layers beneath black-bear-created canopy gaps and closed canopies of Mongolian oak (Quercus crispula. We found that light conditions improved beneath black bear-disturbed trees with canopy gaps of large size, and the effect of improvement of light conditions was reduced with descending forest layers. Fruiting of fleshy-fruited plants, especially woody lianas and trees, was facilitated by the improvement of light conditions accompanied by an increase in the size of black-bear-created gaps. Data from this study revealed that canopy disturbance by black bears was key for improving light conditions and accelerating fruiting of fleshy-fruited trees and woody lianas in the canopy layers in particular. Therefore, our hypothesis was mostly supported. Our results provide evidence that Japanese black bears have high potential as ecosystem engineers that increase the availability of resources (light and fruit in this study to other species by causing physical state changes in biotic materials (branches of Q. crispula in this study.

  11. Do Small Canopy Gaps Created by Japanese Black Bears Facilitate Fruiting of Fleshy-Fruited Plants?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takahashi, Kazuaki; Takahashi, Kaori; Washitani, Izumi

    2015-01-01

    Japanese black bears often break branches when climbing trees and feeding on fruit in canopies, thereby creating small canopy gaps. However, the role of black bear-created canopy gaps has not been evaluated in the context of multiple forest dynamics. Our hypothesis was that small canopy gaps created by black bears improve light conditions, which facilitates fruiting of adult fleshy-fruited plants located beneath the gaps, and also that this chain interaction depends on interactions among the size of gaps, improved light conditions, forest layers, and life form of plants. The rPPFD, size of black bear-created canopy gaps, and fruiting/non-fruiting of fleshy-fruited plants were investigated in five forest layers beneath black-bear-created canopy gaps and closed canopies of Mongolian oak (Quercus crispula). We found that light conditions improved beneath black bear-disturbed trees with canopy gaps of large size, and the effect of improvement of light conditions was reduced with descending forest layers. Fruiting of fleshy-fruited plants, especially woody lianas and trees, was facilitated by the improvement of light conditions accompanied by an increase in the size of black-bear-created gaps. Data from this study revealed that canopy disturbance by black bears was key for improving light conditions and accelerating fruiting of fleshy-fruited trees and woody lianas in the canopy layers in particular. Therefore, our hypothesis was mostly supported. Our results provide evidence that Japanese black bears have high potential as ecosystem engineers that increase the availability of resources (light and fruit in this study) to other species by causing physical state changes in biotic materials (branches of Q. crispula in this study).

  12. 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).

  13. 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...... bears may have been caused by organochlorine exposure. Udgivelsesdato: 2004-Dec...

  14. 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

  15. Polar Bears from Space: Assessing Satellite Imagery as a Tool to Track Arctic Wildlife

    OpenAIRE

    Stapleton, Seth; LaRue, Michelle; Lecomte, Nicolas; Atkinson, Stephen; Garshelis, David; Porter, Claire; Atwood, Todd

    2014-01-01

    Development of efficient techniques for monitoring wildlife is a priority in the Arctic, where the impacts of climate change are acute and remoteness and logistical constraints hinder access. We evaluated high resolution satellite imagery as a tool to track the distribution and abundance of polar bears. We examined satellite images of a small island in Foxe Basin, Canada, occupied by a high density of bears during the summer ice-free season. Bears were distinguished from other light-colored s...

  16. Black Bear Reactions to Venomous and Non-venomous Snakes in Eastern North America

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rogers, Lynn L; Mansfield, Susan A; Hornby, Kathleen; Hornby, Stewart; Debruyn, Terry D; Mize, Malvin; Clark, Rulon; Burghardt, Gordon M

    2014-01-01

    Bears are often considered ecological equivalents of large primates, but the latter often respond with fear, avoidance, and alarm calls to snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, there is sparse information on how bears respond to snakes. We videotaped or directly observed natural encounters between black bears (Ursus americanus) and snakes. Inside the range of venomous snakes in Arkansas and West Virginia, adolescent and adult black bears reacted fearfully in seven of seven encounters upon becoming aware of venomous and non-venomous snakes; but in northern Michigan and Minnesota where venomous snakes have been absent for millennia, black bears showed little or no fear in four encounters with non-venomous snakes of three species. The possible roles of experience and evolution in bear reactions to snakes and vice versa are discussed. In all areas studied, black bears had difficulty to recognize non-moving snakes by smell or sight. Bears did not react until snakes moved in 11 of 12 encounters with non-moving timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) and four species of harmless snakes. However, in additional tests in this study, bears were repulsed by garter snakes that had excreted pungent anal exudates, which may help explain the absence of snakes, both venomous and harmless, in bear diets reported to date. PMID:25635152

  17. The shared preference niche of sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in a tropical forest mosaic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinmetz, Robert; Garshelis, David L; Chutipong, Wanlop; Seuaturien, Naret

    2011-01-20

    Ecologically similar species often coexist by partitioning use of habitats or resources. Such partitioning can occur through divergent or shared niches. We investigated overlap in habitat use and spatial co-occurrence by sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in three habitats in Thailand, and thereby assessed which niche model best accounts for their coexistence. We used density of species-specific signs to assess habitat use. Signs of both bear species occurred in all three habitats, and on >60% of sampling transects. Both species fed mostly on fruit; insect feeding signs were uncommon, and were mostly from sun bears. Significant differences in habitat use occurred only in montane forest, the habitat in which fruit was most abundant; incidence of black bear sign there was six times higher than that of sun bears. Habitat use was similar between the two species in the other habitats, which comprised 85% of the area. Of 10 habitat attributes examined, fruiting tree density was the best predictor of occurrence for both species. Models that included interspecific competition (fresh foraging activity of the other species) were less supported than the top models without competition. Bear species co-occurrence at both coarse and fine spatial scales and use of the same resources (fruit trees) indicated common niche preferences. However, their habitat use differed in ways expected from their physical differences: larger black bears dominated in the most fruit-rich habitat, and smaller sun bears used less-preferred insects. These results indicate broadly overlapping fundamental niches combined with asymmetric competition-features consistent with the concept of shared preference niches. This model of the niche has received little attention in ecology, but appears to be relatively common in nature.

  18. The shared preference niche of sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in a tropical forest mosaic.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Steinmetz

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Ecologically similar species often coexist by partitioning use of habitats or resources. Such partitioning can occur through divergent or shared niches. We investigated overlap in habitat use and spatial co-occurrence by sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in three habitats in Thailand, and thereby assessed which niche model best accounts for their coexistence.We used density of species-specific signs to assess habitat use. Signs of both bear species occurred in all three habitats, and on >60% of sampling transects. Both species fed mostly on fruit; insect feeding signs were uncommon, and were mostly from sun bears. Significant differences in habitat use occurred only in montane forest, the habitat in which fruit was most abundant; incidence of black bear sign there was six times higher than that of sun bears. Habitat use was similar between the two species in the other habitats, which comprised 85% of the area. Of 10 habitat attributes examined, fruiting tree density was the best predictor of occurrence for both species. Models that included interspecific competition (fresh foraging activity of the other species were less supported than the top models without competition.Bear species co-occurrence at both coarse and fine spatial scales and use of the same resources (fruit trees indicated common niche preferences. However, their habitat use differed in ways expected from their physical differences: larger black bears dominated in the most fruit-rich habitat, and smaller sun bears used less-preferred insects. These results indicate broadly overlapping fundamental niches combined with asymmetric competition-features consistent with the concept of shared preference niches. This model of the niche has received little attention in ecology, but appears to be relatively common in nature.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    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. PMID:29360849

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

    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...... significant increases of 1.6-1.7% (p bear......-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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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 BACKGROUND: 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. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 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. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Diet and Macronutrient Optimization in Wild Ursids: A Comparison of Grizzly Bears with Sympatric and Allopatric Black Bears.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cecily M Costello

    Full Text Available When fed ad libitum, ursids can maximize mass gain by selecting mixed diets wherein protein provides 17 ± 4% of digestible energy, relative to carbohydrates or lipids. In the wild, this ability is likely constrained by seasonal food availability, limits of intake rate as body size increases, and competition. By visiting locations of 37 individuals during 274 bear-days, we documented foods consumed by grizzly (Ursus arctos and black bears (Ursus americanus in Grand Teton National Park during 2004-2006. Based on published nutritional data, we estimated foods and macronutrients as percentages of daily energy intake. Using principal components and cluster analyses, we identified 14 daily diet types. Only 4 diets, accounting for 21% of days, provided protein levels within the optimal range. Nine diets (75% of days led to over-consumption of protein, and 1 diet (3% of days led to under-consumption. Highest protein levels were associated with animal matter (i.e., insects, vertebrates, which accounted for 46-47% of daily energy for both species. As predicted: 1 daily diets dominated by high-energy vertebrates were positively associated with grizzly bears and mean percent protein intake was positively associated with body mass; 2 diets dominated by low-protein fruits were positively associated with smaller-bodied black bears; and 3 mean protein was highest during spring, when high-energy plant foods were scarce, however it was also higher than optimal during summer and fall. Contrary to our prediction: 4 allopatric black bears did not exhibit food selection for high-energy foods similar to grizzly bears. Although optimal gain of body mass was typically constrained, bears usually opted for the energetically superior trade-off of consuming high-energy, high-protein foods. Given protein digestion efficiency similar to obligate carnivores, this choice likely supported mass gain, consistent with studies showing monthly increases in percent body fat among

  17. Diet and Macronutrient Optimization in Wild Ursids: A Comparison of Grizzly Bears with Sympatric and Allopatric Black Bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costello, Cecily M; Cain, Steven L; Pils, Shannon; Frattaroli, Leslie; Haroldson, Mark A; van Manen, Frank T

    2016-01-01

    When fed ad libitum, ursids can maximize mass gain by selecting mixed diets wherein protein provides 17 ± 4% of digestible energy, relative to carbohydrates or lipids. In the wild, this ability is likely constrained by seasonal food availability, limits of intake rate as body size increases, and competition. By visiting locations of 37 individuals during 274 bear-days, we documented foods consumed by grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Grand Teton National Park during 2004-2006. Based on published nutritional data, we estimated foods and macronutrients as percentages of daily energy intake. Using principal components and cluster analyses, we identified 14 daily diet types. Only 4 diets, accounting for 21% of days, provided protein levels within the optimal range. Nine diets (75% of days) led to over-consumption of protein, and 1 diet (3% of days) led to under-consumption. Highest protein levels were associated with animal matter (i.e., insects, vertebrates), which accounted for 46-47% of daily energy for both species. As predicted: 1) daily diets dominated by high-energy vertebrates were positively associated with grizzly bears and mean percent protein intake was positively associated with body mass; 2) diets dominated by low-protein fruits were positively associated with smaller-bodied black bears; and 3) mean protein was highest during spring, when high-energy plant foods were scarce, however it was also higher than optimal during summer and fall. Contrary to our prediction: 4) allopatric black bears did not exhibit food selection for high-energy foods similar to grizzly bears. Although optimal gain of body mass was typically constrained, bears usually opted for the energetically superior trade-off of consuming high-energy, high-protein foods. Given protein digestion efficiency similar to obligate carnivores, this choice likely supported mass gain, consistent with studies showing monthly increases in percent body fat among bears in this

  18. Diet and macronutrient optimization in wild ursids: A comparison of grizzly bears with sympatric and allopatric black bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Costello, Cecily M.; Cain, Steven L.; Pils, Shannon R; Frattaroli, Leslie; Haroldson, Mark A.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2016-01-01

    When fed ad libitum, ursids can maximize mass gain by selecting mixed diets wherein protein provides 17 ± 4% of digestible energy, relative to carbohydrates or lipids. In the wild, this ability is likely constrained by seasonal food availability, limits of intake rate as body size increases, and competition. By visiting locations of 37 individuals during 274 bear-days, we documented foods consumed by grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Grand Teton National Park during 2004–2006. Based on published nutritional data, we estimated foods and macronutrients as percentages of daily energy intake. Using principal components and cluster analyses, we identified 14 daily diet types. Only 4 diets, accounting for 21% of days, provided protein levels within the optimal range. Nine diets (75% of days) led to over-consumption of protein, and 1 diet (3% of days) led to under-consumption. Highest protein levels were associated with animal matter (i.e., insects, vertebrates), which accounted for 46–47% of daily energy for both species. As predicted: 1) daily diets dominated by high-energy vertebrates were positively associated with grizzly bears and mean percent protein intake was positively associated with body mass; 2) diets dominated by low-protein fruits were positively associated with smaller-bodied black bears; and 3) mean protein was highest during spring, when high-energy plant foods were scarce, however it was also higher than optimal during summer and fall. Contrary to our prediction: 4) allopatric black bears did not exhibit food selection for high-energy foods similar to grizzly bears. Although optimal gain of body mass was typically constrained, bears usually opted for the energetically superior trade-off of consuming high-energy, high-protein foods. Given protein digestion efficiency similar to obligate carnivores, this choice likely supported mass gain, consistent with studies showing monthly increases in percent body fat among bears in

  19. 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 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.

  20. Oak-Black Bear Relationships in Southeastern Uplands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joseph D. Clark

    2004-01-01

    Bears (Ursus americanus) primarily occur in upland habitats in the Southeast because uplands were the last to be developed for agriculture and were more likely to become publicly owned. National parks and forests created in the early to mid-1900s served as sources to supply surrounding uplands with bears. Bears could not survive in southeastern...

  1. Ecology of Florida black bears in the Okefenokee-Osceola ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dobey, S.; Masters, D.V.; Scheick, B.K.; Clark, J.D.; Pelton, M.R.; Sunquist, M.E.

    2005-01-01

    The population status of the Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) is problematic within many portions of its range and its potential listing as a federally threatened species has been the subject of legal debate. We studied Florida black bears in 2 areas in the Okefenokee-Osceola ecosystem in southeast Georgia (i.e.,Okefenokee) and north Florida (i.e., Osceola) from 1995 to 1999 to evaluate relationships between population characteristics, habitat conditions, and human activities. Bears in Okefenokee were hunted and those in Osceola were not. We captured 205 different black bears (124M:81F) 345 times from June 1995 to September  1998. We obtained 13,573 radiolocations from 87 (16M:71F) individual bears during the study.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Using stable isotopes to assess dietary changes of American black bears from 1980 to 2001.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teunissen van Manen, Jennapher L; Muller, Lisa I; Li, Zheng-hua; Saxton, Arnold M; Pelton, Michael R

    2014-01-01

    We measured stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in 117 hair samples from American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, during 1980-2001 from live-trapped bears. We also collected hair from bears with known diets to compare with the wild bears. We hypothesized that biological factors (age, mass, and sex), food availability (hard mast and wild hogs (Sus scrofa)), and nuisance status would influence food selection by black bears and changes in their feeding history would be measureable using stable isotopes. We developed a set of a priori models using nine variables to examine changes in black bear stable isotope values. We found no support for changes in δ(13)C values associated with any of the nine variables we analyzed. Bears had enriched (15)N in years with low white oak mast production and depleted (15)N when white oak mast was abundant. Subadults had enriched (15)N compared with adults and older adults. Variation in δ(15)N increased from 1980-1991 to 1992-2000 when hard mast production had greater fluctuations. Bears in a better physical condition appeared more likely to access foods with higher protein content. In years of low white oak acorn production, larger bears and subadults likely turned to alternative food sources. The long-term variation detected in this study was important in identifying which bears were potentially more susceptible to changes in availability of hard mast.

  6. Comparative analysis of the gut microbiota of black bears in China using high-throughput sequencing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Can; Wang, Bochu; Tan, Jun; Zhu, Liancai; Lou, Deshuai; Cen, Xiaoxi

    2017-04-01

    The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) is a protected species from eastern Asia. In China, the Asiatic black bear occurs in 17 provinces from northeast to southwest regions. To date, information on microbial diversity in the gut of the Asiatic black bears from different populations remains limited. To determine the species composition and community structure of the gut microbiota in the Asiatic black bear, we characterized 36 fecal samples from Sichuan, Yunnan, and Heilongjiang provinces, China, by pyrosequencing the 16S V3-V4 hypervariable regions using the Illumina Miseq platform. Results showed that Firmicutes and Proteobacteria were the predominant phyla in the samples, which were largely comprised Escherichia-Shigella, Peptostreptococcaceae_incertae_sedis, Turicibacter, Streptococcus, and Clostridium. By analyzing the community structure from these 36 samples, we found that there were significant differences in the species diversity and richness between Sichuan, Yunnan, and Heilongjiang populations. In conclusion, our results reveal the species composition and structure of the gut microbiota in captive black bears in China, and suggest that biogeography could affect the black bear' gut microbiota.

  7. 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.

  8. Black bear abundance, habitat use, and food habits in the Sierra San Luis, Sonora, Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigo Sierra Corona; Ivan A. Sayago Vazquez; M. del Carmen Silva Hurtado; Carlos A. Lopez Gonzalez

    2005-01-01

    We studied black bears to determine habitat use, food habits, and abundance between April 2002 and November 2003 in the Sierra San Luis, Sonora. We utilized transects to determine spoor presence, camera traps for abundance, and scat analysis. During 2002, bears fed principally on plant material, and for 2003 on animal matter, namely livestock. Habitat use differed...

  9. DNA-based population density estimation of black bear at northern ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The analysis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) microsatellites from hair samples obtained by the non-invasive method of traps was used to estimate the population density of black bears (Ursus americanus eremicus) in a mountain located at the county of Lampazos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The genotyping of bears was ...

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Population genomics reveal recent speciation and rapid evolutionary adaptation in polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Shiping; Lorenzen, Eline D; Fumagalli, Matteo; Li, Bo; Harris, Kelley; Xiong, Zijun; Zhou, Long; Korneliussen, Thorfinn Sand; Somel, Mehmet; Babbitt, Courtney; Wray, Greg; Li, Jianwen; He, Weiming; Wang, Zhuo; Fu, Wenjing; Xiang, Xueyan; Morgan, Claire C; Doherty, Aoife; O'Connell, Mary J; McInerney, James O; Born, Erik W; Dalén, Love; Dietz, Rune; Orlando, Ludovic; Sonne, Christian; Zhang, Guojie; Nielsen, Rasmus; Willerslev, Eske; Wang, Jun

    2014-05-08

    Polar bears are uniquely adapted to life in the High Arctic and have undergone drastic physiological changes in response to Arctic climates and a hyper-lipid diet of primarily marine mammal prey. We analyzed 89 complete genomes of polar bear and brown bear using population genomic modeling and show that the species diverged only 479-343 thousand years BP. We find that genes on the polar bear lineage have been under stronger positive selection than in brown bears; nine of the top 16 genes under strong positive selection are associated with cardiomyopathy and vascular disease, implying important reorganization of the cardiovascular system. One of the genes showing the strongest evidence of selection, APOB, encodes the primary lipoprotein component of low-density lipoprotein (LDL); functional mutations in APOB may explain how polar bears are able to cope with life-long elevated LDL levels that are associated with high risk of heart disease in humans. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. Survival and breeding of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea in relation to sea ice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, E.V.; Hunter, C.M.; Caswell, H.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.

    2010-01-01

    1. Observed and predicted declines in Arctic sea ice have raised concerns about marine mammals. In May 2008, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed polar bears (Ursus maritimus) - one of the most ice-dependent marine mammals - as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. 2. We evaluated the effects of sea ice conditions on vital rates (survival and breeding probabilities) for polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. Although sea ice declines in this and other regions of the polar basin have been among the greatest in the Arctic, to date population-level effects of sea ice loss on polar bears have only been identified in western Hudson Bay, near the southern limit of the species' range. 3. We estimated vital rates using multistate capture-recapture models that classified individuals by sex, age and reproductive category. We used multimodel inference to evaluate a range of statistical models, all of which were structurally based on the polar bear life cycle. We estimated parameters by model averaging, and developed a parametric bootstrap procedure to quantify parameter uncertainty. 4. In the most supported models, polar bear survival declined with an increasing number of days per year that waters over the continental shelf were ice free. In 2001-2003, the ice-free period was relatively short (mean 101 days) and adult female survival was high (0 ∙ 96-0 ∙ 99, depending on reproductive state). In 2004 and 2005, the ice-free period was longer (mean 135 days) and adult female survival was low (0 ∙ 73-0 ∙ 79, depending on reproductive state). Breeding rates and cub litter survival also declined with increasing duration of the ice-free period. Confidence intervals on vital rate estimates were wide. 5. The effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may apply to polar bear populations in other portions of the polar basin that have similar sea ice dynamics and have experienced similar, or more severe, sea ice declines. Our findings

  14. Survival and breeding of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea in relation to sea ice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V; Hunter, Christine M; Caswell, Hal; Amstrup, Steven C; Stirling, Ian

    2010-01-01

    1. Observed and predicted declines in Arctic sea ice have raised concerns about marine mammals. In May 2008, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed polar bears (Ursus maritimus) - one of the most ice-dependent marine mammals - as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. 2. We evaluated the effects of sea ice conditions on vital rates (survival and breeding probabilities) for polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea. Although sea ice declines in this and other regions of the polar basin have been among the greatest in the Arctic, to date population-level effects of sea ice loss on polar bears have only been identified in western Hudson Bay, near the southern limit of the species' range. 3. We estimated vital rates using multistate capture-recapture models that classified individuals by sex, age and reproductive category. We used multimodel inference to evaluate a range of statistical models, all of which were structurally based on the polar bear life cycle. We estimated parameters by model averaging, and developed a parametric bootstrap procedure to quantify parameter uncertainty. 4. In the most supported models, polar bear survival declined with an increasing number of days per year that waters over the continental shelf were ice free. In 2001-2003, the ice-free period was relatively short (mean 101 days) and adult female survival was high (0.96-0.99, depending on reproductive state). In 2004 and 2005, the ice-free period was longer (mean 135 days) and adult female survival was low (0.73-0.79, depending on reproductive state). Breeding rates and cub litter survival also declined with increasing duration of the ice-free period. Confidence intervals on vital rate estimates were wide. 5. The effects of sea ice loss on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea may apply to polar bear populations in other portions of the polar basin that have similar sea ice dynamics and have experienced similar, or more severe, sea ice declines. Our findings therefore are

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Polar bear maternal den habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ambrosius, Ken J.

    2006-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) give birth during mid-winter in dens of ice and snow. Denning polar bears subjected to human disturbances may abandon dens before their altricial young can survive the rigors of the Arctic winter. Because the Arctic coastal plain of Alaska is an area of high petroleum potential and contains existing and planned oil field developments, the distribution of polar bear dens on the plain is of interest to land managers. Therefore, as part of a study of denning habitats along the entire Arctic coast of Alaska, we examined high-resolution aerial photographs (n = 1655) of the 7994 km2 coastal plain included in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and mapped 3621 km of bank habitat suitable for denning by polar bears. Such habitats were distributed uniformly and comprised 0.29% (23.2 km2) of the coastal plain between the Canning River and the Canadian border. Ground-truth sampling suggested that we had correctly identified 91.5% of bank denning habitats on the ANWR coastal plain. Knowledge of the distribution of these habitats will help facilitate informed management of human activities and minimize disruption of polar bears in maternal dens.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. A demographic comparison of two black bear populations in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Joseph D.; Smith, Kimberly G.

    1994-01-01

    The Ozark and Ouachita mountain regions of western Arkansas, collectively known as the Interior Highlands, historically supported large numbers of black bears (Ursus americanus). Indiscriminate killing of bears by early settlers and subsequent habitat reductions due to extensive logging and changes in land use resulted in their decline (Smith et al. 1991). By the late 1940's, bears had been extirpated from both regions (Holder 1951).

  3. 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.

