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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 at risk

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Norris, S.; Rosentrater, L.; Eid, P.M. [WWF International Arctic Programme, Oslo (Norway)

    2002-05-01

    Polar bears, the world's largest terrestrial carnivore, spend much of their lives on the arctic sea ice. This is where they hunt and move between feeding, denning, and resting areas. The world population, estimated at 22,000 bears, is made up of 20 relatively distinct populations varying in size from a few hundred to a few thousand animals. About 60 per cent of all polar bears are found in Canada. In general, the status of this species is stable, although there are pronounced differences between populations. Reductions in the extent and thickness of sea ice has lead the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group to describe climate change as one of the major threats facing polar bears today. Though the long-term effects of climate change will vary in different areas of the Arctic, impacts on the condition and reproductive success of polar bears and their prey are likely to be negative. Longer ice-free periods resulting from earlier break-up of sea ice in the spring and later formation in the fall is already impacting polar bears in the southern portions of their range. In Canada's Hudson Bay, for example, bears hunt on the ice through the winter and into early summer, after which the ice melts completely, forcing bears ashore to fast on stored fat until freeze-up in the fall. The time bears have on the ice to hunt and build up their body condition is cut short when the ice melts early. Studies from Hudson Bay show that for every week earlier that ice break-up occurs, bears will come ashore 10 kg lighter and in poorer condition. It is likely that populations of polar bears dividing their time between land and sea will be severely reduced and local extinctions may occur as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and sea ice melts. Expected changes in regional weather patterns will also impact polar bears. Rain in the late winter can cause maternity dens to collapse before females and cubs have departed, thus exposing occupants to the elements and to predators. Such

  3. 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.

  4. 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...

  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. 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.

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Fractal analysis of polar bear hairs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wang Qing-Li

    2015-01-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Comments to a polar bear population model

    OpenAIRE

    Øritsland, Nils Are

    1985-01-01

    Larsen, T. & Ugland, K. I. (Polar Research 2 n.s., 117-118) note correctly that a Leslie matrix model treats cubs and females as independent units which is not the case for polar bears. Population projections using the Leslie model with hunting mortalities added are instructive first approximations in evaluations of field data, however, and are recommended as exercises also for polar bear biologists. An APL programme for such projections is available.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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...

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Local Support for Black Bear Recovery Strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morzillo, Anita T.; Mertig, Angela G.; Hollister, Jeffrey W.; Garner, Nathan; Liu, Jianguo

    2010-06-01

    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 strategies prior to public release of a black bear conservation and management plan for eastern Texas, United States. Data were collected from 1,006 residents living in proximity to potential recovery locations, particularly Big Thicket National Preserve. In addition to traditional logistic regression analysis, we used conditional probability analysis to statistically and visually evaluate probabilities of public support for potential black bear recovery strategies based on socioeconomic characteristics. Allowing black bears to repopulate the region on their own (i.e., without active reintroduction) was the recovery strategy with the greatest probability of acceptance. Recovery strategy acceptance was influenced by many socioeconomic factors. Older and long-time local residents were most likely to want to exclude black bears from the area. Concern about the problems that black bears may cause was the only variable significantly related to support or non-support across all strategies. Lack of personal knowledge about black bears was the most frequent reason for uncertainty about preferred strategy. In order to reduce local uncertainty about possible recovery strategies, we suggest that wildlife managers focus outreach efforts on providing local residents with general information about black bears, as well as information pertinent to minimizing the potential for human-black bear conflict.

  9. 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.

  10. Recent observations of intraspecific predation and cannibalism among polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.; Smith, T.S.; Perham, C.; Thiemann, G.W.

    2006-01-01

    Intraspecific killing has been reported among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus). Although cannibalism is one motivation for such killings, the ecological factors mediating such events are poorly understood. Between 24 January and 10 April 2004, we confirmed three instances of intraspecific predation and cannibalism in the Beaufort Sea. One of these, the first of this type ever reported for polar bears, was a parturient female killed at her maternal den. The predating bear was hunting in a known maternal denning area and apparently discovered the den by scent. A second predation event involved an adult female and cub recently emerged from their den, and the third involved a yearling male. During 24 years of research on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska and 34 years in northwestern Canada, we have not seen other incidents of polar bears stalking, killing, and eating other polar bears. We hypothesize that nutritional stresses related to the longer ice-free seasons that have occurred in the Beaufort Sea in recent years may have led to the cannibalism incidents we observed in 2004. ?? Springer-Verlag 2006.

  11. 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.

  12. 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...

  13. 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 (...

  14. Best management practices in counting urban black bears

    OpenAIRE

    Fusaro, Jonathan L.; Conner, Mary M.; Conover, Michael R.; Taylor, Timothy J.; Kenyon, Marc W., Jr.

    2017-01-01

    DNA-based capture-mark-recapture (CMR) techniques are commonly used to obtain population parameters of black bears (Ursus americanus) in rural and wildland landscapes; however, these techniques have not been implemented in urban clusters (i.e., 2,500 to 50,000 residents). Black bears can readily habituate to urban clusters, and wildlife managers need to monitor and manage these urban bear populations. We modified DNAbased CMR for black bear using hair-snares to take into account the small hom...

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Genomic Evidence of Widespread Admixture from Polar Bears into Brown Bears during the Last Ice Age.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cahill, James A; Heintzman, Peter D; Harris, Kelley; Teasdale, Matthew D; Kapp, Joshua; Soares, Andre E R; Stirling, Ian; Bradley, Daniel; Edwards, Ceiridwen J; Graim, Kiley; Kisleika, Aliaksandr A; Malev, Alexander V; Monaghan, Nigel; Green, Richard E; Shapiro, Beth

    2018-05-01

    Recent genomic analyses have provided substantial evidence for past periods of gene flow from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) into Alaskan brown bears (Ursus arctos), with some analyses suggesting a link between climate change and genomic introgression. However, because it has mainly been possible to sample bears from the present day, the timing, frequency, and evolutionary significance of this admixture remains unknown. Here, we analyze genomic DNA from three additional and geographically distinct brown bear populations, including two that lived temporally close to the peak of the last ice age. We find evidence of admixture in all three populations, suggesting that admixture between these species has been common in their recent evolutionary history. In addition, analyses of ten fossil bears from the now-extinct Irish population indicate that admixture peaked during the last ice age, whereas brown bear and polar bear ranges overlapped. Following this peak, the proportion of polar bear ancestry in Irish brown bears declined rapidly until their extinction. Our results support a model in which ice age climate change created geographically widespread conditions conducive to admixture between polar bears and brown bears, as is again occurring today. We postulate that this model will be informative for many admixing species pairs impacted by climate change. Our results highlight the power of paleogenomics to reveal patterns of evolutionary change that are otherwise masked in contemporary data.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Phylogeography of mitochondrial DNA variation in brown bears and polar bears

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shields, Gerald F.; Adams, Deborah; Garner, Gerald W.; Labelle, Martine; Pietsch, Jacy; Ramsay, Malcolm; Schwartz, Charles; Titus, Kimberly; Williamson, Scott

    2000-01-01

    We analyzed 286 nucleotides of the middle portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of 61 brown bears from three locations in Alaska and 55 polar bears from Arctic Canada and Arctic Siberia to test our earlier observations of paraphyly between polar bears and brown bears as well as to test the extreme uniqueness of mitochondrial DNA types of brown bears on Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof (ABC) islands of southeastern Alaska. We also investigated the phylogeography of brown bears of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula in relation to other Alaskan brown bears because the former are being threatened by increased human development. We predicted that: (1) mtDNA paraphyly between brown bears and polar bears would be upheld, (2) the mtDNA uniqueness of brown bears of the ABC islands would be upheld, and (3) brown bears of the Kenai Peninsula would belong to either clade II or clade III of brown bears of our earlier studies of mtDNA. All of our predictions were upheld through the analysis of these additional samples.