  4. Regional Assessment of Remote Forests and Black Bear Habitat from Forest Resource Surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Victor A. Rudis; John B. Tansey

    1995-01-01

    We developed a spatially explicit modeling approach, using a county-scaled remote forest (i.e., forested area reserved from or having no direct human interference) assessment derived from 1984-1990 forest resource inventory data and a 1984 black bear (Ursus americantus) range map for 12 states in the southern United States.We defined minimum suitable and optimal black...

  5. 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.

  6. Development of a pan-Arctic monitoring plan for polar bears: Background paper

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vongraven, Dag; Peacock, Lily

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus), by their very nature, and the extreme, remote environment in which they live, are inherently difficult to study and monitor. Monitoring polar bear populations is both arduous and costly and, to be effective, must be a long-term commitment. There are few jurisdictional governments and management boards with a mandate for polar bear research and management, and many have limited resources. Although population monitoring of polar bears has been a focus to some degree within most jurisdictions around the Arctic, of the 19 subpopulations recognised by the IUCN/Species Survival Commission Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG), adequate scientific trend data exist for only three of the subpopulations, fair trend data for five and poor or no trend data for the remaining 11 subpopulations (PBSG 2010a). There are especially critical knowledge gaps for the subpopulations in East Greenland, in the Russian Kara and Laptev seas, and in the Chukchi Sea, which is shared between Russia and the United States. The range covered by these subpopulations represents a third of the total area (approx. 23 million km2) of polar bears’ current range, and more than half if the Arctic Basin is included. If we use popular terms, we know close to nothing about polar bears in this portion of their range.As summer sea-ice extent, and to a lesser degree, spring-time extent, continues to retreat, outpacing model forecasts (Stroeve et al. 2007, Pedersen et al. 2009), polar bears face the challenge of adapting to rapidly changing habitats. There is a need to use current and synthesised information across the Arctic, and to develop new methods that will facilitate monitoring to generate new knowledge at a pan-Arctic scale. The circumpolar dimension can be lost when efforts are channelled into regional monitoring. Developing and implementing a plan that harmonises local, regional and global efforts will increase our power to detect and understand important trends for polar

  7. Prevalence of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard and East Greenland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oksanen, A; Asbakk, K; Prestrud, K W; Aars, J; Derocher, A E; Tryland, M; Wiig, O; Dubey, J P; Sonne, C; Dietz, R; Andersen, M; Born, E W

    2009-02-01

    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. Antibody prevalences were 3.6% among cubs dependent on their mothers and 21.4% among subadults and adults. Among subadults and adults there was an interaction between population and sex, with similar prevalences among females (Svalbard = 19.5%, Greenland = 18.0%), but a high frequency among Svalbard males (28.7%) as compared to Greenland males (5.8%). The pattern was also significant after correcting for differences in age distribution. The sex-population interaction term is believed to be connected to area- and sex-specific feeding ecology. The prevalences of antibodies against T. gondii in Svalbard and Greenland were high compared to previously reported findings in polar bears from Russian and Alaskan areas.

  8. 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

    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......-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...

  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

    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.......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...

  10. Polar bear and walrus response to the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oakley, K.; Whalen, M.; Douglas, D.; 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Prevalence of Trichinella spp. in black bears, grizzly bears, and wolves in the Dehcho Region, Northwest Territories, Canada, including the first report of T. nativa in a grizzly bear from Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-07-01

    Samples of muscle from 120 black bears (Ursus americanus), 11 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), and 27 wolves (Canis lupus) collected in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories from 2001 to 2010 were examined for the presence of Trichinella spp. larvae using a pepsin-HCl digestion assay. Trichinella spp. larvae were found in eight of 11 (73%) grizzly bears, 14 of 27 (52%) wolves, and seven of 120 (5.8%) black bears. The average age of positive grizzly bears, black bears, and wolves was 13.5, 9.9, and approximately 4 yr, respectively. Larvae from 11 wolves, six black bears, and seven grizzly bears were genotyped. Six wolves were infected with T. nativa and five with Trichinella T6, four black bears were infected with T. nativa and two with Trichinella T6, and all seven grizzly bears were infected with Trichinella T6 and one of them had a coinfection with T. nativa. This is the first report of T. nativa in a grizzly bear from Canada. Bears have been linked to trichinellosis outbreaks in humans in Canada, and black bears are a subsistence food source for residents of the Dehcho region. In order to assess food safety risk it is important to monitor the prevalence of Trichinella spp. in both species of bear and their cohabiting mammalian food sources.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...... in six polar bears (6.25%) rendering a seroprevalence in line with previous findings in other Arctic regions. Seropositivity was not related to sex, age or biometrics i.e. size and body condition. Whether Brucella spp. antibodies found in polar bears were due to either prey spill over or true recurrent...

  17. Dynamics of a recolonizing population of black bears in the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bales, S.L.; Hellgren, E.C.; Leslie, David M.; Hemphill, J.

    2005-01-01

    Understanding how populations expand to recolonize former habitats is important to restoration efforts in wildlife management and conservation. Translocation of black bears (Ursus americanus) to Arkansas in the 1950s and 1960s has led to recolonization of former bear range in Oklahoma, with substantial increases in distribution and abundance of the species in Oklahoma over the last 15 years. We studied demographics of black bears in southeastern Oklahoma from May 2001 to November 2002 to provide insight into characteristics of recolonizing populations of large carnivores. We trapped 51 black bears (22 M, 29 F) 77 times and radiocollared 25 female bears. Sex ratios of adults and cubs were skewed toward females, and the age structure was younger than observed in other unharvested populations. Survival of adult females was estimated at 0.9??0.1, and fertility was estimated at 0.77 female young/female/year. Density on the study area was estimated at 0.21 bears/km2 and the current finite growth rate (??) of the study population was estimated to be 1.11/year. Demographic characteristics of the Oklahoma population of black bears were similar to those of other recolonizing populations of large carnivores.

  18. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Deweaver, E.T.; Douglas, D.C.; Marcot, B.G.; Durner, G.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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Trends of perfluorochemicals in Greenland ringed seals and polar bears: indications of shifts to decreasing trends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rigét, Frank; Bossi, Rossana; Sonne, Christian; Vorkamp, Katrin; Dietz, Rune

    2013-11-01

    Time-series of perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFASs) in East Greenland polar bears and East and West Greenland ringed seals were updated in order to deduce whether a response to the major reduction in perfluoroalkyl production in the early 2000s had occurred. Previous studies had documented an exponential increase of perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) in liver tissue from both species. In the present study, PFOS was still the far most dominant compound constituting 92% (West Greenland ringed seals), 88% (East Greenland ringed seals) and 85% (East Greenland polar bears). The PFOS concentrations increased up to 2006 with doubling times of approximately 6 years for the ringed seal populations and 14 years in case of polar bears. Since then a rapid decrease has occurred with clearing half-lives of approximately 1, 2 and 4 years, respectively. In polar bears perfluorohexane sulphonate (PFHxS) and perfluorooctane sulphonamide (PFOSA) also showed decreasing trends in recent years as do perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA). For the West Greenland ringed seal population perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), PFDA and PFUnA peaked in the mid 2000s, whereas PFNA, PFDA and PFUnA in the East Greenland population have been stable or increasing in recent years. The peak of PFASs in Greenland ringed seals and polar bears occurred at a later time than in Canadian seals and polar bears and considerably later than observed in seal species from more southern latitudes. We suggest that this could be explained by the distance to emission hot-spots and differences in long-range transport to the Arctic. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  4. Polar Bear Conservation Status in Relation to Projected Sea-ice Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, E. V.

    2015-12-01

    The status of the world's 19 subpopulations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) varies as a function of sea-ice conditions, ecology, management, and other factors. Previous methods to project the response of polar bears to loss of Arctic sea ice—the primary threat to the species—include expert opinion surveys, Bayesian Networks providing qualitative stressor assessments, and subpopulations-specific demographic analyses. Here, we evaluated the global conservation status of polar bears using a data-based sensitivity analysis. First, we estimated generation length for subpopulations with available data (n=11). Second, we developed standardized sea-ice metrics representing habitat availability. Third, we projected global population size under alternative assumptions for relationships between sea ice and subpopulation abundance. Estimated generation length (median = 11.4 years; 95%CI = 9.8 to 13.6) and sea-ice change (median = loss of 1.26 ice-covered days per year; 95%CI = 0.70 to 3.37) varied across subpopulations. Assuming a one-to-one proportional relationship between sea ice and abundance, the median percent change in global population size over three polar bear generations was -30% (95%CI = -35% to -25%). Assuming a linear relationship between sea ice and normalized estimates of subpopulation abundance, median percent change was -4% (95% CI = -62% to +50%) or -43% (95% CI = -76% to -20%), depending on how subpopulations were grouped and how inference was extended from relatively well-studied subpopulations (n=7) to those with little or no data. Our findings suggest the potential for large reductions in polar bear numbers over the next three polar bear generations if sea-ice loss due to climate change continues as forecasted.

  5. Methyl sulfone PCB and DDE metabolites in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) food chain

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Letcher, R.J. [Carleton Univ., Ottawa, Ontario (Canada); Norstrom, R.J. [Environment Canada, Hull, Quebec (Canada); Muir, D.C.G. [Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada)

    1995-12-31

    An important Arctic marine food chain is polar bear, ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida). The Arctic is relatively uncontaminated by chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants (CHCs). However, high levels of CHCs are bioaccumulated through the marine food web. Methyl sulfone (MeSO{sub 2})-PCB and -DDE metabolites are major CHCs in polar bear, although the proportion of MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs derived from PCB metabolism and/or MeSO{sub 2}-PCB bioaccumulation from the diet is unknown. For this reason, the structure and concentration of MeSO{sup 2}-PCB and -DDE metabolites, PCBs and DDE were determined in whole body Arctic cod, the liver, adipose, lung and muscle of ringed seal and ten tissues of polar bear from the Resolute Bay area of the Canadian Arctic. Preliminary analysis of the ratios of MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs in bear fat and liver to their parent PCBs in seal blubber suggested that CB-49 and CB-87 result in a higher proportion of metabolites in bear than the other PCB congeners, assuming that the MeSO{sup 2}-PCBs are not themselves accumulated from the diet. Bio-availability of the precursor PCBs for subsequent metabolism may also be a factor. The absence in bears of MeSO{sub 2}-metabolites of other metabolizable PCBs in seal may indicate that some MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs are not formed or that they are formed and further metabolized. The MeSO{sub 2}-PCB and -DDE levels and congener patterns among seal and bear tissues and the difference in tissue distribution between species will also be compared. In polar bear, the s-MeSO{sub 2}-PCB to S-PCB and s-MeSO{sub 2}-DDE to DDE ratios were highest in liver, indicating preferred storage.

  6. American Black Bears as Hosts of Blacklegged Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Northeastern United States.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zolnik, Christine P; Makkay, Amanda M; Falco, Richard C; Daniels, Thomas J

    2015-09-01

    Ticks and whole blood were collected from American black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas) between October 2011 and October 2012 across four counties in northwestern New Jersey, an area where blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis Say) and their associated tick-borne pathogens are prevalent. Adult American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis Say) were the most frequently collected tick species in late spring, whereas adult and nymphal blacklegged ticks were found in both the late spring and fall months. Additionally, for blacklegged ticks, we determined the quality of bloodmeals that females acquired from black bears compared with bloodmeals from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman), the most important host for the adult stage of this tick species. Measures of fecundity after feeding on each host species were not significantly different, suggesting that the bloodmeal a female blacklegged tick acquires from a black bear is of similar quality to that obtained from a white-tailed deer. These results establish the American black bear as both a host and quality bloodmeal source to I. scapularis. Thus, black bears may help support blacklegged tick populations in areas where they are both present. In addition, samples of black bear blood were tested for DNA presence of three tick-borne pathogens. Anaplasma phagocytophilum Foggie and Babesia microti Franca were found in 9.2 and 32.3% of blood samples, respectively. All blood samples were quantitative polymerase chain reaction-negative for Borrelia burgdorferi Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt, & Brenner. Although circulating pathogens were found in blood, the status of black bears as reservoirs for these pathogens remains unknown. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  7. Fossil Find on Svalbard Highlights the Natural History of the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ingolfsson, O.; Wiig, O.

    2007-12-01

    During recent fieldwork on Svalbard a well preserved subfossil left ramus of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) mandible was discovered. A 14C age determination shows that it is older than 45 ka (kilo-years), and an OSL (Optical Stimulated Luminescence) age determination together with the stratigraphic position of the bone suggests that it is of Eemian-Early Weichselian/Wisconsinan age, 150-80 ka old. This puts the find among the oldest fossil remains of a polar bear ever discovered. Osteological study of the mandible suggests that it comes from a fully grown female. The fossil record suggests that polar bears may have developed from brown bears during the early part of the last glacial cycle, some 100 ka ago. The present interglacial might be the first such that the species has to endure. This underlines the potential status of the polar bears as an endangered species if the current warming trend and diminishing of sea ice cover in the Arctic continues.

  8. 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 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.

  9. Increased Land Use by Chukchi Sea Polar Bears in Relation to Changing Sea Ice Conditions

    OpenAIRE

    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 bo...

  10. 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.

  11. Evaluating population expansion of black bears using spatial capture-recapture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Catherine C.; Fuller, Angela K.; Hare, Matthew P.; Hurst, Jeremy E.

    2017-01-01

    The population of American black bears (Ursus americanus) in southern New York, USA has been growing and expanding in range since the 1990s. This has motivated a need to anticipate future patterns of range expansion. We conducted a non-invasive, genetic, spatial capture-recapture (SCR) study to estimate black bear density and identify spatial patterns of population density that are potentially associated with range expansion. We collected hair samples in a 2,519-km2 study area in southern New York with barbed-wire hair snares and identified individuals and measured genetic diversity using 7 microsatellite loci and 1 sex-linked marker. We estimated a mean density of black bears in the region of 13.7 bears/100 km2, and detected a slight latitudinal gradient in density consistent with the documented range expansion. However, elevation and the amounts of forest, crop, and developed landcover types did not influence density, suggesting that bears are using a diversity of resources in this heterogeneous landscape outside their previously described distribution. These results provide the first robust baseline estimates for population density and distribution associated with different landcover types in the expanded bear range. Further, genetic diversity was comparable to that of non-expanding black bear populations in the eastern United States, and in combination with the latitudinal density gradient, suggest that the study area is not at the colonizing front of the range expansion. In addition, the diversity of landcover types used by bears in the study area implies a possible lack of constraints for further northern expansion of the black bear range. Our non-invasive, genetic, spatial capture-recapture approach has utility for studying populations of other species that may be expanding in range because SCR allows for the testing of explicit, spatial ecological hypotheses. 

  12. Body and diet composition of sympatric black and grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Teisberg, Justin E.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Servheen, Christopher; Robbins, Charles T.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2013-01-01

    The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) has experienced changes in the distribution and availability of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) food resources in recent decades. The decline of ungulates, fish, and whitebark pine seeds (Pinus albicaulis) has prompted questions regarding their ability to adapt. We examined body composition and diet of grizzly bears using bioelectrical impedance and stable isotopes to determine if 1) we can detect a change in diet quality associated with the decline in either ungulates or whitebark pine, and 2) the combined decline in ungulates, fish, and pine seeds resulted in a change in grizzly bear carrying capacity in the GYE. We contrasted body fat and mass in grizzly bears with a potential competitor, the American black bear (Ursus americanus), to address these questions. Grizzly bears assimilated more meat into their diet and were in better body condition than black bears throughout the study period, indicating the decline in ungulate resources did not affect grizzly bears more than black bears. We also found no difference in autumn fat levels in grizzly bears in years of good or poor pine seed production, and stable isotope analyses revealed this was primarily a function of switching to meat resources during poor seed-producing years. This dietary plasticity was consistent over the course of our study. We did not detect an overall downward trend in either body mass or the fraction of meat assimilated into the diet by grizzly bears over the past decade, but we did detect a downward trend in percent body fat in adult female grizzly bears after 2006. Whether this decline is an artifact of small sample size or due to the population reaching the ecological carrying capacity of the Yellowstone ecosystem warrants further investigation.

  13. Families in space: relatedness in the Barents Sea population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeyl, E; Aars, J; Ehrich, D; Wiig, O

    2009-02-01

    The kin structure and dispersal pattern of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the Barents Sea was investigated during the spring mating season using two complementary approaches. First, individual genotypes based on the analyses of 27 microsatellite loci of 583 polar bears were related to field information gathered from 1146 bears in order to reconstruct the animals' pedigrees and to infer geographical distances between adult bears of different relatedness categories. According to the data, the median natal dispersal distance of the male animals was 52 km while that of the females was 93 km. Second, the relatedness of pairs of adult bears was estimated and correlated to the geographical distance between them. The female dyads had a much stronger kin structure than the male dyads. The 'pedigree approach' revealed a male kin structure which could not be detected using the 'relatedness approach'. This suggests that, on a broader scale, effective dispersal is slightly male biased. Despite fidelity to natal areas, male-mediated gene flow may nevertheless prevent genetic differentiation. Males might occasionally shift their home range which could therefore lead to a male-biased breeding dispersal. Our results showed that a nonterritorial species such as the polar bear that has a high dispersal potential, lives in a highly unstable environment and migrates seasonally is still able to exhibit a distinct kin structure during the mating season.

  14. 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.

  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...

  16. Evaluating and ranking threats to the long-term persistence of 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.

    2015-01-01

    The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) was listed as a globally threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2008, mostly due to the significant threat to their future population viability from rapidly declining Arctic sea ice. A core mandate of the ESA is the development of a recovery plan that identifies steps to maintain viable populations of a listed species. A substantive evaluation of the relative influence of putative threats to population persistence is helpful to recovery planning. Because management actions must often be taken in the face of substantial information gaps, a formalized evaluation hypothesizing potential stressors and their relationships with population persistence can improve identification of relevant conservation actions. To this end, we updated a Bayesian network model previously used to forecast the future status of polar bears worldwide. We used new information on actual and predicted sea ice loss and polar bear responses to evaluate the relative influence of plausible threats and their mitigation through management actions on the persistence of polar bears in four ecoregions. We found that polar bear outcomes worsened over time through the end of the century under both stabilized and unabated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission pathways. Under the unabated pathway (i.e., RCP 8.5), the time it took for polar bear populations in two of four ecoregions to reach a dominant probability of greatly decreased was hastened by about 25 years. Under the stabilized GHG emission pathway (i.e., RCP 4.5), where GHG emissions peak around the year 2040, the polar bear population in the Archipelago Ecoregion of High Arctic Canada never reached a dominant probability of greatly decreased, reinforcing earlier suggestions of this ecoregion’s potential to serve as a long-term refugium. The most influential drivers of adverse polar bear outcomes were declines to overall sea ice conditions and to the marine prey base. Improved sea ice conditions

  17. Demography and behavior of polar bears summering on land in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peacock, Lily

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea population (SB) are spending increased time on the coastal North Slope of Alaska between July and October (Gleason and Rode 2010). The duration spent on land by polar bears, satellite collared on the sea-ice in the spring, during the summer and fall has also increased (USGS, unpublished data; Figure 1). This change in polar bear ecology has relevance for human-bear interactions, subsistence harvest, prevalence of defense kills, and disturbance associated with existing land-based development [e.g., National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska (NPRA), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)], Native Alaskan communities, recreation (ANWR) and tourism (e.g., bear viewing in Kaktovik, AK). These activities have the potential to impact, in new ways, the status of the entire SB population. Concomitantly, the change in polar bear ecology will impact these human activities, and a base-line characterization of this phenomenon can better inform mitigation (e.g., industry permitting under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act). In this study we aim to characterize the demography, habitat-use, and aspects of foraging ecology and health of polar bears spending fall on land. The SB population is characterized by a divergent-sea ice ecology, where polar bears typically spend most of the year on the sea-ice, even as the pack ice retreats northward, away from the coast, to its minimal extent in September (Amstrup et al. 2008; Durner et al. 2009). From 2000 – 2005, using coastal aerial surveys, Schliebe et al. (2008) observed between 3.7 and 8% of polar bears from SB (~ 60 – 120 of 1526, Regher et al. 2006) on land during the autumn. Sighting probability was not estimated in these surveys, and therefore the numbers represent minimum numbers of bears on land. Our analysis of USGS data suggest an annual average of 15% (± 3%, SE) of polar bears satellite-tagged on the spring-time sea ice (total n = 18 of 124

  18. Brown and polar bear Y chromosomes reveal extensive male-biased gene flow within brother lineages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bidon, Tobias; Janke, Axel; Fain, Steven R; Eiken, Hans Geir; Hagen, Snorre B; Saarma, Urmas; Hallström, Björn M; Lecomte, Nicolas; Hailer, Frank

    2014-06-01

    Brown and polar bears have become prominent examples in phylogeography, but previous phylogeographic studies relied largely on maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or were geographically restricted. The male-specific Y chromosome, a natural counterpart to mtDNA, has remained underexplored. Although this paternally inherited chromosome is indispensable for comprehensive analyses of phylogeographic patterns, technical difficulties and low variability have hampered its application in most mammals. We developed 13 novel Y-chromosomal sequence and microsatellite markers from the polar bear genome and screened these in a broad geographic sample of 130 brown and polar bears. We also analyzed a 390-kb-long Y-chromosomal scaffold using sequencing data from published male ursine genomes. Y chromosome evidence support the emerging understanding that brown and polar bears started to diverge no later than the Middle Pleistocene. Contrary to mtDNA patterns, we found 1) brown and polar bears to be reciprocally monophyletic sister (or rather brother) lineages, without signals of introgression, 2) male-biased gene flow across continents and on phylogeographic time scales, and 3) male dispersal that links the Alaskan ABC islands population to mainland brown bears. Due to female philopatry, mtDNA provides a highly structured estimate of population differentiation, while male-biased gene flow is a homogenizing force for nuclear genetic variation. Our findings highlight the importance of analyzing both maternally and paternally inherited loci for a comprehensive view of phylogeographic history, and that mtDNA-based phylogeographic studies of many mammals should be reevaluated. Recent advances in sequencing technology render the analysis of Y-chromosomal variation feasible, even in nonmodel organisms. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e

  19. A tale of two polar bear populations: Ice habitat, harvest, and body condition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, K.D.; Peacock, E.; Taylor, M.; Stirling, I.; Born, E.W.; Laidre, K.L.; Wiig, O.

    2012-01-01

    One of the primary mechanisms by which sea ice loss is expected to affect polar bears is via reduced body condition and growth resulting from reduced access to prey. To date, negative effects of sea ice loss have been documented for two of 19 recognized populations. Effects of sea ice loss on other polar bear populations that differ in harvest rate, population density, and/or feeding ecology have been assumed, but empirical support, especially quantitative data on population size, demography, and/or body condition spanning two or more decades, have been lacking. We examined trends in body condition metrics of captured bears and relationships with summertime ice concentration between 1977 and 2010 for the Baffin Bay (BB) and Davis Strait (DS) polar bear populations. Polar bears in these regions occupy areas with annual sea ice that has decreased markedly starting in the 1990s. Despite differences in harvest rate, population density, sea ice concentration, and prey base, polar bears in both populations exhibited positive relationships between body condition and summertime sea ice cover during the recent period of sea ice decline. Furthermore, females and cubs exhibited relationships with sea ice that were not apparent during the earlier period (1977-1990s) when sea ice loss did not occur. We suggest that declining body condition in BB may be a result of recent declines in sea ice habitat. In DS, high population density and/or sea ice loss, may be responsible for the declines in body condition. ?? 2011 The Society of Population Ecology and Springer.

  20. Post-den emergence behavior of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in Northern Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, T.S.; Partridge, Steven T.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Schliebe, S.

    2007-01-01

    We observed polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternity den sites on Alaska’s North Slope in March 2002 and 2003 in an effort to describe bears’ post-den emergence behavior. During 40 sessions spanning 459 h, we observed 8 adults and 14 dependent cubs outside dens for 37.5 h (8.2% of total observation time). There was no significant difference between den emergence dates in 2002 (mean = 15 Mar ± 4.1 d) and 2003 (mean = 21 Mar ± 2.1 d). Following initial den breakout, polar bears remained at their den sites for 1.5 to 14 days (mean = 8.1 ± 5.1 d). The average length of stay in dens between emergent periods was significantly shorter in 2002 (1.79 h) than in 2003 (4.82 h). While outside, adult bears were inactive 49.5% of the time, whereas cubs were inactive 13.4% of the time. We found no significant relationships between den emergence activity and weather. Adult polar bears at den sites subjected to industrial activity exhibited significantly fewer bouts of vigilance than denned bears in undisturbed areas (t = -5.5164, df = 4, p= 0.00). However, the duration of vigilance behaviors at sites near industrial activity was not significantly shorter than at the other sites studied (t = -1.8902, df = 4, p = 0.07). Results for these bears were within the range of findings in other studies of denned polar bears.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 < 0.05) during the breeding season, and brief spikes were associated with estrus and mating. A postovulatory increase in PdG was not always detected, but sustained baseline T after mating appeared consistent with ovulation. Parturient bears excreted higher PdG concentrations (P < 0.05) during expected time of embryo implantation in Fall, and a late gestational rise in fecal T occurred 30 days prepartum. Many nonparturient 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 < 0.05) fecal T during summer months, whereas parturient 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.

  3. 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 whe...

  4. 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...

  5. Polar Bear UV Imaging of Airglow and Aurora - Image Processing and Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    1989-09-24

    L., Huffman, R. E., Rich, F. J., Meng, C. - I., Potocki , K. A., Potemra, T. A., Hanson, W. B., Heelis, R. A., and Wittwer, L. A., The HILAT program...0177, ADA214203 [13) Osnovich, I., and Tur, M., Stabilising the Polar BEAR Retrospectively, Research Progress and Forecast Report to AFGL, Jan . 1989

  6. Allee effect in polar bears: A potential consequence of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination.

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pavlová, Viola; Nabe-Nielsen, J.; Dietz, R.; Sonne, C.; Grimm, V.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 283, č. 1843 (2016), č. článku 20161883. ISSN 0962-8452 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : allee effect * polychlorinated biphenyls * polar bear s * male reproduction Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 4.940, year: 2016

  7. 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...

  8. Experiencing polar bears in the zoo: feelings and cognitions in relation to a visitor's conservation attitude

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Marseille, M.M.; Elands, B.H.M.; Brink, van den M.L.

    2012-01-01

    This article explores which feelings and cognitions are involved in visitor experiences of zoo polar bears and how this experience relates to a visitor's conservation attitude. Data were collected through qualitative interviews with 30 visitors in two Dutch zoos. Most respondents believed that a

  9. 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...

  10. High‐frequency induced polarization measurements of hydrocarbon‐bearing rocks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Burtman, Vladimir; Endo, Masashi; Zhdanov, Michael S.

    2011-01-01

    We have investigated induced polarization (IP) effects in hydrocarbon‐bearing artificial rocks at frequencies greater than 100 Hz. We have examined the instrumental and electrode phase responses of Zonge International's complex resistivity (CR) system, and optimized the performance of the Zonge s......, and suggest the necessity to account for IP effects in the interpretations of electromagnetic data, particularly in induction logging data....

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Penile density and globally used chemicals in Canadian and Greenland polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Dyck, Markus; Rigét, Frank F; Beck Jensen, Jens-Erik; Hyldstrup, Lars; Letcher, Robert J; Gustavson, Kim; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Dietz, Rune

    2015-02-01

    Industrially produced chemicals have been a major environmental concern across our entire Globe since the onset of rapid industrial development around the early 1900. Many of the substances being used are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are also known to be long-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 BMD and highest EDCs. A BMD vs. polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) regression analysis showed that BMD decreased as a function of the eight subpopulations' PCB concentrations and this relationship was close to being significant (p=0.10, R(2)=0.39). Risk quotient (RQ) estimation demonstrated that PCBs could be in a range that may lead to disruption of normal reproduction and development. It is therefore likely that EDCs directly affect development and bone density in polar bears. Canadian bears had in general the best health and the North East Greenland subpopulation being at the highest risk of having negative health effects. While reductions in BMD is in general unhealthy, reductions in penile BMD could lead to increased risk of species extinction because of mating and subsequent

  15. Novel species interactions: American black bears respond to Pacific herring spawn.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, Caroline Hazel; Paquet, Paul Charles; Reimchen, Thomas Edward

    2015-05-26

    In addition to the decline and extinction of the world's species, the decline and eventual loss of species interactions is one of the major consequences of the biodiversity crisis. On the Pacific coast of North America, diminished runs of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) drive numerous marine-terrestrial interactions, many of which have been intensively studied, but marine-terrestrial interactions driven by other species remain relatively unknown. Bears (Ursus spp.) are major vectors of salmon into terrestrial ecosystems, but their participation in other cross-ecosystem interactions is similarly poorly described. Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), a migratory forage fish in coastal marine ecosystems of the North Pacific Ocean and the dominant forage fish in British Columbia (BC), spawn in nearshore subtidal and intertidal zones. Spawn resources (eggs, milt, and spawning adults) at these events are available to coastal predators and scavengers, including terrestrial species. In this study, we investigated the interaction between American black bears (Ursus americanus) and Pacific herring at spawn events in Quatsino Sound, BC, Canada. Using remote cameras to monitor bear activity (1,467 camera days, 29 sites, years 2010-2012) in supratidal and intertidal zones and a machine learning approach, we determined that the quantity of Pacific herring eggs in supratidal and intertidal zones was a leading predictor of black bear activity, with bears positively responding to increasing herring egg masses. Other important predictors included day of the year and Talitrid amphipod (Traskorchestia spp.) mass. A complementary analysis of black bear scats indicated that Pacific herring egg mass was the highest ranked predictor of egg consumption by bears. Pacific herring eggs constituted a substantial yet variable component of the early springtime diet of black bears in Quatsino Sound (frequency of occurrence 0-34%; estimated dietary content 0-63%). Other major dietary items included

  16. Effect-Directed Analysis to Explore the Polar Bear Exposome: the Identification of Thyroid Hormone Disrupting Compounds in Plasma

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Simon, E.; van Velzen, M.J.M.; Brandsma, S.H.; Lie, E.; Loken, K.; de Boer, J.; Bytingsvik, J.; Jenssen, B.M.; Aars, J.; Hamers, T.; Lamoree, M.H.

    2013-01-01

    Compounds with transthyretin (TTR)-binding potency in the blood plasma of polar bear cubs were identified with effect-directed analysis (EDA). This approach contributes to the understanding of the thyroid disrupting exposome of polar bears. The selection of these samples for in-depth EDA was based

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Demographic characteristics and infectious diseases of a population of American black bears in Humboldt County, California.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stephenson, Nicole; Higley, J Mark; Sajecki, Jaime L; Chomel, Bruno B; Brown, Richard N; Foley, Janet E

    2015-02-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) are common, widely distributed, and broad-ranging omnivorous mammals in northern California forests. Bears may be susceptible to pathogens infecting both domestic animals and humans. Monitoring bear populations, particularly in changing ecosystems, is important to understanding ecological features that could affect bear population health and influence the likelihood that bears may cause adverse impacts on humans. In all, 321 bears were captured between May, 2001, and October, 2003, and blood samples were collected and tested for multiple zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. We found a PCR prevalence of 10% for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and a seroprevalence of 28% for Toxoplasma gondii, 26% for Borrelia burgdorferi, 26% for A. phagocytophilum, 8% for Trichinella spiralis, 8% for Francisella tularensis and 1% for Yersinia pestis. In addition, we tested bears for pathogens of domestic dogs and found a seroprevalence of 15% for canine distemper virus and 0.6% for canine parvovirus. Our findings show that black bears can become infected with pathogens that are an important public health concern, as well as pathogens that can affect both domestic animals and other wildlife species.

  20. Hibernation in black bears: independence of metabolic suppression from body temperature.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tøien, Øivind; Blake, John; Edgar, Dale M; Grahn, Dennis A; Heller, H Craig; Barnes, Brian M

    2011-02-18

    Black bears hibernate for 5 to 7 months a year and, during this time, do not eat, drink, urinate, or defecate. We measured metabolic rate and body temperature in hibernating black bears and found that they suppress metabolism to 25% of basal rates while regulating body temperature from 30° to 36°C, in multiday cycles. Heart rates were reduced from 55 to as few as 9 beats per minute, with profound sinus arrhythmia. After returning to normal body temperature and emerging from dens, bears maintained a reduced metabolic rate for up to 3 weeks. The pronounced reduction and delayed recovery of metabolic rate in hibernating bears suggest that the majority of metabolic suppression during hibernation is independent of lowered body temperature.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. Serum Immune-Related Proteins are Differentially Expressed during Hibernation in the American Black Bear

    OpenAIRE

    Chow, Brian A.; Donahue, Seth W.; Vaughan, Michael R.; McConkey, Brendan; Vijayan, Mathilakath M.

    2013-01-01

    Hibernation is an adaptation to conserve energy in the face of extreme environmental conditions and low food availability that has risen in several animal phyla. This phenomenon is characterized by reduced metabolic rate (∼25% of the active basal metabolic rate in hibernating bears) and energy demand, while other physiological adjustments are far from clear. The profiling of the serum proteome of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) may reveal specific proteins that are differentially m...

  8. American black bear denning behavior: Observations and applications using remote photography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, A.S.; Fox, J.A.; Olfenbuttel, C.; Vaughan, M.B.

    2004-01-01

    Researchers examining American black bear (Ursus americanus) denning behavior have relied primarily on den-site visitation and radiotelemetry to gather data. Repeated den-site visits are time-intensive and may disturb denning bears, possibly causing den abandonment, whereas radiotelemetry is sufficient only to provide gross data on den emergence. We used remote cameras to examine black bear denning behavior in the Allegheny Mountains of western Virginia during March-May 2003. We deployed cameras at 10 den sites and used 137 pictures of black bears. Adult female black bears exhibited greater extra-den activity than we expected prior to final den emergence, which occurred between April 12 and May 6, 2003. Our technique provided more accurate den-emergence estimation than previously published methodologies. Additionally, we observed seldom-documented behaviors associated with den exits and estimated cub age at den emergence. Remote cameras can provide unique insights into denning ecology, and we describe their potential application to reproductive, survival, and behavioral research.

  9. Seasonal variation in American black bear Ursus americanus activity patterns: Quantification via remote photography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, A.S.; Vaughan, M.R.; Klenzendorf, S.

    2004-01-01

    Activity pattern plasticity may serve as an evolutionary adaptation to optimize fitness in an inconstant environment, however, quantifying patterns and demonstrating variation can be problematic. For American black bears Ursus americanus, wariness and habitat inaccessibility further complicate quantification. Radio telemetry has been the primary technique used to examine activity, however, interpretation error and limitation on numbers of animals available to monitor prevent extrapolation to unmarked or untransmittered members of the population. We used remote cameras to quantify black bear activity patterns and examined differences by season, sex and reproductive class in the Alleghany Mountains of western Virginia, USA. We used 1,533 pictures of black bears taken during 1998-2002 for our analyses. Black bears generally were diurnal in summer and nocturnal in autumn with a vespertine activity peak during both seasons. Bear-hound training seasons occurred during September and may offer explanation for the observed shift towards nocturnal behaviour. We found no substantial differences in activity patterns between sex and reproductive classes. Use of remote cameras allowed us to efficiently sample larger numbers of individual animals and likely offered a better approximation of population-level activity patterns than individual-level, telemetry-based methodologies.

  10. Bone formation is not impaired by hibernation (disuse) in black bears Ursus americanus.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donahue, Seth W; Vaughan, Michael R; Demers, Laurence M; Donahue, Henry J

    2003-12-01

    Disuse by bed rest, limb immobilization or space flight causes rapid bone loss by arresting bone formation and accelerating bone resorption. This net bone loss increases the risk of fracture upon remobilization. Bone loss also occurs in hibernating ground squirrels, golden hamsters, and little brown bats by arresting bone formation and accelerating bone resorption. There is some histological evidence to suggest that black bears Ursus americanus do not lose bone mass during hibernation (i.e. disuse). There is also evidence suggesting that muscle mass and strength are preserved in black bears during hibernation. The question of whether bears can prevent bone loss during hibernation has not been conclusively answered. The goal of the current study was to further assess bone metabolism in hibernating black bears. Using the same serum markers of bone remodeling used to evaluate human patients with osteoporosis, we assayed serum from five black bears, collected every 10 days over a 196-day period, for bone resorption and formation markers. Here we show that bone resorption remains elevated over the entire hibernation period compared to the pre-hibernation period, but osteoblastic bone formation is not impaired by hibernation and is rapidly accelerated during remobilization following hibernation.

  11. Recovery of uranium from uranium bearing black shale

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Das, Amrita; Yadav, Manoj; Singh, Ajay K.

    2016-01-01

    Black shale is the unconventional resource of uranium. Recovery of uranium from black shale has been carried out by the following steps: i) size reduction, ii) leaching of uranium in the aqueous medium, iii) fluoride ion removal, iv) solvent extraction of uranium from the aqueous leach solution, v) scrubbing of the loaded solvent after extraction to remove impurities as much as possible and vi) stripping of uranium from the loaded organic into the aqueous phase. Leaching of black shale has been carried out in hydrochloric acid. Free acidity of the leach solution has been determined by potentiometric titration method. Removal of fluoride ions has been done using sodium chloride. Solvent extraction has been carried out by both tributyl phosphate and alamine-336 as extractants. Scrubbing has been tried with oxalic acid and sulphuric acid. Stripping with sodium carbonate solution has been carried out. Overall recovery of uranium is 95%. (author)

  12. Polar bear population status in the northern Beaufort Sea, Canada, 1971-2006.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stirling, Ian; McDonald, Trent L; Richardson, E S; Regehr, Eric V; Amstrup, Steven C

    2011-04-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the northern Beaufort Sea (NB) population occur on the perimeter of the polar basin adjacent to the northwestern islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Sea ice converges on the islands through most of the year. We used open-population capture-recapture models to estimate population size and vital rates of polar bears between 1971 and 2006 to: (1) assess relationships between survival, sex and age, and time period; (2) evaluate the long-term importance of sea ice quality and availability in relation to climate warming; and (3) note future management and conservation concerns. The highest-ranking models suggested that survival of polar bears varied by age class and with changes in the sea ice habitat. Model-averaged estimates of survival (which include harvest mortality) for senescent adults ranged from 0.37 to 0.62, from 0.22 to 0.68 for cubs of the year (COY) and yearlings, and from 0.77 to 0.92 for 2-4 year-olds and adults. Horvtiz-Thompson (HT) estimates of population size were not significantly different among the decades of our study. The population size estimated for the 2000s was 980 +/- 155 (mean and 95% CI). These estimates apply primarily to that segment of the NB population residing west and south of Banks Island. The NB polar bear population appears to have been stable or possibly increasing slightly during the period of our study. This suggests that ice conditions have remained suitable and similar for feeding in summer and fall during most years and that the traditional and legal Inuvialuit harvest has not exceeded sustainable levels. However, the amount of ice remaining in the study area at the end of summer, and the proportion that continues to lie over the biologically productive continental shelf (polar bear population in the northern Beaufort Sea will eventually decline. Management and conservation practices for polar bears in relation to both aboriginal harvesting and offshore industrial activity will need to

  13. When top predators become prey: Black bears alter movement behaviour in response to hunting pressure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stillfried, Milena; Belant, Jerrold L; Svoboda, Nathan J; Beyer, Dean E; Kramer-Schadt, Stephanie

    2015-11-01

    The trade-off between predator avoidance and foraging is a key decision making factor that shapes an organism's adaptive behaviour and movement patterns. Human hunters act as top predators to influence the behaviour of free-ranging mammals, including large carnivorous species such as black bears (Ursus americanus). Analysing the effects of hunting on animal behavioural patterns is essential for understanding the extent to which animals detect and respond to human-induced disturbances. To this end, we assessed whether black bear movement behaviour changed with varying risk from spatially and temporally heterogeneous human predation. Levels of risk were categorized as either low (disturbance from dog training; n=19 bears) or high (disturbance from hunting activities; n=11 bears). Road types were either paved (risk due to vehicles) or non-paved (risk due to hunters) and were used as proxies for hunting effort and amount of disturbance. We began by testing the null hypothesis that bears' distribution before the onset of human disturbance is spatially random. Next, to test temporal movement adjustment between the low and high risk levels, we measured the distance to the nearest road and the road crossing frequency using mixed effects models with risk level, time of day and sex as predictor variables. As disturbance near non-paved roads increased due to the start of the hunting activity, the mean distances of bears to non-paved roads increased while the mean distances of bears to paved roads decreased, despite the continual risk of vehicle collision. These behavioural responses were observed during day and night, with the frequency of crossing paved roads at night five times greater than in daytime during the hunting season. Our findings demonstrate that black bears are able to detect risky places and adjust their spatial movements accordingly. More specifically, bears can perceive changes in the level of risk from human hunting activities on a fine temporal scale

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Reduced body size and cub recruitment in polar bears associated with sea ice decline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, K.D.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Regehr, E.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 longterm data set, suggest that declining sea ice is associated with nutritional limitations that reduced body size and reproduction in this population. ?? 2010 by the Ecological Society of America.

  17. 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.

  18. Trophic facilitation or limitation? Comparative effects of pumas and black bears on the scavenger community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maximilian L Allen

    Full Text Available Scavenging is a widespread behaviour and an important process influencing food webs and ecological communities. Large carnivores facilitate the movement of energy across trophic levels through the scavenging and decomposition of their killed prey, but competition with large carnivores is also likely to constrain acquisition of carrion by scavengers. We used an experimental approach based on motion-triggered video cameras at black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus carcasses to measure the comparative influences of two large carnivores in the facilitation and limitation of carrion acquisition by scavengers. We found that pumas (Puma concolor and black bears (Ursus americanus had different effects on their ecological communities. Pumas, as a top-level predator, facilitated the consumption of carrion by scavengers, despite significantly reducing their observed sum feeding times (165.7 min ± 21.2 SE at puma kills 264.3 min ± 30.1 SE at control carcasses. In contrast, black bears, as the dominant scavenger in the system, limited consumption of carrion by scavengers as evidenced by the observed reduction of scavenger species richness recorded at carcasses where they were present (mean = 2.33 ± 0.28 SE, compared to where they were absent (mean = 3.28 ± 0.23 SE. Black bears also had large negative effects on scavenger sum feeding times (88.5 min ± 19.8 SE at carcasses where bears were present, 372.3 min ± 50.0 SE at carcasses where bears were absent. In addition, we found that pumas and black bears both increased the nestedness (a higher level of order among species present of the scavenger community. Our results suggest that scavengers have species-specific adaptions to exploit carrion despite large carnivores, and that large carnivores influence the structure and composition of scavenger communities. The interactions between large carnivores and scavengers should be considered in future studies of food webs and ecological communities.

  19. Trophic facilitation or limitation? Comparative effects of pumas and black bears on the scavenger community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Maximilian L; Elbroch, L Mark; Wilmers, Christopher C; Wittmer, Heiko U

    2014-01-01

    Scavenging is a widespread behaviour and an important process influencing food webs and ecological communities. Large carnivores facilitate the movement of energy across trophic levels through the scavenging and decomposition of their killed prey, but competition with large carnivores is also likely to constrain acquisition of carrion by scavengers. We used an experimental approach based on motion-triggered video cameras at black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) carcasses to measure the comparative influences of two large carnivores in the facilitation and limitation of carrion acquisition by scavengers. We found that pumas (Puma concolor) and black bears (Ursus americanus) had different effects on their ecological communities. Pumas, as a top-level predator, facilitated the consumption of carrion by scavengers, despite significantly reducing their observed sum feeding times (165.7 min ± 21.2 SE at puma kills 264.3 min ± 30.1 SE at control carcasses). In contrast, black bears, as the dominant scavenger in the system, limited consumption of carrion by scavengers as evidenced by the observed reduction of scavenger species richness recorded at carcasses where they were present (mean = 2.33 ± 0.28 SE), compared to where they were absent (mean = 3.28 ± 0.23 SE). Black bears also had large negative effects on scavenger sum feeding times (88.5 min ± 19.8 SE at carcasses where bears were present, 372.3 min ± 50.0 SE at carcasses where bears were absent). In addition, we found that pumas and black bears both increased the nestedness (a higher level of order among species present) of the scavenger community. Our results suggest that scavengers have species-specific adaptions to exploit carrion despite large carnivores, and that large carnivores influence the structure and composition of scavenger communities. The interactions between large carnivores and scavengers should be considered in future studies of food webs and ecological communities.

  20. Selection of den sites by black bears in the southern Appalachians

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds-Hogland, M. J.; Mitchell, M.S.; Powell, R.A.; Brown, D.C.

    2007-01-01

    We evaluated selection of den sites by American black bears (Ursus americanus) in the Pisgah Bear Sanctuary, western North Carolina, by comparing characteristics of dens at 53 den sites with availability of habitat characteristics in annual home ranges of bears and in the study area. We also tested whether den-site selection differed by sex, age, and reproductive status of bears. In addition, we evaluated whether the den component of an existing habitat model for black bears predicted where bears would select den sites. We found bears selected den sites far from gravel roads, on steep slopes, and at high elevations relative to what was available in both annual home ranges and in the study area. Den-site selection did not differ by sex or age, but it differed by reproductive status. Adult females with cubs preferred to den in areas that were relatively far from gravel roads, but adult females without cubs did not. The habitat model overestimated the value of areas near gravel roads, underestimated the value of moderately steep areas, and did not include elevation as a predictor variable. Our results highlight the importance of evaluating den selection in terms of both use and availability of den characteristics. ?? 2007 American Society of Mammalogists.

  1. 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

  2. Serologic evidence of infection with granulocytic ehrlichiae in black bears in Pennsylvania.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schultz, Sharon M; Nicholson, William L; Comer, James A; Childs, James E; Humphreys, Jan G

    2002-01-01

    Serum samples from 381 black bears (Ursus americanus) killed in Pennsylvania (USA) on 24 November 1997 were analyzed for antibodies reactive to the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE; Ehrlichia sp.) by indirect immunofluorescence assay. Antibody reactivity to HGE antigen was detected in 21% (81/381) of the samples collected. Reactive samples were reported from 56% (14/25) of the counties where bear samples were collected. Endpoint antibody titer ranged from 1:8 to 1:16, 192, with a geometric mean titer of 1:582. There was no significant difference in antibody prevalence between male and female bears (P bears were significantly more likely to have reactive antibodies than juvenile bears (P bear blood clots (n = 181) through nested polymerase chain reaction assays were unsuccessful. Further studies are needed for identification of the pathogen-responsible for induction of HGE-reactive. This is the first description of antibodies reactive to the HGE agent in black bears and suggests these mammals are infected with the agent of HGE or an antigenically related ehrlichial species.