  3. Phylogeography of mitochondrial DNA variation in brown bears and polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shields, G F; Adams, D; Garner, G; Labelle, M; Pietsch, J; Ramsay, M; Schwartz, C; Titus, K; Williamson, S

    2000-05-01

    We analyzed 286 nucleotides of the middle portion of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene of 61 brown bears from three locations in Alaska and 55 polar bears from Arctic Canada and Arctic Siberia to test our earlier observations of paraphyly between polar bears and brown bears as well as to test the extreme uniqueness of mitochondrial DNA types of brown bears on Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof (ABC) islands of southeastern Alaska. We also investigated the phylogeography of brown bears of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula in relation to other Alaskan brown bears because the former are being threatened by increased human development. We predicted that: (1) mtDNA paraphyly between brown bears and polar bears would be upheld, (2) the mtDNA uniqueness of brown bears of the ABC islands would be upheld, and (3) brown bears of the Kenai Peninsula would belong to either clade II or clade III of brown bears of our earlier studies of mtDNA. All of our predictions were upheld through the analysis of these additional samples. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Comment on "Nuclear genomic sequences reveal that polar bears are an old and distinct bear lineage".

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nakagome, Shigeki; Mano, Shuhei; Hasegawa, Masami

    2013-03-29

    Based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA, Hailer et al. (Reports, 20 April 2012, p. 344) suggested early divergence of polar bears from a common ancestor with brown bears and subsequent introgression. Our population genetic analysis that traces each of the genealogies in the independent nuclear loci does not support the evolutionary model proposed by the authors.

  9. Polar Bear Population Status in the Southern Beaufort Sea

    Science.gov (United States)

    Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, Ian

    2006-01-01

    Polar bears depend entirely on sea ice for survival. In recent years, a warming climate has caused major changes in the Arctic sea ice environment, leading to concerns regarding the status of polar bear populations. Here we present findings from long-term studies of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) region of the U.S. and Canada, which are relevant to these concerns. We applied open population capture-recapture models to data collected from 2001 to 2006, and estimated there were 1,526 (95% CI = 1,211; 1,841) polar bears in the SBS region in 2006. The number of polar bears in this region was previously estimated to be approximately 1,800. Because precision of earlier estimates was low, our current estimate of population size and the earlier ones cannot be statistically differentiated. For the 2001-06 period, the best fitting capture-recapture model provided estimates of total apparent survival of 0.43 for cubs of the year (COYs), and 0.92 for all polar bears older than COYs. Because the survival rates for older polar bears included multiple sex and age strata, they could not be compared to previous estimates. Survival rates for COYs, however, were significantly lower than estimates derived in earlier studies (P = 0.03). The lower survival of COYs was corroborated by a comparison of the number of COYs per adult female for periods before (1967-89) and after (1990-2006) the winter of 1989-90, when warming temperatures and altered atmospheric circulation caused an abrupt change in sea ice conditions in the Arctic basin. In the latter period, there were significantly more COYs per adult female in the spring (P = 0.02), and significantly fewer COYs per adult female in the autumn (P adult males captured from 1990 to 2006 were smaller than those captured before 1990. The smaller stature of males was especially notable because it corresponded with a higher mean age of adult males. Male polar bears continue to grow into their teens, and if adequately nourished

  10. 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.

  11. 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 fruit trees, appear to be more important than the availability of garbage in influencing when bears forage near houses.

  12. Mercury and cortisol in Western Hudson Bay polar bear hair.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshoft, T; Derocher, A E; Richardson, E; Mislan, P; Lunn, N J; Sonne, C; Dietz, R; Janz, D M; St Louis, V L

    2015-08-01

    Non-invasive methods of assessing animal health and life history are becoming increasingly popular in wildlife research; hair samples from polar bears (Ursus maritimus), are being used to study an ever broader range of anthropogenic and endocrine compounds. A number of contaminants are known to disrupt endocrine function in polar bears. However, the relationship between mercury and cortisol remains unknown, although mercury is an endocrine disruptor in other species. Here, we examine the relationship between concentrations of cortisol and total mercury (THg) analyzed in guard hair from 378 polar bears (184 females, 194 males) sampled in Western Hudson Bay, 2004-2012. The difference in mean cortisol concentration between female (0.8 ± 0.6 pg/mg) and male (0.7 ± 0.5 pg/mg) polar bears bordered on significance (p = 0.054). However, mean mercury concentration was significantly greater (p = 0.009) in females (4.7 ± 1.4 μg/g) than males (4.3 ± 1.2 μg/g). Hair cortisol in males was significantly influenced by mercury, age, and fatness, as well as interactions between mercury and year, mercury and fatness, and year and fatness (all: p polar bears.