  3. 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.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tøien Øivind

    2010-03-01

    Full Text Available Abstract 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Polar bear hepatic cytochrome P450: Immunochemical quantitation, EROD/PROD activity and organochlorines

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Letcher, R.J.; Norstrom, R.J. [Carleton Univ., Ottawa, Ontario (Canada). Centre for Analytical and Environmental Chemistry]|[Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (Canada). Canadian Wildlife Service

    1994-12-31

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are an ubiquitous mammal atop the arctic marine food chain and bioaccumulate lipophilic environmental contaminants. Antibodies prepared against purified rat liver cytochrome P450-1 Al, -1 A2, -2Bl and -3Al enzymes have been found to cross-react with structurally-related orthologues present in the hepatic microsomes of wild polar bears, immunochemically determined levels of P450-1 A and -2B proteins in polar bear liver relative to liver of untreated rats suggested enzyme induction, probably as a result of exposure to xenobiotic contaminants. Optical density quantitation of the most immunochemically responsive isozymes P450-I Al, -IA2 and -2Bi to polygonal rabbit anti-rat P450-IA/IA2 sera and -2BI antibodies in hepatic microsomes of 13 adult male polar bars from the Resolute Bay area of the Canadian Arctic is presented. Correlations with EROD and PROD catalytic activities and levels of organochlorines, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethene (p,p-DDE) and their methyl sulfone (MeSO2-) metabolites are made to determine if compound-specific enzyme induction linkages exist. Inter-species immunochemical quantitation of isozymic P450 cytochromes can serve as an indicator of exposure to biologically active contaminant.

  9. 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.

  10. Polar bears from space: assessing satellite imagery as a tool to track Arctic wildlife.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seth Stapleton

    Full Text Available Development of efficient techniques for monitoring wildlife is a priority in the Arctic, where the impacts of climate change are acute and remoteness and logistical constraints hinder access. We evaluated high resolution satellite imagery as a tool to track the distribution and abundance of polar bears. We examined satellite images of a small island in Foxe Basin, Canada, occupied by a high density of bears during the summer ice-free season. Bears were distinguished from other light-colored spots by comparing images collected on different dates. A sample of ground-truthed points demonstrated that we accurately classified bears. Independent observers reviewed images and a population estimate was obtained using mark-recapture models. This estimate (N: 94; 95% Confidence Interval: 92-105 was remarkably similar to an abundance estimate derived from a line transect aerial survey conducted a few days earlier (N: 102; 95% CI: 69-152. Our findings suggest that satellite imagery is a promising tool for monitoring polar bears on land, with implications for use with other Arctic wildlife. Large scale applications may require development of automated detection processes to expedite review and analysis. Future research should assess the utility of multi-spectral imagery and examine sites with different environmental characteristics.

  11. Polar bears from space: assessing satellite imagery as a tool to track Arctic wildlife.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stapleton, Seth; LaRue, Michelle; Lecomte, Nicolas; Atkinson, Stephen; Garshelis, David; Porter, Claire; Atwood, Todd

    2014-01-01

    Development of efficient techniques for monitoring wildlife is a priority in the Arctic, where the impacts of climate change are acute and remoteness and logistical constraints hinder access. We evaluated high resolution satellite imagery as a tool to track the distribution and abundance of polar bears. We examined satellite images of a small island in Foxe Basin, Canada, occupied by a high density of bears during the summer ice-free season. Bears were distinguished from other light-colored spots by comparing images collected on different dates. A sample of ground-truthed points demonstrated that we accurately classified bears. Independent observers reviewed images and a population estimate was obtained using mark-recapture models. This estimate (N: 94; 95% Confidence Interval: 92-105) was remarkably similar to an abundance estimate derived from a line transect aerial survey conducted a few days earlier (N: 102; 95% CI: 69-152). Our findings suggest that satellite imagery is a promising tool for monitoring polar bears on land, with implications for use with other Arctic wildlife. Large scale applications may require development of automated detection processes to expedite review and analysis. Future research should assess the utility of multi-spectral imagery and examine sites with different environmental characteristics.

  12. 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.

  13. 77 FR 66975 - Black Bear SO, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-11-08

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER13-203-000] Black Bear SO, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Black Bear SO...

  14. 78 FR 50410 - Black Bear Development Holdings, LLC; Supplemental Notice that Initial Market-Based Rate Filing...

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-08-19

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER13-2143-000] Black Bear Development Holdings, LLC; Supplemental Notice that Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for... Black Bear Development Holdings, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    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's listing-decision process, the US Geological Survey (USGS) produced a series of nine research reports evaluating the present and future status of polar bears throughout their range. In response, Armstrong et al. [Armstrong, J. S., K. C. Green, W. Soon. 2008. Polar bear population forecasts: A public-policy forecasting audit. Interfaces 38(5) 382–405], which we will refer to as AGS, performed an audit of two of these nine reports. AGS claimed that the general circulation models upon which the USGS reports relied were not valid forecasting tools, that USGS researchers were not objective or lacked independence from policy decisions, that they did not utilize all available information in constructing their forecasts, and that they violated numerous principles of forecasting espoused by AGS. AGS (p. 382) concluded that the two USGS reports were "unscientific and inconsequential to decision makers." We evaluate the AGS audit and show how AGS are mistaken or misleading on every claim. We provide evidence that general circulation models are useful in forecasting future climate conditions and that corporate and government leaders are relying on these models to do so. We clarify the strict independence of the USGS from the listing decision. We show that the allegations of failure to follow the principles of forecasting espoused by AGS are either incorrect or are based on misconceptions about the Arctic environment, polar bear biology, or statistical and mathematical methods. We conclude by showing that the AGS principles of forecasting are too ambiguous and subjective to be used as a reliable basis for auditing scientific

  16. 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...

  17. Detecting genotyping errors and describing black bear movement in northern Idaho

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael K. Schwartz; Samuel A. Cushman; Kevin S. McKelvey; Jim Hayden; Cory Engkjer

    2006-01-01

    Non-invasive genetic sampling has become a favored tool to enumerate wildlife. Genetic errors, caused by poor quality samples, can lead to substantial biases in numerical estimates of individuals. We demonstrate how the computer program DROPOUT can detect amplification errors (false alleles and allelic dropout) in a black bear (Ursus americanus) dataset collected in...

  18. Landscape evaluation of female black bear habitat effectiveness and capability in the North Cascades, Washington.

    Science.gov (United States)

    William L. Gaines; Andrea L. Lyons; John F. Lehmkuhl; Kenneth J. Raedeke

    2005-01-01

    We used logistic regression to derive scaled resource selection functions (RSFs) for female black bears at two study areas in the North Cascades Mountains. We tested the hypothesis that the influence of roads would result in potential habitat effectiveness (RSFs without the influence of roads) being greater than realized habitat effectiveness (RSFs with roads). Roads...

  19. Black bear population and connectivity in the Sky Islands of Mexico and the United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    N. E. Lara-Diaz; C. A. Lopez-Gonzalez; H. Coronel-Arellano; A. Gonzalez-Bernal

    2013-01-01

    The Sky Island region is a mountainous region surrounded by grasslands, deserts and intermountain valleys, located between Mexico and the United States. However, different land management and human impact can have an effect on its wildlife populations. Currently, the border wall poses an immediate threat to the survival of black bears (Ursus americanus), considered an...

  20. Why replication is important in landscape genetics: American black bear in the Rocky Mountains

    Science.gov (United States)

    R. A. Short Bull; Samuel Cushman; R. Mace; T. Chilton; K. C. Kendall; E. L. Landguth; Michael Schwartz; Kevin McKelvey; Fred W. Allendorf; G. Luikart

    2011-01-01

    We investigated how landscape features influence gene flow of black bears by testing the relative support for 36 alternative landscape resistance hypotheses, including isolation by distance (IBD) in each of 12 study areas in the north central U.S. Rocky Mountains. The study areas all contained the same basic elements, but differed in extent of forest fragmentation,...

  1. 77 FR 41978 - Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC, Maine; Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-07-17

    ... DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project Nos. 2712-074; 2710-057] Black Bear Hydro Partners, LLC, Maine; Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's...

  2. 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, S E; Boltunov, A N; Derocher, A E; Garner, G W; Wiig, Ø; Skaare, J U

    2003-05-01

    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, alpha-HCH, beta-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 alpha- and beta-HCH. The lowest alpha-HCH concentration was found in bears from Kara Sea. In all the bears, summation operator HCHs was dominated by beta-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.

  3. 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.

  4. Changes during hibernation in different phospholipid and free and esterified cholesterol serum levels in black bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chauhan, Ved; Sheikh, Ashfaq; Chauhan, Abha; Tsiouris, John; Malik, Mazhar; Vaughan, Michael

    2002-10-01

    During hibernation, fat is known to be the preferred source of energy. A detailed analysis of different phospholipids, as well as free and esterified cholesterol, was conducted to investigate lipid abnormalities during hibernation. The levels of total phospholipids and total cholesterol in the serum of black bears were found to increase significantly in hibernation as compared with the active state. Both free and esterified cholesterol were increased in the hibernating state in comparison with the active state (P hibernation was more in free cholesterol (57%) than in esterified cholesterol (27%). Analysis of subclasses of serum phospholipids showed that choline containing phospholipids, i.e., sphingomyelin (SPG) (14%) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) (76%), are the major phospholipids in the serum of bear. The minor phospholipids included 8% of phosphatidylserine (PS) + phosphatidylinositol (PI), while phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) was only 2% of the total phospholipids. A comparison of phospholipid subclasses showed that PC, PS + PI and SPG were significantly increased, while PE was significantly decreased (P hibernating state as compared with the active state in black bears. These results suggest that the catabolism of phospholipids and cholesterol is decreased during hibernation in black bears, leading to their increased levels in the hibernating state as compared with the active state. In summary, our results indicate that serum cholesterol and phospholipid fractions (except PE) are increased during hibernation in bears. It is proposed that the increase of these lipids may be due to the altered metabolism of lipoproteins that are responsible for the clearance of the lipids.

  5. Black carbon aerosols and the third polar ice cap

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Menon, Surabi; Koch, Dorothy; Beig, Gufran; Sahu, Saroj; Fasullo, John; Orlikowski, Daniel

    2010-04-15

    Recent thinning of glaciers over the Himalayas (sometimes referred to as the third polar region) have raised concern on future water supplies since these glaciers supply water to large river systems that support millions of people inhabiting the surrounding areas. Black carbon (BC) aerosols, released from incomplete combustion, have been increasingly implicated as causing large changes in the hydrology and radiative forcing over Asia and its deposition on snow is thought to increase snow melt. In India BC emissions from biofuel combustion is highly prevalent and compared to other regions, BC aerosol amounts are high. Here, we quantify the impact of BC aerosols on snow cover and precipitation from 1990 to 2010 over the Indian subcontinental region using two different BC emission inventories. New estimates indicate that Indian BC emissions from coal and biofuel are large and transport is expected to expand rapidly in coming years. We show that over the Himalayas, from 1990 to 2000, simulated snow/ice cover decreases by {approx}0.9% due to aerosols. The contribution of the enhanced Indian BC to this decline is {approx}36%, similar to that simulated for 2000 to 2010. Spatial patterns of modeled changes in snow cover and precipitation are similar to observations (from 1990 to 2000), and are mainly obtained with the newer BC estimates.

  6. Lactation during hibernation in wild black bears: effects on plasma amino acids and nitrogen metabolites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, P A; Obbard, M E; Battersby, B J; Felskie, A K; LeBlanc, P J; Ballantyne, J S

    1999-01-01

    This study examined the seasonal and reproductive influences on individual plasma amino acid concentrations and nitrogen metabolites in a black bear population (Ontario, Canada). During hibernation, 11 of 23 plasma amino acids were significantly higher (13%-108%) in lactating than in nonlactating females, without an alteration in plasma total protein or total essential or nonessential amino acid levels. The greatest changes were observed in glutamine, arginine, and glycine levels. Plasma urea, urea/creatinine, and ammonia levels were significantly lower in hibernating compared with active female bears, but lactation had no effect on these parameters. Taken together these results show that lactation during hibernation is an additional metabolic challenge that results in increased mobilization of individual plasma amino acids and no accumulation of nitrogen end products, underlining the remarkable efficiency of amino acid and urea recycling in denning female black bears.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    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...

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Space and habitat use by black bears in the Elwha valley prior to dam removal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sager-Fradkin, K.A.; Jenkins, K.J.; Happe, P.J.; Beecham, J.J.; Wright, R.G.; Hoffman, R.A.

    2008-01-01

    Dam removal and subsequent restoration of salmon to the Elwha River is expected to cause a shift in nutrient dynamics within the watershed. To document how this influx of nutrients and energy may affect black bear (Ursus americanus) ecology, we used radio-telemetry to record movements of 11 male and two female black bears in the Elwha Valley from 2002-06. Our objective was to collect baseline data on bear movements prior to dam removal. We calculated annual home ranges, described seasonal timing of den entry and emergence, and described seasonal patterns of distribution and habitat use. Adaptive kernel home ranges were larger formales (mean = 151.1 km2, SE = 21.4) than females (mean = 38.8 km2, SE = 13.0). Males ranged widely and frequently left the watershed during late summer. Further, they exhibited predictable and synchronous patterns of elevation change throughout each year. Bears entered their winter dens between 8 October and 15 December and emerged from dens between 10 March and 9 May. Male bears used low-elevation conifer and hardwood forests along the Elwha floodplain during spring, mid- to high-elevation forests and meadows during early summer, high-elevation forests, meadows and shrubs during late summer, and mid-elevation forests, shrubs and meadows during fall. Data acquired during this study provide important baseline information for comparison after dam removal, when bears may alter their late summer and fall movement and denning patterns to take advantage of energy-rich spawning salmon.

  15. Polar bear population status in the northern Beaufort Sea, Canada, 1971-2006

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stirling, I.; McDonald, T.L.; Richardson, E.S.; Regehr, E.V.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the northern Beaufort Sea (NB) population occur on the perimeter of the polar basin adjacent to the northwestern islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Sea ice converges on the islands through most of the year. We used open-population capture–recapture models to estimate population size and vital rates of polar bears between 1971 and 2006 to: (1) assess relationships between survival, sex and age, and time period; (2) evaluate the long-term importance of sea ice quality and availability in relation to climate warming; and (3) note future management and conservation concerns. The highest-ranking models suggested that survival of polar bears varied by age class and with changes in the sea ice habitat. Model-averaged estimates of survival (which include harvest mortality) for senescent adults ranged from 0.37 to 0.62, from 0.22 to 0.68 for cubs of the year (COY) and yearlings, and from 0.77 to 0.92 for 2–4 year-olds and adults. Horvtiz-Thompson (HT) estimates of population size were not significantly different among the decades of our study. The population size estimated for the 2000s was 980 ± 155 (mean and 95% CI). These estimates apply primarily to that segment of the NB population residing west and south of Banks Island. The NB polar bear population appears to have been stable or possibly increasing slightly during the period of our study. This suggests that ice conditions have remained suitable and similar for feeding in summer and fall during most years and that the traditional and legal Inuvialuit harvest has not exceeded sustainable levels. However, the amount of ice remaining in the study area at the end of summer, and the proportion that continues to lie over the biologically productive continental shelf (Sea will eventually decline. Management and conservation practices for polar bears in relation to both aboriginal harvesting and offshore industrial activity will need to adapt.

  16. Tracheitis associated with Bordetella bronchiseptica in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lacasse, Claude; Gamble, Kathryn C

    2006-06-01

    A male polar bear (Ursus maritimus) was diagnosed with tracheitis associated with Bordetella bronchiseptica that was cultured from an endotracheal sample of thick mucopurulent exudate. The condition responded to oral amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, and clinical signs of inappetence, depression, dysphagia, and tussis were resolved. One week after this presentation, a female conspecific presented with similar clinical signs, suggesting a transmissible nature of the disease or the same source of infection. The source of infection remains unknown.

  17. Brucella species survey in polar bears (ursus maritimus) of northern Alaska.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Hara, Todd M; Holcomb, Darce; Elzer, Philip; Estepp, Jessica; Perry, Quinesha; Hagius, Sue; Kirk, Cassandra

    2010-07-01

    We report on the presence of specific antibodies to Brucella spp. and Yersinia enterocolitica in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from northern Alaska (southern Beaufort Sea) during 2003-2006. Based on numerous known stressors (e.g., climate change and loss of sea ice habitat, contaminants), there is increased concern regarding the status of polar bears. Considering these changes, it is important to assess exposure to potentially pathogenic organisms and to improve understanding of transmission pathways. Brucella or specific antibodies to Brucella spp. has been reported in marine mammals. Various assays were used to elucidate the pathway or source of exposure (e.g., "marine" vs. "terrestrial" Brucella spp.) of northern Alaska polar bears to Brucella spp. The standard plate test (SPT) and the buffered Brucella antigen card test (BBA) were used for initial screening for antibodies specific to Brucella. We then evaluated positive reactors (presence of serum antibody specific for Brucella spp.) using immunoblots and competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA; based on pinniped-derived Brucella spp. antigen). Annual prevalence of antibody (BBA and SPT) for Brucella spp. ranged from 6.8% to 18.5% over 2003-2006, with an overall prevalence of 10.2%. Prevalence of Brucella spp. antibody did vary by age class. Western blot analyses indicated 17 samples were positive for Brucella spp. antibody; of these, 13 were negative by marine (pinniped) derived Brucella antigen cELISA and four were positive by marine cELISA. Of the four samples positive for Brucella antibody by marine cELISA, three cross-reacted with Y. enterocolitica and Brucella spp. (one sample was Brucella negative and Y. enterocolitica positive). It appears the polar bear antibody does not react with the antigens used on the marine cELISA assay, potentially indicating a terrestrial (nonpinniped) source of Brucella spp.

  18. Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy

    OpenAIRE

    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.

    2017-01-01

    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 d...

  19. Demographic and traditional knowledge perspectives on the current status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    York, Jordan; Dowsley, Martha; Cornwell, Adam; Kuc, Miroslaw; Taylor, Mitchell

    2016-05-01

    Subpopulation growth rates and the probability of decline at current harvest levels were determined for 13 subpopulations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that are within or shared with Canada based on mark-recapture estimates of population numbers and vital rates, and harvest statistics using population viability analyses (PVA). Aboriginal traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) on subpopulation trend agreed with the seven stable/increasing results and one of the declining results, but disagreed with PVA status of five other declining subpopulations. The decline in the Baffin Bay subpopulation appeared to be due to over-reporting of harvested numbers from outside Canada. The remaining four disputed subpopulations (Southern Beaufort Sea, Northern Beaufort Sea, Southern Hudson Bay, and Western Hudson Bay) were all incompletely mark-recapture (M-R) sampled, which may have biased their survival and subpopulation estimates. Three of the four incompletely sampled subpopulations were PVA identified as nonviable (i.e., declining even with zero harvest mortality). TEK disagreement was nonrandom with respect to M-R sampling protocols. Cluster analysis also grouped subpopulations with ambiguous demographic and harvest rate estimates separately from those with apparently reliable demographic estimates based on PVA probability of decline and unharvested subpopulation growth rate criteria. We suggest that the correspondence between TEK and scientific results can be used to improve the reliability of information on natural systems and thus improve resource management. Considering both TEK and scientific information, we suggest that the current status of Canadian polar bear subpopulations in 2013 was 12 stable/increasing and one declining (Kane Basin). We do not find support for the perspective that polar bears within or shared with Canada are currently in any sort of climate crisis. We suggest that monitoring the impacts of climate change (including sea ice decline) on polar bear

  20. 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

  1. Effects of a flooding event on a threatened black bear population in Louisiana

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Connell-Goode, Kaitlin C.; Lowe, Carrie L.; Clark, Joseph D.

    2014-01-01

    The Louisiana black bear, Ursus americanus luteolus, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act as a result of habitat loss and human-related mortality. Information on population-level responses of large mammals to flooding events is scarce, and we had a unique opportunity to evaluate the viability of the Upper Atchafalaya River Basin (UARB) black bear population before and after a significant flooding event. We began collecting black bear hair samples in 2007 for a DNA mark-recapture study to estimate abundance (N) and apparent survival (φ). In 2011, the Morganza Spillway was opened to divert floodwaters from the Mississippi River through the UARB, inundating > 50% of our study area, potentially impacting recovery of this important bear population. To evaluate the effects of this flooding event on bear population dynamics, we used a robust design multistate model to estimate changes in transition rates from the flooded area to non-flooded area (ψF→NF) before (2007–2010), during (2010–2011) and after (2011–2012) the flood. Average N across all years of study was 63.2 (SE = 5.2), excluding the year of the flooding event. Estimates of ψF→NF increased from 0.014 (SE = 0.010; meaning that 1.4% of the bears moved from the flooded area to non-flooded areas) before flooding to 0.113 (SE = 0.045) during the flood year, and then decreased to 0.028 (SE= 0.035) after the flood. Although we demonstrated a flood effect on transition rates as hypothesized, the effect was small (88.7% of the bears remained in the flooded area during flooding) and φ was unchanged, suggesting that the 2011 flooding event had minimal impact on survival and site fidelity.

  2. Assessing polar bear (Ursus maritimus) population structure in the Hudson Bay region using SNPs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Viengkone, Michelle; Derocher, Andrew Edward; Richardson, Evan Shaun; Malenfant, René Michael; Miller, Joshua Moses; Obbard, Martyn E; Dyck, Markus G; Lunn, Nick J; Sahanatien, Vicki; Davis, Corey S

    2016-12-01

    Defining subpopulations using genetics has traditionally used data from microsatellite markers to investigate population structure; however, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have emerged as a tool for detection of fine-scale structure. In Hudson Bay, Canada, three polar bear ( Ursus maritimus ) subpopulations (Foxe Basin (FB), Southern Hudson Bay (SH), and Western Hudson Bay (WH)) have been delineated based on mark-recapture studies, radiotelemetry and satellite telemetry, return of marked animals in the subsistence harvest, and population genetics using microsatellites. We used SNPs to detect fine-scale population structure in polar bears from the Hudson Bay region and compared our results to the current designations using 414 individuals genotyped at 2,603 SNPs. Analyses based on discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC) and STRUCTURE support the presence of four genetic clusters: (i) Western-including individuals sampled in WH, SH (excluding Akimiski Island in James Bay), and southern FB (south of Southampton Island); (ii) Northern-individuals sampled in northern FB (Baffin Island) and Davis Strait (DS) (Labrador coast); (iii) Southeast-individuals from SH (Akimiski Island in James Bay); and (iv) Northeast-individuals from DS (Baffin Island). Population structure differed from microsatellite studies and current management designations demonstrating the value of using SNPs for fine-scale population delineation in polar bears.

  3. Do organohalogen contaminants contribute to histopathology in liver from East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus)?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Leifsson, Pall S; Born, Erik W; Letcher, Robert J; Kirkegaard, Maja; Muir, Derek C G; Riget, Frank F; Hyldstrup, Lars

    2005-11-01

    In East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus), anthropogenic organohalogen compounds (OHCs) (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers) contributed to renal lesions and are believed to reduce bone mineral density. Because OHCs are also hepatotoxic, we investigated liver histology of 32 subadult, 24 adult female, and 23 adult male East Greenland polar bears sampled during 1999-2002. Light microscopic changes consisted of nuclear displacement from the normal central cytoplasmic location in parenchymal cells, mononuclear cell infiltrations (mainly portally and as lipid granulomas), mild bile duct proliferation accompanied by fibrosis, and fat accumulation in hepatocytes and pluripotent Ito cells. Lipid accumulation in Ito cells and bile duct hyperplasia accompanied by portal fibrosis were correlated to age, whereas no changes were associated with either sex or season (summer vs. winter). For adult females, hepatocytic intracellular fat increased significantly with concentrations of the sum of hexachlorocyclohexanes, as was the case for lipid granulomas and hexachlorobenzene in adult males. Based on these relationships and the nature of the chronic inflammation, we suggest that these findings were caused by aging and long-term exposure to OHCs. Therefore, these changes may be used as biomarkers for OHC exposure in wildlife and humans. To our knowledge, this is the first time liver histology has been evaluated in relation to OHC concentrations in a mammalian wildlife species, and the information is important to future polar bear conservation strategies and health assessments of humans relying on OHC-contaminated food resources.

  4. 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.

  5. Using simulation to evaluate wildlife survey designs: polar bears and seals in the Chukchi Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conn, Paul B; Moreland, Erin E; Regehr, Eric V; Richmond, Erin L; Cameron, Michael F; Boveng, Peter L

    2016-01-01

    Logistically demanding and expensive wildlife surveys should ideally yield defensible estimates. Here, we show how simulation can be used to evaluate alternative survey designs for estimating wildlife abundance. Specifically, we evaluate the potential of instrument-based aerial surveys (combining infrared imagery with high-resolution digital photography to detect and identify species) for estimating abundance of polar bears and seals in the Chukchi Sea. We investigate the consequences of different levels of survey effort, flight track allocation and model configuration on bias and precision of abundance estimators. For bearded seals (0.07 animals km(-2)) and ringed seals (1.29 animals km(-2)), we find that eight flights traversing ≈7840 km are sufficient to achieve target precision levels (coefficient of variation (CV)polar bears (provisionally, 0.003 animals km(-2)), 12 flights traversing ≈11 760 km resulted in CVs ranging from 28 to 35%. Estimators were relatively unbiased with similar precision over different flight track allocation strategies and estimation models, although some combinations had superior performance. These findings suggest that instrument-based aerial surveys may provide a viable means for monitoring seal and polar bear populations on the surface of the sea ice over large Arctic regions. More broadly, our simulation-based approach to evaluating survey designs can serve as a template for biologists designing their own surveys.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Costs of locomotion in polar bears: when do the costs outweigh the benefits of chasing down terrestrial prey?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gormezano, Linda J; McWilliams, Scott R; Iles, David T; Rockwell, Robert F

    2016-01-01

    Trade-offs between locomotory costs and foraging gains are key elements in determining constraints on predator-prey interactions. One intriguing example involves polar bears pursuing snow geese on land. As climate change forces polar bears to spend more time ashore, they may need to expend more energy to obtain land-based food. Given that polar bears are inefficient at terrestrial locomotion, any extra energy expended to pursue prey could negatively impact survival. However, polar bears have been regularly observed engaging in long pursuits of geese and other land animals, and the energetic worth of such behaviour has been repeatedly questioned. We use data-driven energetic models to examine how energy expenditures vary across polar bear mass and speed. For the first time, we show that polar bears in the 125-235 kg size range can profitably pursue geese, especially at slower speeds. We caution, however, that heat build-up may be the ultimate limiting factor in terrestrial chases, especially for larger bears, and this limit would be reached more quickly with warmer environmental temperatures.

  9. Factors affecting settling, survival, and viability of black bears reintroduced to Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wear, B.J.; Eastridge, R.; Clark, J.D.

    2005-01-01

    We used radiotelemetry and population modeling techniques to examine factors related to population establishment of black bears (Ursus americanus) reintroduced to Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Arkansas. Our objectives were to determine whether settling (i.e., establishment of a home range at or near the release site), survival, recruitment, and population viability were related to age class of reintroduced bears, presence of cubs, time since release, or number of translocated animals. We removed 23 adult female black bears with 56 cubs from their winter dens at White River NWR and transported them 160 km to man-made den structures at Felsenthal NWR during spring 2000–2002. Total movement and average circuity of adult females decreased from 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year post-emergence (F2,14 =19.7, P bears was 0.624 (SE = 0.110, SEinterannual = 0.144), and the survival rate of their cubs was 0.750 (SE = 0.088, SEinterannual = 0.109). The homing rate (i.e., the proportion of bears that returned to White River NWR) was 13%. Annual survival for female bears that remained at the release site and survived >1-year post-release increased to 0.909 (SE = 0.097, SEinterannual=0.067; Z=3.5, P bear population at Felsenthal NWR is at or above the number after which extinction risk declines dramatically, although additional releases of bears could significantly decrease time to population reestablishment. Poaching accounted for at least 3 of the 8 adult mortalities that we documented; illegal kills could be a significant impediment to population re-establishment at Felsenthal NWR should poaching rates escalate.

  10. Dietary composition and spatial patterns of polar bear foraging on land in western Hudson Bay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gormezano, Linda J; Rockwell, Robert F

    2013-12-21

    Flexible foraging strategies, such as prey switching, omnivory and food mixing, are key to surviving in a labile and changing environment. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in western Hudson Bay are versatile predators that use all of these strategies as they seasonally exploit resources across trophic levels. Climate warming is reducing availability of their ice habitat, especially in spring when polar bears gain most of their annual fat reserves by consuming seal pups before coming ashore in summer. How polar bears combine these flexible foraging strategies to obtain and utilize terrestrial food will become increasingly important in compensating for energy deficits from lost seal hunting opportunities. We evaluated patterns in the composition of foods in scat to characterize the foraging behaviors that underpin the diet mixing and omnivory observed in polar bears on land in western Hudson Bay. Specifically, we measured diet richness, proportions of plant and animal foods, patterns in co-occurrence of foods, spatial composition and an index of temporal composition. Scats contained between 1 and 6 foods, with an average of 2.11 (SE = 0.04). Most scats (84.9%) contained at least one type of plant, but animals (35.4% of scats) and both plants and animals occurring together (34.4% of scats) were also common. Certain foods, such as Lyme grass seed heads (Leymus arenarius), berries and marine algae, were consumed in relatively higher proportions, sometimes to the exclusion of others, both where and when they occurred most abundantly. The predominance of localized vegetation in scats suggests little movement among habitat types between feeding sessions. Unlike the case for plants, no spatial patterns were found for animal remains, likely due the animals' more vagile and ubiquitous distribution. Our results suggest that polar bears are foraging opportunistically in a manner consistent with maximizing intake while minimizing energy expenditure associated with movement. The

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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 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....... 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 (LOD

  14. Possible effects of climate warming on selected populations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Canadian Arctic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stirling, I. [Canadian Wildlife Service, Edmonton, AB (Canada); Parkinson, C.L. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD (United States). Cryospheric Sciences Branch

    2006-09-15

    Climate warming in the Arctic has caused declines in the total cover and thickness of sea ice. Intuit hunters in the areas of some polar bear populations in the eastern Canadian Arctic have noted that more bears have approached human settlements during open-water periods in recent years. The observations have been interpreted as evidence of increasing polar bear population size, and have resulted in increases in hunting quotas. However, research on 2 polar bear populations in Western Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay suggest that their numbers are declining. This paper evaluated patterns of sea-ice breakup and freeze-up in 5 regions to test the hypothesis that sightings of more polar bears are due in part to changes in sea ice. The regions were based on the accepted boundaries of the polar bear management zones used by government agencies in Canada and Greenland. Areas included Foxe Basin; Baffin Bay; Davis Strait; Hudson Strait; and Eastern Hudson Bay. Analysis of passive-microwave satellite imagery beginning in the 1970s has indicated that sea ice is breaking up at progressively earlier dates, so that bears must fast for longer periods during the open-water periods. This paper suggested that polar bears are being observed close to human settlements as they are searching for alternative food sources in years when their stored body fat is depleted before freeze-up, when they can return to the sea ice to hunt for seals. It was suggested that if the climate continues to warm as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, polar bears in all 5 populations discussed in the paper will become increasingly food-stressed, and that their numbers are likely to decline. It was suggested that problem interactions between bears and humans will also increase as the bears seek alternative food sources. It was concluded that a precautionary approach should be taken to the harvesting of polar bears. The potential effects of climate warming should be incorporated into

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. Increasing nest predation will be insufficient to maintain polar bear body condition in the face of sea ice loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dey, Cody J; Richardson, Evan; McGeachy, David; Iverson, Samuel A; Gilchrist, Hugh G; Semeniuk, Christina A D

    2017-05-01

    Climate change can influence interspecific interactions by differentially affecting species-specific phenology. In seasonal ice environments, there is evidence that polar bear predation of Arctic bird eggs is increasing because of earlier sea ice breakup, which forces polar bears into nearshore terrestrial environments where Arctic birds are nesting. Because polar bears can consume a large number of nests before becoming satiated, and because they can swim between island colonies, they could have dramatic influences on seabird and sea duck reproductive success. However, it is unclear whether nest foraging can provide an energetic benefit to polar bear populations, especially given the capacity of bird populations to redistribute in response to increasing predation pressure. In this study, we develop a spatially explicit agent-based model of the predator-prey relationship between polar bears and common eiders, a common and culturally important bird species for northern peoples. Our model is composed of two types of agents (polar bear agents and common eider hen agents) whose movements and decision heuristics are based on species-specific bioenergetic and behavioral ecological principles, and are influenced by historical and extrapolated sea ice conditions. Our model reproduces empirical findings that polar bear predation of bird nests is increasing and predicts an accelerating relationship between advancing ice breakup dates and the number of nests depredated. Despite increases in nest predation, our model predicts that polar bear body condition during the ice-free period will continue to decline. Finally, our model predicts that common eider nests will become more dispersed and will move closer to the mainland in response to increasing predation, possibly increasing their exposure to land-based predators and influencing the livelihood of local people that collect eider eggs and down. These results show that predator-prey interactions can have nonlinear responses to

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. GM1-gangliosidosis in American black bears: clinical, pathological, biochemical and molecular genetic characterization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muthupalani, Sureshkumar; Torres, Paola A; Wang, Betty C; Zeng, Bai Jin; Eaton, Samuel; Erdelyi, Ildiko; Ducore, Rebecca; Maganti, Rajanikarath; Keating, John; Perry, Bain J; Tseng, Florina S; Waliszewski, Nicole; Pokras, Mark; Causey, Robert; Seger, Rita; March, Philip; Tidwell, Amy; Pfannl, Rolf; Seyfried, Thomas; Kolodny, Edwin H; Alroy, Joseph

    2014-04-01

    G(M1)-gangliosidosis is a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder due to an autosomal recessively inherited deficiency of lysosomal β-galactosidase. We have identified seven American black bears (Ursus americanus) found in the Northeast United States suffering from G(M1)-gangliosidosis. This report describes the clinical features, brain MRI, and morphologic, biochemical and molecular genetic findings in the affected bears. Brain lipids were compared with those in the brain of a G(M1)-mouse. The bears presented at ages 10-14 months in poor clinical condition, lethargic, tremulous and ataxic. They continued to decline and were humanely euthanized. The T(2)-weighted MR images of the brain of one bear disclosed white matter hyperintensity. Morphological studies of the brain from five of the bears revealed enlarged neurons with foamy cytoplasm containing granules. Axonal spheroids were present in white matter. Electron microscopic examination revealed lamellated membrane structures within neurons. Cytoplasmic vacuoles were found in the liver, kidneys and chondrocytes and foamy macrophages within the lungs. Acid β-galactosidase activity in cultured skin fibroblasts was only 1-2% of control values. In the brain, ganglioside-bound sialic acid was increased more than 2-fold with G(M1)-ganglioside predominating. G(A1) content was also increased whereas cerebrosides and sulfatides were markedly decreased. The distribution of gangliosides was similar to that in the G(M1)-mouse brain, but the loss of myelin lipids was greater in the brain of the affected bear than in the brain of the G(M1) mouse. Isolated full-length cDNA of the black bear GLB1 gene revealed 86% homology to its human counterpart in nucleotide sequence and 82% in amino acid sequence. GLB1 cDNA from liver tissue of an affected bear contained a homozygous recessive T(1042) to C transition inducing a Tyr348 to His mutation (Y348H) within a highly conserved region of the GLB1 gene. The coincidence of several

  3. Three decades (1983-2010) of contaminant trends in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Part 1

    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...... bears (i.e. females...

  4. 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.

  5. Organochlorine contaminants in arctic marine food chains: identification, geographical distribution, and temporal trends in polar bears

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Norstrom, R.J.; Simon, M.; Muir, D.C.G.; Schweinsburg, R.E.

    1988-09-01

    Contamination of Canadian arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems by organochlorine (OC) compounds was measured by analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues collected from 12 zones between 1982 and 1984. PCB congeners (S-PCB), chlordanes, DDT and metabolites, chlorobenzenes (S-CBz), hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (S-HC-H), and dieldrin were identified by high-resolution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Nonachlor-III, a nonachlor isomer in technical chlordane, was positively identified for the first time as an environmental contaminant. S-PCB and S-CHLOR accounted for >80% of the total organochlorines in adipose tissue. Six PCB congeners constituted approximately 93% of S-PCB in polar bears. Levels of most OCs were lowest in the high Arctic, intermediate in Baffin Bay, and highest in Hudson Bay. Levels of ..cap alpha..-HCH were evaluated in zones influenced by surface runoff. Levels of S-CHLOR were four times higher and levels of the other OCs were two times higher in adipose tissue of bears from Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay in 1984 than in adipose tissue archived since 1969 from these areas; levels of S-DDT did not change.

  6. Morphology of the lingual papillae of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emura, Shoichi; Sugiyama, Kazue; Kusuda, Satoshi

    2017-01-01

    We examined the dorsal lingual surfaces of a newborn and an old polar bears by using scanning electron microscopy. In the newborn polar bear, the filiform papilla on the lingual apex was cylindrical in shape. The connective tissue core of the filiform papillae was needle-shaped and that of the fungiform papillae was funnel-shaped. The filiform papillae on the lingual body was dome-shaped. The connective tissue core of the filiform papillae was U-shaped and that of the fungiform papillae was column-shaped. On the lingual apex and body, there could not distinguish the filiform from fungiform papillae. The connective tissue core of the filiform papilla was different from the fungiform papilla. The vallate papillae were surrounded by a groove and pad and the surface was smooth. In the old bear, the filiform papilla on the lingual apex had several pointed processes. The processes of the filiform papilla on the lingual body were larger than those of the lingual apex. The vallate papillae were surrounded by a groove and pad and the surface was rough. There are no foliate papillae.

  7. Arctic Forecasts Available from Polar Bear Exhibit as an Example of Formal/Informal Collaboration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, C. E.; Cervenec, J.

    2012-12-01

    A subset of the general population enjoys and frequents informal education venues, offering an opportunity for lifelong learning that also enhances and supports formal education efforts. The Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC) at The Ohio State University collaborated with the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium (CZA) in the development of their Polar Frontier exhibit, from its initial planning to the Grand Opening of the exhibit, through the present. Of course, the addition to the Zoo of polar bears and Arctic fox in the Polar Frontier has been very popular, with almost a 7% increase in visitors in 2010 when the exhibit opened. The CZA and BPRC are now investigating ways to increase the climate literacy impact of the exhibit, and to increase engagement with the topics through follow-on activities. For example, individuals or classes anywhere in the world can check forecasts from the Polar Weather and Research Forecasting model and compare them to observed conditions-- allowing deep investigation into changes in the Arctic. In addition, opportunities exist to adapt the Zoo School experience (affecting several Central Ohio school districts) and/or to enable regular participation through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of digital communication. BPRC's sustained engagement with the CZA is an example of a trusted and meaningful partnership where open dialogue exists about providing the best learning experience for visitors. This presentation will share some of the lessons learned from this unique partnership, and strategies that are adopted to move it forward.

  8. The tensile strength of black bear (Ursus americanus) cortical bone is not compromised with aging despite annual periods of hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harvey, Kristin B; Drummer, Thomas D; Donahue, Seth W

    2005-11-01

    Black bears (Ursus americanus) may not develop disuse osteoporosis during long periods of disuse (i.e. hibernation) because they may be able to maintain bone formation. Previously, we found that cortical bone bending strength was not compromised with age in black bears' tibias, despite annual periods of disuse. Here we showed that cortical bone tensile strength (166-198MPa) also does not decrease with age (2-14 years) in black bear tibias. There were also no significant age-related changes in cortical bone porosity in black bear tibias. It is likely that the ability of black bears to maintain bone formation during hibernation keeps bone porosity low (2.3-8.6%) with aging, notwithstanding annual periods of disuse. This low porosity likely preserves ultimate stress with aging. Female bears give birth and nurse during hibernation; however, we found no significant differences between male and female tensile material properties, mineral content, or porosity. Our findings support the idea that black bears, which hibernate 5-7 months annually, have evolved biological mechanisms to mitigate the adverse effects of disuse on bone porosity and strength.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Effects of trapping with bait on bait-station indices to black bear abundance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brongo, L.L.; Mitchell, M.S.; Grand, J.B.

    2005-01-01

    Indices of relative abundance allow managers and researchers to examine changes in population size over time or compare relative population sizes in different areas. In the Pisgah Bear Sanctuary, bait-station surveys were conducted in most years from 1983 to 2000 to follow trends over time in the black bear (Ursus americanus) population. Baited bear trapping also took place in the sanctuary during those years, and some trap lines coincided with bait-station lines. Because the same baits were used for both trapping and bait station lines, we hypothesized that visitation rates of bears to bait stations established in proximity to baited trap lines would differ from rates at bait stations that were not associated with baited trap lines. We modeled probability of bait stations being visited by bears on trapped and untrapped lines to estimate the effect baited trapping had on visitation rates. We found that population trends inferred from bait-station visits in areas that also were trapped with bait were biased high and that bias increased over time. Bears may have become habituated to the bait on trap lines and incorporated it as a regular food source. Bait-station indices should not be conducted near research sites that employ similar bait when both produce a tangible reward for the animals.

  12. Black bears in Canyon de Chelly National Monument: Life in a changing environment

    OpenAIRE

    Tredick, Catherine Anne

    2011-01-01

    Understanding how wildlife utilize habitat at varying scales is important for understanding and predicting potential impacts of landscape changes (e.g., habitat loss and fragmentation, restoration efforts, climate change, etc.) and in determining effective strategies for conservation and management. This research examines fine-scale and landscape-level habitat use of black bears in Canyon de Chelly National Monument (CACH), Arizona, USA in the context of large-scale landscape change. Currentl...

  13. Short-term impacts of a 4-lane highway on black bears in eastern North Carolina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Manen, Frank T.; McCollister, Matthew F.; Nicholson, Jeremy M.; Thompson, Laura M.; Kindall, Jason L.; Jones, Mark D.

    2012-01-01

    Among numerous anthropogenic impacts on terrestrial landscapes, expanding transportation networks represent one of the primary challenges to wildlife conservation worldwide. Larger mammals may be particularly vulnerable because of typically low densities, low reproductive rates, and extensive movements. Although numerous studies have been conducted to document impacts of road networks on wildlife, inference has been limited because of experimental design limitations. During the last decade, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) rerouted and upgraded sections of United States Highway 64 between Raleigh and the Outer Banks to a 4-lane, divided highway. A new route was selected for a 24.1-km section in Washington County. The new section of highway included 3 wildlife underpasses with adjacent wildlife fencing to mitigate the effects of the highway on wildlife, particularly American black bears (Ursus americanus). We assessed the short-term impacts of the new highway on spatial ecology, population size, survival, occupancy, and gene flow of black bears. We tested our research hypotheses using a before-after control-impact (BACI) study design. We collected data during 2000–2001 (preconstruction phase) and 2006–2007 (postconstruction phase) in the highway project area and a nearby control area (each approx. 11,000 ha), resulting in 4 groups of data (i.e., pre- or postconstruction study phase, treatment or control area). We captured and radiocollared 57 bears and collected 5,775 hourly locations and 4,998 daily locations. Using mixed-model analysis of variance and logistic regression, we detected no differences in home ranges, movement characteristics, proximity to the highway alignment, or habitat use between the 2 study phases, although minimum detectable effect sizes were large for several tests. However, after completion of the new highway, bears on the treatment area became less inactive in morning, when highway traffic was low, compared with

  14. 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

    associations are not evidence per se of biological cause– effect relationships. Still, the results of the present study indicate that OHCs may affect circulating TH levels in East Greenland polar bears, adding to the “weight of evidence” suggesting that OHCs might interfere with thyroid homeostasis in polar...

  15. 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.

  16. Right paw foraging bias in wild black bear (Ursus americanus kermodei).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reimchen, T E; Spoljaric, M A

    2011-07-01

    Using field observations of ~15 wild adult black bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) foraging on a salmon stream during two autumns on the central coast of British Columbia, we tested for laterality of forelimb use during lunging and during handling of salmon. Of 288 lunging events observed overall, 53% were non biased, 26% were right-limb biased, and 21% left-limb biased (p = .53 between left and right bias). Among six bears in which we could ascertain individual identity (182 lunging events), there was heterogeneity among individuals (p bears (p = .19). There was no forelimb laterality in adjustment of the prey in the mouth or in securing the prey to the substrate. This is the first report of task-specific behavioural lateralisation of a wild carnivore and is suggestive of a right bias (left-hemisphere dominance) in object manipulation.

  17. Assessment of the amount of polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) on the basis of perennial vessel counts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matishov, G. G.; Chelintsev, N. G.; Goryaev, Yu. I.; Makarevich, P. R.; Ishkulov, D. G.

    2014-10-01

    This article presents a method of assessment of the amount of polar bears on the basis of data on vessel counts. The results of 32 vessel transect counts in the southern part of the Kara Sea are used as the primary data. They are processed in an original program using separate extrapolation by sectors and summarizing of data of several different counts. In recent years, the calculated amount of bears in the studied region has varied from 3300 to 3100 individuals (3200, on average). The relative statistical error of estimations smoothly decreases from 8 to 7%. The confidence interval of the estimation at statistical error of 7% and probability level of 95% is 2700-3500 individuals.

  18. 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

  19. Serum immune-related proteins are differentially expressed during hibernation in the American black bear.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Brian A Chow

    Full Text Available Hibernation is an adaptation to conserve energy in the face of extreme environmental conditions and low food availability that has risen in several animal phyla. This phenomenon is characterized by reduced metabolic rate (∼25% of the active basal metabolic rate in hibernating bears and energy demand, while other physiological adjustments are far from clear. The profiling of the serum proteome of the American black bear (Ursus americanus may reveal specific proteins that are differentially modulated by hibernation, and provide insight into the remarkable physiological adaptations that characterize ursid hibernation. In this study, we used differential gel electrophoresis (DIGE analysis, liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, and subsequent MASCOT analysis of the mass spectra to identify candidate proteins that are differentially expressed during hibernation in captive black bears. Seventy serum proteins were identified as changing by ±1.5 fold or more, out of which 34 proteins increased expression during hibernation. The majority of identified proteins are involved in immune system processes. These included α2-macroglobulin, complement components C1s and C4, immunoglobulin μ and J chains, clusterin, haptoglobin, C4b binding protein, kininogen 1, α2-HS-glycoprotein, and apoplipoproteins A-I and A-IV. Differential expression of a subset of these proteins identified by proteomic analysis was also confirmed by immunodetection. We propose that the observed serum protein changes contribute to the maintenance of the hibernation phenotype and health, including increased capacities for bone maintenance and wound healing during hibernation in bears.

  20. Serum immune-related proteins are differentially expressed during hibernation in the American black bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chow, Brian A; Donahue, Seth W; Vaughan, Michael R; McConkey, Brendan; Vijayan, Mathilakath M

    2013-01-01

    Hibernation is an adaptation to conserve energy in the face of extreme environmental conditions and low food availability that has risen in several animal phyla. This phenomenon is characterized by reduced metabolic rate (∼25% of the active basal metabolic rate in hibernating bears) and energy demand, while other physiological adjustments are far from clear. The profiling of the serum proteome of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) may reveal specific proteins that are differentially modulated by hibernation, and provide insight into the remarkable physiological adaptations that characterize ursid hibernation. In this study, we used differential gel electrophoresis (DIGE) analysis, liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, and subsequent MASCOT analysis of the mass spectra to identify candidate proteins that are differentially expressed during hibernation in captive black bears. Seventy serum proteins were identified as changing by ±1.5 fold or more, out of which 34 proteins increased expression during hibernation. The majority of identified proteins are involved in immune system processes. These included α2-macroglobulin, complement components C1s and C4, immunoglobulin μ and J chains, clusterin, haptoglobin, C4b binding protein, kininogen 1, α2-HS-glycoprotein, and apoplipoproteins A-I and A-IV. Differential expression of a subset of these proteins identified by proteomic analysis was also confirmed by immunodetection. We propose that the observed serum protein changes contribute to the maintenance of the hibernation phenotype and health, including increased capacities for bone maintenance and wound healing during hibernation in bears.