  13. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-11-24

    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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Black bears in Arkansas: Characteristics of a successful translocation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Kimberly G.; Clark, Joseph D.

    1994-01-01

    In 1958, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began translocating black bears (Ursus americanus) from Minnesota to the Interior Highlands (Ozark and Ouachita mountains) of Arkansas where bears had been extirpated early in this century. This project continued for 11 years with little public imput, during which time an estimated 254 bears were released. We estimate there are now >2,500 bears in the Interior Highlands of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, making it one of the most successful translocations of a Carnivora. Factors that contributed to the success include use of wild-captured animals, elimination of major factors associated with extirpation, release into prime habitats within the former range, multiple release sites, release of 20–40 animals/year for eight years, and release of mostly males prior to release of mostly females. Studies on two allopatric populations demonstrate that they are now diverging in some demographic characteristics, including litter size, cub survivorship, and adult sex-ratio. Translocation of black bears to the Interior Highlands is successful in terms of numbers of animals, but it will not be truly successful until people accept black bears as part of the regional fauna. To that end, those associated with management and research of bears in Arkansas are now focussing on public education and control of nuisance bears.

  18. 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.

  19. What Colour Is a Polar Bear's Skin?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Truchot, Sandrine; Weber, Agathe

    2005-01-01

    The association "Participe Futur", based in France, has set up a fantastic sailing and educational adventure with the help of the International Polar Foundation. A group of scientists left the South of France on 20 March 2005 on a sailing boat named "Alcyon". They will be on board for nine months, travelling all the way from…

  20. 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.

  1. UV ionospheric remote sensing with the Polar BEAR satellite

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Delgreco, F.P.; Eastes, R.W.; Huffman, R.E.

    1989-01-01

    The Polar BEAR satellite carries the Auroral Ionospheric Remote Sensor (AIRS) instrument, which is designed to return four simultaneous images of atmospheric radiation at northern latitudes, has thus far yielded over 5000 images. Polar BEAR was in operation during March, 1987, when the preliminary K(p) reached a value of 9 over a six-hour period; at that time, AIRS was operating at the 1304 A atomic oxygen wavelength and recorded remarkable data, which are here presented. Due to the intense activity, the AIRS data were barely able to register the poleward edge of the aurora. 6 refs

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Density of American black bears in New Mexico

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gould, Matthew J.; Cain, James W.; Roemer, Gary W.; Gould, William R.; Liley, Stewart

    2018-01-01

    Considering advances in noninvasive genetic sampling and spatially explicit capture–recapture (SECR) models, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish sought to update their density estimates for American black bear (Ursus americanus) populations in New Mexico, USA, to aide in setting sustainable harvest limits. We estimated black bear density in the Sangre de Cristo, Sandia, and Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico, 2012–2014. We collected hair samples from black bears using hair traps and bear rubs and used a sex marker and a suite of microsatellite loci to individually genotype hair samples. We then estimated density in a SECR framework using sex, elevation, land cover type, and time to model heterogeneity in detection probability and the spatial scale over which detection probability declines. We sampled the populations using 554 hair traps and 117 bear rubs and collected 4,083 hair samples. We identified 725 (367 male, 358 female) individuals. Our density estimates varied from 16.5 bears/100 km2 (95% CI = 11.6–23.5) in the southern Sacramento Mountains to 25.7 bears/100 km2 (95% CI = 13.2–50.1) in the Sandia Mountains. Overall, detection probability at the activity center (g0) was low across all study areas and ranged from 0.00001 to 0.02. The low values of g0 were primarily a result of half of all hair samples for which genotypes were attempted failing to produce a complete genotype. We speculate that the low success we had genotyping hair samples was due to exceedingly high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that degraded the DNA in the hair. Despite sampling difficulties, we were able to produce density estimates with levels of precision comparable to those estimated for black bears elsewhere in the United States.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. 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....

  13. 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....

  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. 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...