  1. 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.

  2. 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): pbears. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Modeling Population-Level Consequences of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure in East Greenland Polar Bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlova, Viola; Grimm, Volker; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Vorkamp, Katrin; Rigét, Frank F; Letcher, Robert J; Gustavson, Kim; Desforges, Jean-Pierre; Nabe-Nielsen, Jacob

    2016-01-01

    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can cause endocrine disruption, cancer, immunosuppression, or reproductive failure in animals. We used an individual-based model to explore whether and how PCB-associated reproductive failure could affect the dynamics of a hypothetical polar bear (Ursus maritimus) population exposed to PCBs to the same degree as the East Greenland subpopulation. Dose-response data from experimental studies on a surrogate species, the mink (Mustela vision), were used in the absence of similar data for polar bears. Two alternative types of reproductive failure in relation to maternal sum-PCB concentrations were considered: increased abortion rate and increased cub mortality. We found that the quantitative impact of PCB-induced reproductive failure on population growth rate depended largely on the actual type of reproductive failure involved. Critical potencies of the dose-response relationship for decreasing the population growth rate were established for both modeled types of reproductive failure. Comparing the model predictions of the age-dependent trend of sum-PCBs concentrations in females with actual field measurements from East Greenland indicated that it was unlikely that PCB exposure caused a high incidence of abortions in the subpopulation. However, on the basis of this analysis, it could not be excluded that PCB exposure contributes to higher cub mortality. Our results highlight the necessity for further research on the possible influence of PCBs on polar bear reproduction regarding their physiological pathway. This includes determining the exact cause of reproductive failure, i.e., in utero exposure versus lactational exposure of offspring; the timing of offspring death; and establishing the most relevant reference metrics for the dose-response relationship.

  5. Suppressed bone remodeling in black bears conserves energy and bone mass during hibernation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan; Buckendahl, Patricia; Carpenter, Caren; Henriksen, Kim; Vaughan, Michael; Donahue, Seth

    2015-07-01

    Decreased physical activity in mammals increases bone turnover and uncouples bone formation from bone resorption, leading to hypercalcemia, hypercalcuria, bone loss and increased fracture risk. Black bears, however, are physically inactive for up to 6 months annually during hibernation without losing cortical or trabecular bone mass. Bears have been shown to preserve trabecular bone volume and architectural parameters and cortical bone strength, porosity and geometrical properties during hibernation. The mechanisms that prevent disuse osteoporosis in bears are unclear as previous studies using histological and serum markers of bone remodeling show conflicting results. However, previous studies used serum markers of bone remodeling that are known to accumulate with decreased renal function, which bears have during hibernation. Therefore, we measured serum bone remodeling markers (BSALP and TRACP) that do not accumulate with decreased renal function, in addition to the concentrations of serum calcium and hormones involved in regulating bone remodeling in hibernating and active bears. Bone resorption and formation markers were decreased during hibernation compared with when bears were physically active, and these findings were supported by histomorphometric analyses of bone biopsies. The serum concentration of cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART), a hormone known to reduce bone resorption, was 15-fold higher during hibernation. Serum calcium concentration was unchanged between hibernation and non-hibernation seasons. Suppressed and balanced bone resorption and formation in hibernating bears contributes to energy conservation, eucalcemia and the preservation of bone mass and strength, allowing bears to survive prolonged periods of extreme environmental conditions, nutritional deprivation and anuria. © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  6. 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

  7. Harvesting wildlife affected by climate change: a modelling and management approach for polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V.; Wilson, Ryan R.; Rode, Karyn D.; Runge, Michael C.; Stern, Harry

    2017-01-01

    The conservation of many wildlife species requires understanding the demographic effects of climate change, including interactions between climate change and harvest, which can provide cultural, nutritional or economic value to humans.We present a demographic model that is based on the polar bear Ursus maritimus life cycle and includes density-dependent relationships linking vital rates to environmental carrying capacity (K). Using this model, we develop a state-dependent management framework to calculate a harvest level that (i) maintains a population above its maximum net productivity level (MNPL; the population size that produces the greatest net increment in abundance) relative to a changing K, and (ii) has a limited negative effect on population persistence.Our density-dependent relationships suggest that MNPL for polar bears occurs at approximately 0·69 (95% CI = 0·63–0·74) of K. Population growth rate at MNPL was approximately 0·82 (95% CI = 0·79–0·84) of the maximum intrinsic growth rate, suggesting relatively strong compensation for human-caused mortality.Our findings indicate that it is possible to minimize the demographic risks of harvest under climate change, including the risk that harvest will accelerate population declines driven by loss of the polar bear's sea-ice habitat. This requires that (i) the harvest rate – which could be 0 in some situations – accounts for a population's intrinsic growth rate, (ii) the harvest rate accounts for the quality of population data (e.g. lower harvest when uncertainty is large), and (iii) the harvest level is obtained by multiplying the harvest rate by an updated estimate of population size. Environmental variability, the sex and age of removed animals and risk tolerance can also affect the harvest rate.Synthesis and applications. We present a coupled modelling and management approach for wildlife that accounts for climate change and can be used to balance trade-offs among multiple

  8. Harvesting wildlife affected by climate change: a modelling and management approach for polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V; Wilson, Ryan R; Rode, Karyn D; Runge, Michael C; Stern, Harry L

    2017-10-01

    The conservation of many wildlife species requires understanding the demographic effects of climate change, including interactions between climate change and harvest, which can provide cultural, nutritional or economic value to humans.We present a demographic model that is based on the polar bear Ursus maritimus life cycle and includes density-dependent relationships linking vital rates to environmental carrying capacity ( K ). Using this model, we develop a state-dependent management framework to calculate a harvest level that (i) maintains a population above its maximum net productivity level (MNPL; the population size that produces the greatest net increment in abundance) relative to a changing K , and (ii) has a limited negative effect on population persistence.Our density-dependent relationships suggest that MNPL for polar bears occurs at approximately 0·69 (95% CI = 0·63-0·74) of K . Population growth rate at MNPL was approximately 0·82 (95% CI = 0·79-0·84) of the maximum intrinsic growth rate, suggesting relatively strong compensation for human-caused mortality.Our findings indicate that it is possible to minimize the demographic risks of harvest under climate change, including the risk that harvest will accelerate population declines driven by loss of the polar bear's sea-ice habitat. This requires that (i) the harvest rate - which could be 0 in some situations - accounts for a population's intrinsic growth rate, (ii) the harvest rate accounts for the quality of population data (e.g. lower harvest when uncertainty is large), and (iii) the harvest level is obtained by multiplying the harvest rate by an updated estimate of population size. Environmental variability, the sex and age of removed animals and risk tolerance can also affect the harvest rate. Synthesis and applications . We present a coupled modelling and management approach for wildlife that accounts for climate change and can be used to balance trade-offs among multiple conservation

  9. Textile solar light collectors based on models for polar bear hair

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bahners, Thomas; Schlosser, Uwe; Schollmeyer, Eckhard [Deutsches Textilforschungszentrum Nord-West e.V., Adlerstr. 1, D-47798 Krefeld (Germany); Gutmann, Rainer [Institut fuer Textilchemie und Chemiefasern, Koerschtalstr. 26, D-73770 Denkendorf (Germany)

    2008-12-15

    Concepts of technical fibers following models for the polar bear hair to be used for textile solar collectors are discussed. The approach to coat fibers with a thin layer into which fluorescent dyestuff was dispersed was studied experimentally. Modified fibers made of different polymers were characterized with respect to optical properties relevant for the bionic model. In the case of poly(methylmethacrylate) fibers, the envisaged effect could be achieved to high efficiency. The optical performance could be enhanced by ultrasonic dispersion of the dyestuff in the coating matrix. The effect is less significant in semi-crystalline fibers such as poly(ethylene terephthalate), which is attributed to diffuse scattering. (author)

  10. Sulfonation of environmental chemicals and their metabolites in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sacco, James C; James, Margaret O

    2005-09-01

    Although its habitat comprises mostly remote regions of the Arctic, the polar bear is subject to bioaccumulation of persistent environmental pollutants. Along with their phase I metabolites, they are potential substrates for detoxification via sulfonation and glucuronidation. The capability of polar bear liver to sulfonate a structurally diverse group of environmental chemicals, that is, 3-hydroxybenzo[a]pyrene (3-OH-B[a]P), triclosan, 4'-hydroxy-3,3',4,5'-tetrachlorobiphenyl (4'OH-PCB79), 4'-hydroxy-2,3,3',4,5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (4'-OH-PCB159), 4'-hydroxy-2,3,3',5,5',6-hexachlorobiphenyl (4'-OH-PCB165), the methoxychlor metabolite 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (OHMXC), tris(4-chlorophenyl)-methanol (TCPM), and pentachlorophenol (PCP) was investigated. The glucuronidation of 3-OH-B[a]P was also studied. Enzyme activity was assayed by incubation of liver cytosol or microsomes derived from three adult male polar bears with 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate or uridine 5'-diphosphoglucuronic acid and substrate, followed by fluorometric or radiochemical thin-layer chromatographic analysis. The efficiency of sulfonation decreased in the order 3-OH-B[a]P > triclosan > 4'-OH-PCB79 > OHMXC > 4'-OH-PCB165 > TCPM > 4'-OH-PCB159 > PCP, all of which produced detectable sulfate conjugates. The 3-OH-B[a]P substrate was readily sulfonated and glucuronidated (apparent K(m) 0.41, 1.4 microM, and apparent V(max) 0.50, 3.00 nmol/min/mg, respectively). UDP-glucuronic acid kinetics suggested the presence of multiple enzymes glucuronidating 3-OH-B[a]P. Substrate inhibition was observed for the sulfonation of 3-OH-B[a]P and 4'OH-PCB79 (K(i) 1.0 and 217 microM, respectively). Triclosan was the most rapidly sulfated (apparent V(max) 1008 pmol/min/mg) of the substrates tested. Since sulfonation of an acyclic tertiary alcoholic group, as in TCPM, has not previously been reported, we also examined TCPM conjugation in humans and catfish, both of which

  11. Relationships between estimates of ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations in the Canadian Arctic

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Stirling, I. [Canadian Wildlife Service, Edmonton, AB (Canada); Oritsland, N.A. [Norsk Polarinstitutt, Oslo (Norway)

    1995-12-01

    Biological studies were conducted in arctic marine areas to assess the possible impacts of industrial development and to identify areas of critical habitat that might warrant some degree of protection. Ringed seals were studied since polar bears depend on them for food and both species are of cultural and economic importance to the Inuit. The number of seals needed to support a population of polar bears was estimated independently using both behavioral and energetic data. Predation and energy matrices indicated that high levels of predation on seals were sustainable only if most animals killed were young-of-the-year. Densities of seals and the productivity of bears appeared to vary in direct proportion to each other, indicating a high level of sensitivity of relationship between ringed seals and polar bears, at the population level. 86 refs., 6 tabs., 5 figs.

  12. 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.

  13. Probing the Accretion Geometry of Black Holes with X-Ray Polarization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schnitman, Jeremy D.

    2011-01-01

    In the coming years, new space missions will be able to measure X-ray polarization at levels of 1% or better in the approx.1-10 keV energy band. In particular, X-ray polarization is an ideal tool for determining the nature of black hole (BH) accretion disks surrounded by hot coronae. Using a Monte Carlo radiation transport code in full general relativity, we calculate the spectra and polarization features of these BH systems. At low energies, the signal is dominated by the thermal flux coming directly from the optically thick disk. At higher energies, the thermal seed photons have been inverse-Compton scattered by the corona, often reflecting back off the disk before reaching the observer, giving a distinctive polarization signature. By measuring the degree and angle of this X-ray polarization, we can infer the BH inclination, the emission geometry of the accretion flow, and also determine the spin of the black hole.

  14. Polarized Gamma-Ray Emission from the Galactic Black Hole Cygnus X-1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laurent, P.; Rodriquez, J.; Wilms, J.; Bel, M. Cadolle; Pottschmidt, K.; Grinberg, V.

    2011-01-01

    Because of their inherently high flux allowing the detection of clear signals, black hole X-ray binaries are interesting candidates for polarization studies, even if no polarization signals have been observed from them before. Such measurements would provide further detailed insight into these sources' emission mechanisms. We measured the polarization of the gamma-ray emission from the black hole binary system Cygnus X-I with the INTEGRAL/IBIS telescope. Spectral modeling ofthe data reveals two emission mechanisms: The 250-400 keY data are consistent with emission dominated by Compton scattering on thermal electrons and are weakly polarized. The second spectral component seen in the 400keV-2MeV band is by contrast strongly polarized, revealing that the MeV emission is probably related to the jet first detected in the radio band.

  15. Stochasticity in Natural Forage Production Affects Use of Urban Areas by Black Bears: Implications to Management of Human-Bear Conflicts

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baruch-Mordo, Sharon; Wilson, Kenneth R.; Lewis, David L.; Broderick, John; Mao, Julie S.; Breck, Stewart W.

    2014-01-01

    The rapid expansion of global urban development is increasing opportunities for wildlife to forage and become dependent on anthropogenic resources. Wildlife using urban areas are often perceived dichotomously as urban or not, with some individuals removed in the belief that dependency on anthropogenic resources is irreversible and can lead to increased human-wildlife conflict. For American black bears (Ursus americanus), little is known about the degree of bear urbanization and its ecological mechanisms to guide the management of human-bear conflicts. Using 6 years of GPS location and activity data from bears in Aspen, Colorado, USA, we evaluated the degree of bear urbanization and the factors that best explained its variations. We estimated space use, activity patterns, survival, and reproduction and modeled their relationship with ecological covariates related to bear characteristics and natural food availability. Space use and activity patterns were dependent on natural food availability (good or poor food years), where bears used higher human density areas and became more nocturnal in poor food years. Patterns were reversible, i.e., individuals using urban areas in poor food years used wildland areas in subsequent good food years. While reproductive output was similar across years, survival was lower in poor food years when bears used urban areas to a greater extent. Our findings suggest that bear use of urban areas is reversible and fluctuates with the availability of natural food resources, and that removal of urban individuals in times of food failures has the potential to negatively affect bear populations. Given that under current predictions urbanization is expected to increase by 11% across American black bear range, and that natural food failure years are expected to increase in frequency with global climate change, alternative methods of reducing urban human-bear conflict are required if the goal is to prevent urban areas from becoming population sinks

  16. Stochasticity in natural forage production affects use of urban areas by black bears: implications to management of human-bear conflicts.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sharon Baruch-Mordo

    Full Text Available The rapid expansion of global urban development is increasing opportunities for wildlife to forage and become dependent on anthropogenic resources. Wildlife using urban areas are often perceived dichotomously as urban or not, with some individuals removed in the belief that dependency on anthropogenic resources is irreversible and can lead to increased human-wildlife conflict. For American black bears (Ursus americanus, little is known about the degree of bear urbanization and its ecological mechanisms to guide the management of human-bear conflicts. Using 6 years of GPS location and activity data from bears in Aspen, Colorado, USA, we evaluated the degree of bear urbanization and the factors that best explained its variations. We estimated space use, activity patterns, survival, and reproduction and modeled their relationship with ecological covariates related to bear characteristics and natural food availability. Space use and activity patterns were dependent on natural food availability (good or poor food years, where bears used higher human density areas and became more nocturnal in poor food years. Patterns were reversible, i.e., individuals using urban areas in poor food years used wildland areas in subsequent good food years. While reproductive output was similar across years, survival was lower in poor food years when bears used urban areas to a greater extent. Our findings suggest that bear use of urban areas is reversible and fluctuates with the availability of natural food resources, and that removal of urban individuals in times of food failures has the potential to negatively affect bear populations. Given that under current predictions urbanization is expected to increase by 11% across American black bear range, and that natural food failure years are expected to increase in frequency with global climate change, alternative methods of reducing urban human-bear conflict are required if the goal is to prevent urban areas from

  17. Stochasticity in natural forage production affects use of urban areas by black bears: implications to management of human-bear conflicts.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baruch-Mordo, Sharon; Wilson, Kenneth R; Lewis, David L; Broderick, John; Mao, Julie S; Breck, Stewart W

    2014-01-01

    The rapid expansion of global urban development is increasing opportunities for wildlife to forage and become dependent on anthropogenic resources. Wildlife using urban areas are often perceived dichotomously as urban or not, with some individuals removed in the belief that dependency on anthropogenic resources is irreversible and can lead to increased human-wildlife conflict. For American black bears (Ursus americanus), little is known about the degree of bear urbanization and its ecological mechanisms to guide the management of human-bear conflicts. Using 6 years of GPS location and activity data from bears in Aspen, Colorado, USA, we evaluated the degree of bear urbanization and the factors that best explained its variations. We estimated space use, activity patterns, survival, and reproduction and modeled their relationship with ecological covariates related to bear characteristics and natural food availability. Space use and activity patterns were dependent on natural food availability (good or poor food years), where bears used higher human density areas and became more nocturnal in poor food years. Patterns were reversible, i.e., individuals using urban areas in poor food years used wildland areas in subsequent good food years. While reproductive output was similar across years, survival was lower in poor food years when bears used urban areas to a greater extent. Our findings suggest that bear use of urban areas is reversible and fluctuates with the availability of natural food resources, and that removal of urban individuals in times of food failures has the potential to negatively affect bear populations. Given that under current predictions urbanization is expected to increase by 11% across American black bear range, and that natural food failure years are expected to increase in frequency with global climate change, alternative methods of reducing urban human-bear conflict are required if the goal is to prevent urban areas from becoming population sinks.

  18. Flame retardants and methoxylated and hydroxylated polybrominated diphenyl ethers in two Norwegian Arctic top predators: glaucous gulls and polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verreault, Jonathan; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Chu, Shaogang; Muir, Derek C G; Andersen, Magnus; Hamaed, Ahmad; Letcher, Robert J

    2005-08-15

    The brominated flame retardants have been subject of a particular environmental focus in the Arctic. The present study investigated the congener patterns and levels of total hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), polybrominated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), as well as methoxylated (MeO) and hydroxylated (OH) PBDEs in plasma samples of glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Norwegian Arctic. The analyses revealed the presence of total HBCD (0.07-1.24 ng/g wet wt) and brominated biphenyl 101 (polar bears. Sum (sigma) concentrations of the 12 PBDEs monitored in glaucous gulls (range: 8.23-67.5 ng/g wet wt) surpassed largely those of polar bears (range: 2.65-9.72 ng/g wet wt). Two higher brominated PBDEs, BDE183 and BDE209, were detected, and thus bioaccumulated to a limited degree, in glaucous gulls with concentrations ranging from polar bear plasma, BDE183 was polar bears (sigmaMeO-PBDE up to 0.17 ng/g wet wt), followed by 4'-MeO-BDE49 and 6-MeO-BDE47. The 3-OH-BDE47, 4'-OH-BDE49, and 6-OH-BDE47 congeners were also detected in glaucous gulls (sigmaOH-PBDE up to 1.05 ng/g wet wt), although in polar bears 4'-OH-BDE49 was the only congener quantifiable in 13% of the samples. The presence of MeO- and OH-PBDEs in plasma of both species suggests possible dietary uptake from naturally occurring sources (e.g., marine sponges and green algae), but also metabolically derived biotransformation of PBDEs such as BDE47 could be a contributing factor. Our findings suggest that there are dissimilar biochemical mechanisms involved in PCB and PBDE metabolism and accumulation/elimination and/or OH-PBDE accumulation and retention in glaucous gulls and polar bears.

  19. Effects of earlier sea ice breakup on survival and population size of polar bears in western Hudson Bay

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, E.V.; Lunn, N.J.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.

    2007-01-01

    Some of the most pronounced ecological responses to climatic warming are expected to occur in polar marine regions, where temperature increases have been the greatest and sea ice provides a sensitive mechanism by which climatic conditions affect sympagic (i.e., with ice) species. Population-level effects of climatic change, however, remain difficult to quantify. We used a flexible extension of Cormack-Jolly-Seber capture-recapture models to estimate population size and survival for polar bears (Ursus maritimus), one of the most ice-dependent of Arctic marine mammals. We analyzed data for polar bears captured from 1984 to 2004 along the western coast of Hudson Bay and in the community of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. The Western Hudson Bay polar bear population declined from 1,194 (95% CI = 1,020-1,368) in 1987 to 935 (95% CI = 794-1,076) in 2004. Total apparent survival of prime-adult polar bears (5-19 yr) was stable for females (0.93; 95% CI = 0.91-0.94) and males (0.90; 95% CI = 0.88-0.91). Survival of juvenile, subadult, and senescent-adult polar bears was correlated with spring sea ice breakup date, which was variable among years and occurred approximately 3 weeks earlier in 2004 than in 1984. We propose that this correlation provides evidence for a causal association between earlier sea ice breakup (due to climatic warming) and decreased polar bear survival. It may also explain why Churchill, like other communities along the western coast of Hudson Bay, has experienced an increase in human-polar bear interactions in recent years. Earlier sea ice breakup may have resulted in a larger number of nutritionally stressed polar bears, which are encroaching on human habitations in search of supplemental food. Because western Hudson Bay is near the southern limit of the species' range, our findings may foreshadow the demographic responses and management challenges that more northerly polar bear populations will experience if climatic warming in the Arctic continues as

  20. Demographic response of black bears at Cold Lake, Alberta, to the removal of adult males

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sargeant, Glen A.; Ruff, Robert L.

    2001-01-01

    Previous reports described an increase in population density following the removal of 23 adult male black bears (Ursus americanus) from a 218-km2 study area near Cold Lake, Alberta (the CLSA). This finding plays a central role in continuing debates over population regulation in bears, but has recently been criticized because density estimates were based on assumptions that were not met. Moreover, subsequent discussion has been predicated on conjecture that human exploitation had minimal influence on population dynamics. Our reanalysis supports previous descriptions of trends in bear density at Cold Lake. However, survival records revealed heavier exploitation than previously suspected. An underlying assumption of previous interpretationsCthat the Cold Lake bear population was naturally regulated near carrying capacityCno longer seems reasonable. Adult males deterred bears in other sex-age groups from using the CLSA; however, we found no evidence that birth or death rates were affected. The observed increase in local density should not be construed as a density-dependent response. Abrupt changes in local density might not have occurred if males had been removed from a larger area encompassing the CLSA.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. Implications of the circumpolar genetic structure of polar bears for their conservation in a rapidly warming Arctic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonsthagen, Sarah A; Obbard, Martyn E; Boltunov, Andrei; Regehr, Eric V; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Aars, Jon; Atkinson, Stephen N; Sage, George K; Hope, Andrew G; Zeyl, Eve; Bachmann, Lutz; Ehrich, Dorothee; Scribner, Kim T; Amstrup, Steven C; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W; Derocher, Andrew E; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitchell K; Wiig, Øystein; Paetkau, David; Talbot, Sandra L

    2015-01-01

    We provide an expansive analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) circumpolar genetic variation during the last two decades of decline in their sea-ice habitat. We sought to evaluate whether their genetic diversity and structure have changed over this period of habitat decline, how their current genetic patterns compare with past patterns, and how genetic demography changed with ancient fluctuations in climate. Characterizing their circumpolar genetic structure using microsatellite data, we defined four clusters that largely correspond to current ecological and oceanographic factors: Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago and Southern Canada. We document evidence for recent (ca. last 1-3 generations) directional gene flow from Southern Canada and the Eastern Polar Basin towards the Canadian Archipelago, an area hypothesized to be a future refugium for polar bears as climate-induced habitat decline continues. Our data provide empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis. The direction of current gene flow differs from earlier patterns of gene flow in the Holocene. From analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the Canadian Archipelago cluster and the Barents Sea subpopulation within the Eastern Polar Basin cluster did not show signals of population expansion, suggesting these areas may have served also as past interglacial refugia. Mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from polar and the paraphyletic brown bear (U. arctos) uncovered offset signals in timing of population expansion between the two species, that are attributed to differential demographic responses to past climate cycling. Mitogenomic structure of polar bears was shallow and developed recently, in contrast to the multiple clades of brown bears. We found no genetic signatures of recent hybridization between the species in our large, circumpolar sample, suggesting that recently observed hybrids represent localized events. Documenting changes in subpopulation connectivity will allow

  4. Implications of the circumpolar genetic structure of polar bears for their conservation in a rapidly warming Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Regehr, Eric V.; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Aars, Jon; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Sage, George K.; Hope, Andrew G.; Zeyl, Eve; Bachmann, Lutz; Ehrich, Dorothee; Scribner, Kim T.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitchell K.; Wiig, Øystein; Paetkau, David; Talbot, Sandra L.

    2015-01-01

    We provide an expansive analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) circumpolar genetic variation during the last two decades of decline in their sea-ice habitat. We sought to evaluate whether their genetic diversity and structure have changed over this period of habitat decline, how their current genetic patterns compare with past patterns, and how genetic demography changed with ancient fluctuations in climate. Characterizing their circumpolar genetic structure using microsatellite data, we defined four clusters that largely correspond to current ecological and oceanographic factors: Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago and Southern Canada. We document evidence for recent (ca. last 1–3 generations) directional gene flow from Southern Canada and the Eastern Polar Basin towards the Canadian Archipelago, an area hypothesized to be a future refugium for polar bears as climate-induced habitat decline continues. Our data provide empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis. The direction of current gene flow differs from earlier patterns of gene flow in the Holocene. From analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the Canadian Archipelago cluster and the Barents Sea subpopulation within the Eastern Polar Basin cluster did not show signals of population expansion, suggesting these areas may have served also as past interglacial refugia. Mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from polar and the paraphyletic brown bear (U. arctos) uncovered offset signals in timing of population expansion between the two species, that are attributed to differential demographic responses to past climate cycling. Mitogenomic structure of polar bears was shallow and developed recently, in contrast to the multiple clades of brown bears. We found no genetic signatures of recent hybridization between the species in our large, circumpolar sample, suggesting that recently observed hybrids represent localized events. Documenting changes in subpopulation connectivity will

  5. Implications of the circumpolar genetic structure of polar bears for their conservation in a rapidly warming Arctic.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth Peacock

    Full Text Available We provide an expansive analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus circumpolar genetic variation during the last two decades of decline in their sea-ice habitat. We sought to evaluate whether their genetic diversity and structure have changed over this period of habitat decline, how their current genetic patterns compare with past patterns, and how genetic demography changed with ancient fluctuations in climate. Characterizing their circumpolar genetic structure using microsatellite data, we defined four clusters that largely correspond to current ecological and oceanographic factors: Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago and Southern Canada. We document evidence for recent (ca. last 1-3 generations directional gene flow from Southern Canada and the Eastern Polar Basin towards the Canadian Archipelago, an area hypothesized to be a future refugium for polar bears as climate-induced habitat decline continues. Our data provide empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis. The direction of current gene flow differs from earlier patterns of gene flow in the Holocene. From analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the Canadian Archipelago cluster and the Barents Sea subpopulation within the Eastern Polar Basin cluster did not show signals of population expansion, suggesting these areas may have served also as past interglacial refugia. Mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from polar and the paraphyletic brown bear (U. arctos uncovered offset signals in timing of population expansion between the two species, that are attributed to differential demographic responses to past climate cycling. Mitogenomic structure of polar bears was shallow and developed recently, in contrast to the multiple clades of brown bears. We found no genetic signatures of recent hybridization between the species in our large, circumpolar sample, suggesting that recently observed hybrids represent localized events. Documenting changes in subpopulation

  6. Spatially explicit population estimates for black bears based on cluster sampling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Humm, J.; McCown, J. Walter; Scheick, B.K.; Clark, Joseph D.

    2017-01-01

    We estimated abundance and density of the 5 major black bear (Ursus americanus) subpopulations (i.e., Eglin, Apalachicola, Osceola, Ocala-St. Johns, Big Cypress) in Florida, USA with spatially explicit capture-mark-recapture (SCR) by extracting DNA from hair samples collected at barbed-wire hair sampling sites. We employed a clustered sampling configuration with sampling sites arranged in 3 × 3 clusters spaced 2 km apart within each cluster and cluster centers spaced 16 km apart (center to center). We surveyed all 5 subpopulations encompassing 38,960 km2 during 2014 and 2015. Several landscape variables, most associated with forest cover, helped refine density estimates for the 5 subpopulations we sampled. Detection probabilities were affected by site-specific behavioral responses coupled with individual capture heterogeneity associated with sex. Model-averaged bear population estimates ranged from 120 (95% CI = 59–276) bears or a mean 0.025 bears/km2 (95% CI = 0.011–0.44) for the Eglin subpopulation to 1,198 bears (95% CI = 949–1,537) or 0.127 bears/km2 (95% CI = 0.101–0.163) for the Ocala-St. Johns subpopulation. The total population estimate for our 5 study areas was 3,916 bears (95% CI = 2,914–5,451). The clustered sampling method coupled with information on land cover was efficient and allowed us to estimate abundance across extensive areas that would not have been possible otherwise. Clustered sampling combined with spatially explicit capture-recapture methods has the potential to provide rigorous population estimates for a wide array of species that are extensive and heterogeneous in their distribution.

  7. Estimating grizzly and black bear population abundance and trend in Banff National Park using noninvasive genetic sampling.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael A Sawaya

    Full Text Available We evaluated the potential of two noninvasive genetic sampling methods, hair traps and bear rub surveys, to estimate population abundance and trend of grizzly (Ursus arctos and black bear (U. americanus populations in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Using Huggins closed population mark-recapture models, we obtained the first precise abundance estimates for grizzly bears (N= 73.5, 95% CI = 64-94 in 2006; N= 50.4, 95% CI = 49-59 in 2008 and black bears (N= 62.6, 95% CI = 51-89 in 2006; N= 81.8, 95% CI = 72-102 in 2008 in the Bow Valley. Hair traps had high detection rates for female grizzlies, and male and female black bears, but extremely low detection rates for male grizzlies. Conversely, bear rubs had high detection rates for male and female grizzlies, but low rates for black bears. We estimated realized population growth rates, lambda, for grizzly bear males (λ= 0.93, 95% CI = 0.74-1.17 and females (λ= 0.90, 95% CI = 0.67-1.20 using Pradel open population models with three years of bear rub data. Lambda estimates are supported by abundance estimates from combined hair trap/bear rub closed population models and are consistent with a system that is likely driven by high levels of human-caused mortality. Our results suggest that bear rub surveys would provide an efficient and powerful means to inventory and monitor grizzly bear populations in the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains.

  8. Estimating grizzly and black bear population abundance and trend in Banff National Park using noninvasive genetic sampling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sawaya, Michael A; Stetz, Jeffrey B; Clevenger, Anthony P; Gibeau, Michael L; Kalinowski, Steven T

    2012-01-01

    We evaluated the potential of two noninvasive genetic sampling methods, hair traps and bear rub surveys, to estimate population abundance and trend of grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bear (U. americanus) populations in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Using Huggins closed population mark-recapture models, we obtained the first precise abundance estimates for grizzly bears (N= 73.5, 95% CI = 64-94 in 2006; N= 50.4, 95% CI = 49-59 in 2008) and black bears (N= 62.6, 95% CI = 51-89 in 2006; N= 81.8, 95% CI = 72-102 in 2008) in the Bow Valley. Hair traps had high detection rates for female grizzlies, and male and female black bears, but extremely low detection rates for male grizzlies. Conversely, bear rubs had high detection rates for male and female grizzlies, but low rates for black bears. We estimated realized population growth rates, lambda, for grizzly bear males (λ= 0.93, 95% CI = 0.74-1.17) and females (λ= 0.90, 95% CI = 0.67-1.20) using Pradel open population models with three years of bear rub data. Lambda estimates are supported by abundance estimates from combined hair trap/bear rub closed population models and are consistent with a system that is likely driven by high levels of human-caused mortality. Our results suggest that bear rub surveys would provide an efficient and powerful means to inventory and monitor grizzly bear populations in the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains.

  9. Investigating Methods to Reduce Black Bear (Ursus americanus) Visitation to Anthropogenic Food Sources: Conditioned Taste Aversion and Food Removal

    OpenAIRE

    Signor, Kari D.

    2009-01-01

    Conflicts between humans and black bears (Ursus americanus) jeopardize the safety of both humans and bears, especially when bears become food-conditioned to anthropogenic food sources in areas such as campgrounds. Interest in using non-lethal techniques, such as aversive conditioning, to manage such conflicts is growing. I conducted a captive experiment at The Wildlife Science Center in Minnesota and two field experiments in the La Sal Mountains, Utah, to investigate the effects of taste av...

  10. Tasmanian tigers and polar bears: The documentary moving image and (species loss

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Belinda Smaill

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available In this essay I explore how two divergent examples of the nonfiction moving image can be understood in relation to the problem of representing species loss. The species that provide the platform for this consideration are the thylacine, better known as the Tasmanian tiger, and the polar bear. They represent the two contingencies of species loss: endangerment and extinction. My analysis is structured around moving images from the 1930s of the last known thylacine and the very different example of Arctic Tale (Adam Ravetch, Sarah Robertson, 2007, a ‘Disneyfied’ film that dramatises climate change and its impact on the polar bear. Species loss is frequently perceived in a humanist sense, reflecting how we ‘imagine ourselves’ or anthropocentric charactersations of non-human others. I offer a close analysis of the two films, examining the problem of representing extinction through a consideration of the play of absence and presence, vitality and extinguishment, that characterises both the ontology of cinema and narratives about species loss.

  11. Ecological change drives a decline in mercury concentrations in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, Melissa A.; Atwood, Todd C.; Pedro, Sara; Peacock, Elizabeth

    2017-01-01

    We evaluated total mercury (THg) concentrations and trends in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation from 2004 to 2011. Hair THg concentrations ranged widely among individuals from 0.6 to 13.3 μg g–1 dry weight (mean: 3.5 ± 0.2 μg g–1). Concentrations differed among sex and age classes: solitary adult females ≈ adult females with cubs ≈ subadults > adult males ≈ yearlings > cubs-of-the-year ≈ 2 year old dependent cubs. No variation was observed between spring and fall samples. For spring-sampled adults, THg concentrations declined by 13% per year, contrasting recent trends observed for other Western Hemispheric Arctic biota. Concentrations also declined by 15% per year considering adult males only, while a slower, nonsignificant decrease of 4.4% per year was found for adult females. Lower THg concentrations were associated with higher body mass index (BMI) and higher proportions of lower trophic position food resources consumed. Because BMI and diet were related, and the relationship to THg was strongest for BMI, trends were re-evaluated adjusting for BMI as the covariate. The adjusted annual decline was not significant. These findings indicate that changes in foraging ecology, not declining environmental concentrations of mercury, are driving short-term declines in THg concentrations in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears.

  12. Organohalogen concentrations in blood and adipose tissue of Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bentzen, T.W.; Muir, D.C.G.; Amstrup, Steven C.; O'Hara, T. M.

    2008-01-01

    We analyzed 151 organohalogen chemicals (OHCs) in whole blood and subcutaneous fat of 57 polar bears sampled along the Alaskan Beaufort Sea coast in spring, 2003. All major organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, PBDEs and their congeners were assessed. Concentrations of most OHCs continue to be lower among Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears than reported for other populations. Additionally, toxaphenes and related compounds were assessed in adipose tissue, and 8 perflourinated compounds (PFCs) were examined in blood. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) concentrations exceeded those of any other contaminant measured in blood. ??Chlordane concentrations were higher in females, and both ??PCBs and ??Chlordane concentrations in adipose tissue decreased significantly with age. The rank order of OHC mean concentrations; ??PCB > ??10PCB > PCB153 > ??Chlordane > Oxychlordane > PCB180 > ??HCH > ??-HCH > ??DDT > p,p-DDE > ??PBDE > HCB > Toxaphene was similar for compounds above detection limits in both fat and blood. Although correlation between OHC concentrations in blood and adipose tissue was examined, the predictability of concentrations in one matrix for the other was limited. ?? 2008 Elsevier B.V.

  13. Ecological Change Drives a Decline in Mercury Concentrations in Southern Beaufort Sea Polar Bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McKinney, Melissa A; Atwood, Todd C; Pedro, Sara; Peacock, Elizabeth

    2017-07-18

    We evaluated total mercury (THg) concentrations and trends in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea subpopulation from 2004 to 2011. Hair THg concentrations ranged widely among individuals from 0.6 to 13.3 μg g -1 dry weight (mean: 3.5 ± 0.2 μg g -1 ). Concentrations differed among sex and age classes: solitary adult females ≈ adult females with cubs ≈ subadults > adult males ≈ yearlings > cubs-of-the-year ≈ 2 year old dependent cubs. No variation was observed between spring and fall samples. For spring-sampled adults, THg concentrations declined by 13% per year, contrasting recent trends observed for other Western Hemispheric Arctic biota. Concentrations also declined by 15% per year considering adult males only, while a slower, nonsignificant decrease of 4.4% per year was found for adult females. Lower THg concentrations were associated with higher body mass index (BMI) and higher proportions of lower trophic position food resources consumed. Because BMI and diet were related, and the relationship to THg was strongest for BMI, trends were re-evaluated adjusting for BMI as the covariate. The adjusted annual decline was not significant. These findings indicate that changes in foraging ecology, not declining environmental concentrations of mercury, are driving short-term declines in THg concentrations in southern Beaufort Sea polar bears.

  14. 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.

  15. Associations between complex OHC mixtures and thyroid and cortisol hormone levels in East Greenland polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshøft, T Ø; Sonne, C; Dietz, R; Born, E W; Muir, D C G; Letcher, R J; Novak, M A; Henchey, E; Meyer, J S; Jenssen, B M; Villanger, G D

    2012-07-01

    The multivariate relationship between hair cortisol, whole blood thyroid hormones, and the complex mixtures of organohalogen contaminant (OHC) levels measured in subcutaneous adipose of 23 East Greenland polar bears (eight males and 15 females, all sampled between the years 1999 and 2001) was analyzed using projection to latent structure (PLS) regression modeling. In the resulting PLS model, most important variables with a negative influence on cortisol levels were particularly BDE-99, but also CB-180, -201, BDE-153, and CB-170/190. The most important variables with a positive influence on cortisol were CB-66/95, α-HCH, TT3, as well as heptachlor epoxide, dieldrin, BDE-47, p,p'-DDD. Although statistical modeling does not necessarily fully explain biological cause-effect relationships, relationships indicate that (1) the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in East Greenland polar bears is likely to be affected by OHC-contaminants and (2) the association between OHCs and cortisol may be linked with the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. 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 (LOD<0.17ng/g). The cortisol hair concentration found in these East Greenland polar 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Polar Bear Optimization Algorithm: Meta-Heuristic with Fast Population Movement and Dynamic Birth and Death Mechanism

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dawid Połap

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available In the proposed article, we present a nature-inspired optimization algorithm, which we called Polar Bear Optimization Algorithm (PBO. The inspiration to develop the algorithm comes from the way polar bears hunt to survive in harsh arctic conditions. These carnivorous mammals are active all year round. Frosty climate, unfavorable to other animals, has made polar bears adapt to the specific mode of exploration and hunting in large areas, not only over ice but also water. The proposed novel mathematical model of the way polar bears move in the search for food and hunt can be a valuable method of optimization for various theoretical and practical problems. Optimization is very similar to nature, similarly to search for optimal solutions for mathematical models animals search for optimal conditions to develop in their natural environments. In this method. we have used a model of polar bear behaviors as a search engine for optimal solutions. Proposed simulated adaptation to harsh winter conditions is an advantage for local and global search, while birth and death mechanism controls the population. Proposed PBO was evaluated and compared to other meta-heuristic algorithms using sample test functions and some classical engineering problems. Experimental research results were compared to other algorithms and analyzed using various parameters. The analysis allowed us to identify the leading advantages which are rapid recognition of the area by the relevant population and efficient birth and death mechanism to improve global and local search within the solution space.

  19. 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.

  20. Mercury concentrations in Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears: variation based on stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cardona-Marek, Tamara; Knott, Katrina K; Meyer, Benjamin E; O'Hara, Todd M

    2009-07-01

    Total Hg concentration was measured in hair and whole blood of 52 adult Southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus) captured in the spring of 2005. Stable isotopic signatures (i.e., 13C/12C, delta13C; 15N/14N, delta15N) in hair and two blood compartments (packed blood cells/clot and serum) were determined to assess the variation of Hg concentrations among polar bears in relation to their feeding ecology and other biological factors. Concentrations of Hg in hair and blood (2.2-23.9 microg/g dry wt and 0.007-0.213 microg/g wet wt, respectively) were within the range of values previously reported for polar bears in Canada and East Greenland. Mercury concentration in hair from females was higher than that in hair from males, and concentration was related to interactions between delta13C, delta15N, and longitude of capture location. Mercury concentrations in hair were inversely correlated to delta13C in hair and blood, suggesting that polar bears with greater total Hg concentrations fed more on pelagic prey, such as ringed seals or beluga whale, than on benthic prey. Variability in Hg concentrations in polar bear hair and blood may be the result of intraspecific or regional variation in prey selection rather than strictly trophic level interactions.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Linking GPS Telemetry Surveys and Scat Analyses Helps Explain Variability in Black Bear Foraging Strategies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lesmerises, Rémi; Rebouillat, Lucie; Dussault, Claude; St-Laurent, Martin-Hugues

    2015-01-01

    Studying diet is fundamental to animal ecology and scat analysis, a widespread approach, is considered a reliable dietary proxy. Nonetheless, this method has weaknesses such as non-random sampling of habitats and individuals, inaccurate evaluation of excretion date, and lack of assessment of inter-individual dietary variability. We coupled GPS telemetry and scat analyses of black bears Ursus americanus Pallas to relate diet to individual characteristics and habitat use patterns while foraging. We captured 20 black bears (6 males and 14 females) and fitted them with GPS/Argos collars. We then surveyed GPS locations shortly after individual bear visits and collected 139 feces in 71 different locations. Fecal content (relative dry matter biomass of ingested items) was subsequently linked to individual characteristics (sex, age, reproductive status) and to habitats visited during foraging bouts using Brownian bridges based on GPS locations prior to feces excretion. At the population level, diet composition was similar to what was previously described in studies on black bears. However, our individual-based method allowed us to highlight different intra-population patterns, showing that sex and female reproductive status had significant influence on individual diet. For example, in the same habitats, females with cubs did not use the same food sources as lone bears. Linking fecal content (i.e., food sources) to habitat previously visited by different individuals, we demonstrated a potential differential use of similar habitats dependent on individual characteristics. Females with cubs-of-the-year tended to use old forest clearcuts (6-20 years old) to feed on bunchberry, whereas females with yearling foraged for blueberry and lone bears for ants. Coupling GPS telemetry and scat analyses allows for efficient detection of inter-individual or inter-group variations in foraging strategies and of linkages between previous habitat use and food consumption, even for cryptic

  5. Linking GPS Telemetry Surveys and Scat Analyses Helps Explain Variability in Black Bear Foraging Strategies.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rémi Lesmerises

    Full Text Available Studying diet is fundamental to animal ecology and scat analysis, a widespread approach, is considered a reliable dietary proxy. Nonetheless, this method has weaknesses such as non-random sampling of habitats and individuals, inaccurate evaluation of excretion date, and lack of assessment of inter-individual dietary variability. We coupled GPS telemetry and scat analyses of black bears Ursus americanus Pallas to relate diet to individual characteristics and habitat use patterns while foraging. We captured 20 black bears (6 males and 14 females and fitted them with GPS/Argos collars. We then surveyed GPS locations shortly after individual bear visits and collected 139 feces in 71 different locations. Fecal content (relative dry matter biomass of ingested items was subsequently linked to individual characteristics (sex, age, reproductive status and to habitats visited during foraging bouts using Brownian bridges based on GPS locations prior to feces excretion. At the population level, diet composition was similar to what was previously described in studies on black bears. However, our individual-based method allowed us to highlight different intra-population patterns, showing that sex and female reproductive status had significant influence on individual diet. For example, in the same habitats, females with cubs did not use the same food sources as lone bears. Linking fecal content (i.e., food sources to habitat previously visited by different individuals, we demonstrated a potential differential use of similar habitats dependent on individual characteristics. Females with cubs-of-the-year tended to use old forest clearcuts (6-20 years old to feed on bunchberry, whereas females with yearling foraged for blueberry and lone bears for ants. Coupling GPS telemetry and scat analyses allows for efficient detection of inter-individual or inter-group variations in foraging strategies and of linkages between previous habitat use and food consumption, even

  6. Linking GPS Telemetry Surveys and Scat Analyses Helps Explain Variability in Black Bear Foraging Strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lesmerises, Rémi; Rebouillat, Lucie; Dussault, Claude; St-Laurent, Martin-Hugues

    2015-01-01

    Studying diet is fundamental to animal ecology and scat analysis, a widespread approach, is considered a reliable dietary proxy. Nonetheless, this method has weaknesses such as non-random sampling of habitats and individuals, inaccurate evaluation of excretion date, and lack of assessment of inter-individual dietary variability. We coupled GPS telemetry and scat analyses of black bears Ursus americanus Pallas to relate diet to individual characteristics and habitat use patterns while foraging. We captured 20 black bears (6 males and 14 females) and fitted them with GPS/Argos collars. We then surveyed GPS locations shortly after individual bear visits and collected 139 feces in 71 different locations. Fecal content (relative dry matter biomass of ingested items) was subsequently linked to individual characteristics (sex, age, reproductive status) and to habitats visited during foraging bouts using Brownian bridges based on GPS locations prior to feces excretion. At the population level, diet composition was similar to what was previously described in studies on black bears. However, our individual-based method allowed us to highlight different intra-population patterns, showing that sex and female reproductive status had significant influence on individual diet. For example, in the same habitats, females with cubs did not use the same food sources as lone bears. Linking fecal content (i.e., food sources) to habitat previously visited by different individuals, we demonstrated a potential differential use of similar habitats dependent on individual characteristics. Females with cubs-of-the-year tended to use old forest clearcuts (6–20 years old) to feed on bunchberry, whereas females with yearling foraged for blueberry and lone bears for ants. Coupling GPS telemetry and scat analyses allows for efficient detection of inter-individual or inter-group variations in foraging strategies and of linkages between previous habitat use and food consumption, even for cryptic

  7. Combined use of mark-recapture and genetic analyses reveals response of a black bear population to changes in food productivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barbara S. McCall; Michael S. Mitchell; Michael K. Schwartz; Jim Hayden; Samuel A. Cushman; Pete Zager; Wayne F. Kasworm

    2013-01-01

    We used mark-recapture analysis to investigate the dynamics of a black bear (Ursus americanus) population in northern Idaho where food availability varies seasonally and annually. We conducted noninvasive genetic sampling (NGS) during 2003-2006 in the Purcell Mountains of Idaho to collect black bear DNA samples for individual identification of bears. We used a...

  8. Modeling Polarized Emission from Black Hole Jets: Application to M87 Core Jet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Monika Mościbrodzka

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available We combine three-dimensional general-relativistic numerical models of hot, magnetized Advection Dominated Accretion Flows around a supermassive black hole and the corresponding outflows from them with a general relativistic polarized radiative transfer model to produce synthetic radio images and spectra of jet outflows. We apply the model to the underluminous core of M87 galaxy. The assumptions and results of the calculations are discussed in context of millimeter observations of the M87 jet launching zone. Our ab initio polarized emission and rotation measure models allow us to address the constrains on the mass accretion rate onto the M87 supermassive black hole.

  9. Vacuum birefringence and the x-ray polarization from black-hole accretion disks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caiazzo, Ilaria; Heyl, Jeremy

    2018-04-01

    In the next decade, x-ray polarimetry will open a new window on the high-energy Universe, as several missions that include an x-ray polarimeter are currently under development. Observations of the polarization of x rays coming from the accretion disks of stellar-mass and supermassive black holes are among the new polarimeters' major objectives. In this paper, we show that these observations can be affected by the quantum electrodynamic (QED) effect of vacuum birefringence: after an x-ray photon is emitted from the accretion disk, its polarization changes as the photon travels through the accretion disk's magnetosphere, as a result of the vacuum becoming birefringent in the presence of a magnetic field. We show that this effect can be important for black holes in the energy band of the upcoming polarimeters and has to be taken into account in a complete model of the x-ray polarization that we expect to detect from black-hole accretion disks, both for stellar mass and for supermassive black holes. We find that, for a chaotic magnetic field in the disk, QED can significantly decrease the linear polarization fraction of edge-on photons, depending on the spin of the hole and on the strength of the magnetic field. This effect can provide, for the first time, a direct way to probe the magnetic field strength close to the innermost stable orbit of black-hole accretion disks and to study the role of magnetic fields in astrophysical accretion in general.

  10. Future sea ice conditions in Western Hudson Bay and consequences for polar bears in the 21st century.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castro de la Guardia, Laura; Derocher, Andrew E; Myers, Paul G; Terwisscha van Scheltinga, Arjen D; Lunn, Nick J

    2013-09-01

    The primary habitat of polar bears is sea ice, but in Western Hudson Bay (WH), the seasonal ice cycle forces polar bears ashore each summer. Survival of bears on land in WH is correlated with breakup and the ice-free season length, and studies suggest that exceeding thresholds in these variables will lead to large declines in the WH population. To estimate when anthropogenic warming may have progressed sufficiently to threaten the persistence of polar bears in WH, we predict changes in the ice cycle and the sea ice concentration (SIC) in spring (the primary feeding period of polar bears) with a high-resolution sea ice-ocean model and warming forced with 21st century IPCC greenhouse gas (GHG) emission scenarios: B1 (low), A1B (medium), and A2 (high). We define critical years for polar bears based on proposed thresholds in breakup and ice-free season and we assess when ice-cycle conditions cross these thresholds. In the three scenarios, critical years occur more commonly after 2050. From 2001 to 2050, 2 critical years occur under B1 and A2, and 4 under A1B; from 2051 to 2100, 8 critical years occur under B1, 35 under A1B and 41 under A2. Spring SIC in WH is high (>90%) in all three scenarios between 2001 and 2050, but declines rapidly after 2050 in A1B and A2. From 2090 to 2100, the mean spring SIC is 84 (±7)% in B1, 56 (±26)% in A1B and 20 (±13)% in A2. Our predictions suggest that the habitat of polar bears in WH will deteriorate in the 21st century. Ice predictions in A1B and A2 suggest that the polar bear population may struggle to persist after ca. 2050. Predictions under B1 suggest that reducing GHG emissions could allow polar bears to persist in WH throughout the 21st century. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. Performance and utility of satellite telemetry during field studies of free-ranging polar bears in Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garner, Gerald W.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Douglas, David C.; Gardner, Craig L.; Amlaner, Charles J.

    1989-01-01

    Satellite telemetry technology has been used during field studies of polar bears in Alaska since 1985. A total of 109 Platform Transmitter Terminals (PTT) have been deployed on free-ranging female polar bears that seasonally inhabit waters adjacent to the Alaskan coast. The PTTs transmitted locational and sensor data to TIROS-N polar-orbiting satellites during a duty cycle of 12 hours on/60 hours off in 1985, 1986, and 1987. Expected battery life was 13.8 months, and collars were normally removed and replaced with new or refurbished PTTs at 11-13 month intervals. Duty cycles were altered to 7-8 hours on/64-65 hours off in 1988 to prolong expected battery life to 19-21 months. Sensor data transmitted included PTT internal temperature, short term activity counts recorded at 60 second intervals, and long term activity counts for the preceding 24 or 72-hour period. Early failures of PTTs to fix location (less than 75% of expected battery life) were as high as 53% during 198501986. Subsequent improvements in battery design, including better shock insulation, improved electronic, and an improved battery system have reduced early failures to 27% in 1987-1988. The harsh environment and the degree of abuse observed in recovered collars indicate that an unavoidable failure rate of 8-10% is inherent within 60 days after deployment on polar bears. A total of 18,000 locations and 201,000 sensor messages were received from female polar bears between May 1985 and June 1988. Polar bears that were marked in Alaskan waters have been located as far south as 60°N 168°W, and as far east as 70°N 127°W in the Beaufort Sea. Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea are shared with Canada, while polar bears in the Chukchi and Bering seas are shared with the Soviet Union. The international ranges of the two hypothesized populations have been documented. Satellite telemetry has detailed the large movement patterns of polar bear over these vast areas that were previously not available using other

  12. Effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Louisiana black bear habitat

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Joseph D.; Murrow, Jennifer L.

    2012-01-01

    The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) is comprised of 3 subpopulations, each being small, geographically isolated, and vulnerable to extinction. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts in 2005, potentially altering habitat occupied by this federally threatened subspecies. We used data collected on radio-telemetered bears from 1993 to 1995 and pre-hurricane landscape data to develop a habitat model based on the Mahalanobis distance (D2) statistic. We then applied that model to post-hurricane landscape data where the telemetry data were collected (i.e., occupied study area) and where bear range expansion might occur (i.e., unoccupied study area) to quantify habitat loss or gain. The D2 model indicated that quality bear habitat was associated with areas of high mast-producing forest density, low water body density, and moderate forest patchiness. Cross-validation and testing on an independent data set in central Louisiana indicated that prediction and transferability of the model were good. Suitable bear habitat decreased from 348 to 345 km2 (0.9%) within the occupied study area and decreased from 34,383 to 33,891 km2 (1.4%) in the unoccupied study area following the hurricanes. Our analysis indicated that bear habitat was not significantly degraded by the hurricanes, although changes that could have occurred on a microhabitat level would be more difficult to detect at the resolution we used. We suggest that managers continue to monitor the possible long-term effects of these hurricanes (e.g., vegetation changes from flooding, introduction of toxic chemicals, or water quality changes).

  13. Monitoring the wild black bear's reaction to human and environmental stressors

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Iaizzo Paul A

    2011-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Bears are among the most physiologically remarkable mammals. They spend half their life in an active state and the other half in a state of dormancy without food or water, and without urinating, defecating, or physical activity, yet can rouse and defend themselves when disturbed. Although important data have been obtained in both captive and wild bears, long-term physiological monitoring of bears has not been possible until the recent advancement of implantable devices. Results Insertable cardiac monitors that were developed for use in human heart patients (Reveal® XT, Medtronic, Inc were implanted in 15 hibernating bears. Data were recovered from 8, including 2 that were legally shot by hunters. Devices recorded low heart rates (pauses of over 14 seconds and low respiration rates (1.5 breaths/min during hibernation, dramatic respiratory sinus arrhythmias in the fall and winter months, and elevated heart rates in summer (up to 214 beats/min (bpm and during interactions with hunters (exceeding 250 bpm. The devices documented the first and last day of denning, a period of quiescence in two parturient females after birthing, and extraordinary variation in the amount of activity/day, ranging from 0 (winter to 1084 minutes (summer. Data showed a transition toward greater nocturnal activity in the fall, preceding hibernation. The data-loggers also provided evidence of the physiological and behavioral responses of bears to our den visits to retrieve the data. Conclusions Annual variations in heart rate and activity have been documented for the first time in wild black bears. This technique has broad applications to wildlife management and physiological research, enabling the impact of environmental stressors from humans, changing seasons, climate change, social interactions and predation to be directly monitored over multiple years.

  14. Monitoring the wild black bear's reaction to human and environmental stressors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laske, Timothy G; Garshelis, David L; Iaizzo, Paul A

    2011-08-17

    Bears are among the most physiologically remarkable mammals. They spend half their life in an active state and the other half in a state of dormancy without food or water, and without urinating, defecating, or physical activity, yet can rouse and defend themselves when disturbed. Although important data have been obtained in both captive and wild bears, long-term physiological monitoring of bears has not been possible until the recent advancement of implantable devices. Insertable cardiac monitors that were developed for use in human heart patients (Reveal® XT, Medtronic, Inc) were implanted in 15 hibernating bears. Data were recovered from 8, including 2 that were legally shot by hunters. Devices recorded low heart rates (pauses of over 14 seconds) and low respiration rates (1.5 breaths/min) during hibernation, dramatic respiratory sinus arrhythmias in the fall and winter months, and elevated heart rates in summer (up to 214 beats/min (bpm)) and during interactions with hunters (exceeding 250 bpm). The devices documented the first and last day of denning, a period of quiescence in two parturient females after birthing, and extraordinary variation in the amount of activity/day, ranging from 0 (winter) to 1084 minutes (summer). Data showed a transition toward greater nocturnal activity in the fall, preceding hibernation. The data-loggers also provided evidence of the physiological and behavioral responses of bears to our den visits to retrieve the data. Annual variations in heart rate and activity have been documented for the first time in wild black bears. This technique has broad applications to wildlife management and physiological research, enabling the impact of environmental stressors from humans, changing seasons, climate change, social interactions and predation to be directly monitored over multiple years.

  15. “It's Just a Matter of Time:” Lessons from Agency and Community Responses to Polar Bear-inflicted Human Injury

    OpenAIRE

    Aimee L Schmidt; Douglas A Clark

    2018-01-01

    Bear-inflicted human injuries or deaths are often widely publicised, controversial, and evoke substantial social responses that articulate public expectations about bear management. In this paper, we examine how local people and management agencies (i.e. Manitoba Conservation, Parks Canada, and the Town of Churchill) responded to a polar bear-inflicted human injury in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. On November 1st, 2013, two people in Churchill were badly mauled by a polar bear. The incident sh...

  16. Black bear femoral geometry and cortical porosity are not adversely affected by ageing despite annual periods of disuse (hibernation).

    Science.gov (United States)

    McGee, Meghan E; Miller, Danielle L; Auger, Janene; Black, Hal L; Donahue, Seth W

    2007-02-01

    Disuse (i.e. inactivity) causes bone loss, and a recovery period that is 2-3 times longer than the inactive period is usually required to recover lost bone. However, black bears experience annual disuse (hibernation) and remobilization periods that are approximately equal in length, yet bears maintain or increase cortical bone material properties and whole bone mechanical properties with age. In this study, we investigated the architectural properties of bear femurs to determine whether cortical structure is preserved with age in bears. We showed that cross-sectional geometric properties increase with age, but porosity and resorption cavity density do not change with age in skeletally immature male and female bears. These findings suggest that structural properties substantially contribute to increasing whole bone strength with age in bears, particularly during skeletal maturation. Porosity was not different between skeletally immature and mature bears, and showed minimal regional variations between anatomical quadrants and radial positions that were similar in pattern and magnitude between skeletally immature and mature bears. We also found gender dimorphisms in bear cortical bone properties: females have smaller, less porous bones than males. Our results provide further support for the idea that black bears possess a biological mechanism to prevent disuse osteoporosis.

  17. 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

    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...... 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...

  18. 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.

  19. Temporal trend of mercury in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard using teeth as a biomonitoring tissue.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aubail, Aurore; Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank; Sonne, Christian; Wiig, Øystein; Caurant, Florence

    2012-01-01

    We examined the use of mercury (Hg) and nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes in teeth of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard as biotracers of temporal changes in Hg pollution exposure between 1964 and 2003. Teeth were regarded as a good matrix of the Hg exposure, and in total 87 teeth of polar bears were analysed. Dental Hg levels ranged from 0.6 to 72.3 ng g(-1) dry weight and increased with age during the first 10 years of life. A decreasing time trend in Hg concentrations was observed over the recent four decades while no temporal changes were found in the stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ(15)N) and carbon (δ(13)C). This suggests that the decrease of Hg concentrations over time was more likely due to a lower environmental Hg exposure in this region rather than a shift in the feeding habits of Svalbard polar bears.

  20. 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.

  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. Foods and nutritional components of diets of black bear in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldwin, R.A.; Bender, L.C.

    2009-01-01

    We used scat analysis to determine diets and relative nutritional values of diets for black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, from 2003 to 2006, and compared foods consumed and nutritional components to identify important sources of fecal gross energy (GE), crude fat (CF), and fecal nitrogen (FN) in annual and seasonal diets. Patterns of use of food classes followed typical seasonal patterns for bears, although use of animal matter was among the highest reported (>49% annually). Use of animal matter increased after spring, although crude protein levels in bear diets were always >25%. GE was typically lowest for grasses and other herbaceous plants and highest for ants and ungulates; FN was strongly positively related to most animal sources, but negatively correlated with vegetative matter; and CF showed the strongest positive relationship with ungulates and berries, with the latter likely influenced by the presence of seeds. Compared with historic data (1984-1991), contemporary diets included substantially greater prevalence of anthropogenic foods, which likely contributed to increases in size, condition, and productivity of the contemporary bear population. Management strategies are needed to increase quantity and quality of natural foods while minimizing dependence on anthropogenic sources.

  3. Spatial distribution and size of small canopy gaps created by Japanese black bears: estimating gap size using dropped branch measurements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Takahashi, Kazuaki; Takahashi, Kaori

    2013-06-10

    Japanese black bears, a large-bodied omnivore, frequently create small gaps in the tree crown during fruit foraging. However, there are no previous reports of black bear-created canopy gaps. To characterize physical canopy disturbance by black bears, we examined a number of parameters, including the species of trees in which canopy gaps were created, gap size, the horizontal and vertical distribution of gaps, and the size of branches broken to create gaps. The size of black bear-created canopy gaps was estimated using data from branches that had been broken and dropped on the ground. The disturbance regime was characterized by a highly biased distribution of small canopy gaps on ridges, a large total overall gap area, a wide range in gap height relative to canopy height, and diversity in gap size. Surprisingly, the annual rate of bear-created canopy gap formation reached 141.3 m2 ha-1 yr-1 on ridges, which were hot spots in terms of black bear activity. This rate was approximately 6.6 times that of tree-fall gap formation on ridges at this study site. Furthermore, this rate was approximately two to three times that of common tree-fall gap formation in Japanese forests, as reported in other studies. Our findings suggest that the ecological interaction between black bears and fruit-bearing trees may create a unique light regime, distinct from that created by tree falls, which increases the availability of light resources to plants below the canopy.

  4. Integrated population modeling of black bears in Minnesota: implications for monitoring and management.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    John R Fieberg

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Wildlife populations are difficult to monitor directly because of costs and logistical challenges associated with collecting informative abundance data from live animals. By contrast, data on harvested individuals (e.g., age and sex are often readily available. Increasingly, integrated population models are used for natural resource management because they synthesize various relevant data into a single analysis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We investigated the performance of integrated population models applied to black bears (Ursus americanus in Minnesota, USA. Models were constructed using sex-specific age-at-harvest matrices (1980-2008, data on hunting effort and natural food supplies (which affects hunting success, and statewide mark-recapture estimates of abundance (1991, 1997, 2002. We compared this approach to Downing reconstruction, a commonly used population monitoring method that utilizes only age-at-harvest data. We first conducted a large-scale simulation study, in which our integrated models provided more accurate estimates of population trends than did Downing reconstruction. Estimates of trends were robust to various forms of model misspecification, including incorrectly specified cub and yearling survival parameters, age-related reporting biases in harvest data, and unmodeled temporal variability in survival and harvest rates. When applied to actual data on Minnesota black bears, the model predicted that harvest rates were negatively correlated with food availability and positively correlated with hunting effort, consistent with independent telemetry data. With no direct data on fertility, the model also correctly predicted 2-point cycles in cub production. Model-derived estimates of abundance for the most recent years provided a reasonable match to an empirical population estimate obtained after modeling efforts were completed. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Integrated population modeling provided a reasonable

  5. 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.

  6. Integrated population modeling of black bears in Minnesota: implications for monitoring and management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fieberg, John R; Shertzer, Kyle W; Conn, Paul B; Noyce, Karen V; Garshelis, David L

    2010-08-12

    Wildlife populations are difficult to monitor directly because of costs and logistical challenges associated with collecting informative abundance data from live animals. By contrast, data on harvested individuals (e.g., age and sex) are often readily available. Increasingly, integrated population models are used for natural resource management because they synthesize various relevant data into a single analysis. We investigated the performance of integrated population models applied to black bears (Ursus americanus) in Minnesota, USA. Models were constructed using sex-specific age-at-harvest matrices (1980-2008), data on hunting effort and natural food supplies (which affects hunting success), and statewide mark-recapture estimates of abundance (1991, 1997, 2002). We compared this approach to Downing reconstruction, a commonly used population monitoring method that utilizes only age-at-harvest data. We first conducted a large-scale simulation study, in which our integrated models provided more accurate estimates of population trends than did Downing reconstruction. Estimates of trends were robust to various forms of model misspecification, including incorrectly specified cub and yearling survival parameters, age-related reporting biases in harvest data, and unmodeled temporal variability in survival and harvest rates. When applied to actual data on Minnesota black bears, the model predicted that harvest rates were negatively correlated with food availability and positively correlated with hunting effort, consistent with independent telemetry data. With no direct data on fertility, the model also correctly predicted 2-point cycles in cub production. Model-derived estimates of abundance for the most recent years provided a reasonable match to an empirical population estimate obtained after modeling efforts were completed. Integrated population modeling provided a reasonable framework for synthesizing age-at-harvest data, periodic large-scale abundance estimates, and

  7. “It's Just a Matter of Time:” Lessons from Agency and Community Responses to Polar Bear-inflicted Human Injury

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Aimee L Schmidt

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Bear-inflicted human injuries or deaths are often widely publicised, controversial, and evoke substantial social responses that articulate public expectations about bear management. In this paper, we examine how local people and management agencies (i.e. Manitoba Conservation, Parks Canada, and the Town of Churchill responded to a polar bear-inflicted human injury in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. On November 1st, 2013, two people in Churchill were badly mauled by a polar bear. The incident shocked the community, highlighted problems such as a lack of bear safety education, and led to reviews of institutional policies for preventing polar bear-human conflicts. We used qualitative analysis methods to describe what is said (about polar bears, about people, and about management and what is done (changes in behaviours and changes in policies/practices when someone is attacked by a polar bear in Churchill. Results show that polar bear management agencies in Churchill respond remarkably well to errors in procedure, but are often unable to address the many underlying systematic drivers of polar bear-human conflict. Hence, managerial reactions to bear-human conflicts are successful at addressing the proximate cause of the problem, but offer few long-term solutions.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Bait stations, hard mast, and black bear population growth in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Joseph D.; van Manen, Frank T.; Pelton, Michael R.

    2005-01-01

    Bait-station surveys are used by wildlife managers as an index to American black bear (Ursus americanus) population abundance, but the relationship is not well established. Hard mast surveys are similarly used to assess annual black bear food availability which may affect mortality and natality rates. We used data collected in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) from 1989 to 2003 to determine whether changes in the bait-station index (ΔBSI) were associated with estimated rates of bear population growth (λ) and whether hard mast production was related to bear visitation to baits. We also evaluated whether hard mast production from previous years was related to λ. Estimates of λ were based on analysis of capture-recapture data with the Pradel temporal symmetry estimator. Using the Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC), our analysis revealed no direct relationship between ΔBSI and λ. A simulation analysis indicated that our data were adequate to detect a relationship had one existed. Model fit was marginally improved when we added total oak mast production of the previous year as an interaction term suggesting that the BSI was confounded with environmental variables. Consequently the utility of the bait-station survey as a population monitoring technique is questionable at the spatial and temporal scales we studied. Mast survey data, however, were valuable covariates of λ. Population growth for a given year was negatively related to oak mast production 4 and 5 years prior. That finding supported our hypothesis that mast failures can trigger reproductive synchrony, which may not be evident from the trapped sample until years later.

  13. Changes during hibernation in different phospholipid and free and esterified cholesterol serum levels in black bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chauhan, V.; Sheikh, A.; Chauhan, A.; Tsiouris, J.; Malik, M.; Vaughan, M.

    2002-01-01

    During hibernation, fat is known to be the preferred source of energy. A detailed analysis of different phospholipids, as well as free and esterified cholesterol, was conducted to investigate lipid abnormalities during hibernation. The levels of total phospholipids and total cholesterol in the serum of black bears were found to increase significantly in hibernation as compared with the active state. Both free and esterified cholesterol were increased in the hibernating state in comparison with the active state (P biologie mole??culaire. All rights reserved.

  14. Seasonal and annual movements of radio-collared polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) in northeast Greenland

    Science.gov (United States)

    Born, E. W.; Wiig, Ø.; Thomassen, J.

    1997-01-01

    The distribution and movements of polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) in the Northeast Water (NEW) area (NE Greenland) were studied from 28 May 1993 to 31 May 1995, using satellite telemetry. Between 28 May and 17 June 1993 satellite-linked radio transmitters were attached to eight adult females in the NEW area between approximately 79° and approximately 80°30'N. By 31 May 1995 the mean duration of transmission (excluding one radio that quit on day of attachment) was 688.4 days (SD = 65.1, range: 541-718 days). These seven females generally showed a high degree of fidelity to the area between 78° and 81°N and 10°W and the northeast Greenland coast. The average distance between capture site in 1993 and spring relocation site in 1994 and 1995 was 116.5 km (SD = 81.9, range: 3.8-210.7 km, N = 7) and 85.4 km (SD = 35.4, range: 38.7-121.8 km, N = 5), respectively. The minimum polygon home range estimates averaged 72,263 km 2 (SD = 71,059, range: 5,567-195,648 km 2, N = 7). Relocations were concentrated on the shore-fast ice and on the pack ice over the continental shelf. This local movement pattern may be facilitated by an anticyclonal gyre of the surface water between 78° and 81°N, and a slowing of the south-flowing East Greenland current. A male bear marked in 1993 at the NEW was taken by hunters in Scoresby Sund (approximately 70°N) in February 1995, indicating that some exchange does occur with southern areas of eastern Greenland. Maternity and temporary dens were located on the coast close to the NEW. Apparently the NEW area is suitable polar bear habitat, in that the bears have access to ringed seals on the fast ice, and on pack ice adjacent to the polynya.

  15. Unexpected attraction of polarotactic water-leaving insects to matt black car surfaces: mattness of paintwork cannot eliminate the polarized light pollution of black cars.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miklos Blaho

    Full Text Available The horizontally polarizing surface parts of shiny black cars (the reflection-polarization characteristics of which are similar to those of water surfaces at