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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)…

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Liu, Shiping; Lorenzen, Eline; 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 sho...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Predicting climate change impacts on polar bear litter size.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnár, Péter K; Derocher, Andrew E; Klanjscek, Tin; Lewis, Mark A

    2011-02-08

    Predicting the ecological impacts of climate warming is critical for species conservation. Incorporating future warming into population models, however, is challenging because reproduction and survival cannot be measured for yet unobserved environmental conditions. In this study, we use mechanistic energy budget models and data obtainable under current conditions to predict polar bear litter size under future conditions. In western Hudson Bay, we predict climate warming-induced litter size declines that jeopardize population viability: ∼28% of pregnant females failed to reproduce for energetic reasons during the early 1990s, but 40-73% could fail if spring sea ice break-up occurs 1 month earlier than during the 1990s, and 55-100% if break-up occurs 2 months earlier. Simultaneously, mean litter size would decrease by 22-67% and 44-100%, respectively. The expected timeline for these declines varies with climate-model-specific sea ice predictions. Similar litter size declines may occur in over one-third of the global polar bear population.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  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, 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

  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.

  2. 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

  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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  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..., by unanimous vote, the U.S.-Russia Polar Bear Commission established by the ``Agreement Between the... and Management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population,'' signed at Washington, DC, on October 16...

  11. 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...

  12. 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.

  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

    2013-01-01

    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

  14. Implications of rapid environmental change for polar bear behavior and sociality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atwood, Todd C.

    2017-01-01

    Historically, the Arctic sea ice has functioned as a structural barrier that has limited the nature and extent of interactions between humans and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). However, declining sea ice extent, brought about by global climate change, is increasing the potential for human-polar bear interactions. Loss of sea ice habitat is driving changes to both human and polar bear behavior—it is facilitating increases in human activities (e.g., offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, trans-Arctic shipping, recreation), while also causing the displacement of bears from preferred foraging habitat (i.e., sea ice over biologically productive shallow) to land in some portions of their range. The end result of these changes is that polar bears are spending greater amounts of time in close proximity to people. Coexistence between humans and polar bears will require imposing mechanisms to manage further development, as well as mitigation strategies that reduce the burden to local communities.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Ceiridwen J; Suchard, Marc A; Lemey, Philippe; Welch, John J; Barnes, Ian; Fulton, Tara L; Barnett, Ross; O'Connell, Tamsin C; Coxon, Peter; Monaghan, Nigel; Valdiosera, Cristina E; Lorenzen, Eline D; Willerslev, Eske; Baryshnikov, Gennady F; Rambaut, Andrew; Thomas, Mark G; Bradley, Daniel G; Shapiro, Beth

    2011-08-09

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are among those species most susceptible to the rapidly changing arctic climate, and their survival is of global concern. Despite this, little is known about polar bear species history. Future conservation strategies would significantly benefit from an understanding of basic evolutionary information, such as the timing and conditions of their initial divergence from brown bears (U. arctos) or their response to previous environmental change. We used a spatially explicit phylogeographic model to estimate the dynamics of 242 brown bear and polar bear matrilines sampled throughout the last 120,000 years and across their present and past geographic ranges. Our results show that the present distribution of these matrilines was shaped by a combination of regional stability and rapid, long-distance dispersal from ice-age refugia. In addition, hybridization between polar bears and brown bears may have occurred multiple times throughout the Late Pleistocene. The reconstructed matrilineal history of brown and polar bears has two striking features. First, it is punctuated by dramatic and discrete climate-driven dispersal events. Second, opportunistic mating between these two species as their ranges overlapped has left a strong genetic imprint. In particular, a likely genetic exchange with extinct Irish brown bears forms the origin of the modern polar bear matriline. This suggests that interspecific hybridization not only may be more common than previously considered but may be a mechanism by which species deal with marginal habitats during periods of environmental deterioration. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. 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

  20. 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 ...

  1. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2004-01-01

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

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

    OpenAIRE

    Ji-Huan He; Zheng-Biao Li; Qing-li Wang

    2016-01-01

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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, ...

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. 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

  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. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  18. 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. 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.

  20. Projected polar bear sea ice habitat in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Stephen G Hamilton

    Full Text Available Sea ice across the Arctic is declining and altering physical characteristics of marine ecosystems. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus have been identified as vulnerable to changes in sea ice conditions. We use sea ice projections for the Canadian Arctic Archipelago from 2006 - 2100 to gain insight into the conservation challenges for polar bears with respect to habitat loss using metrics developed from polar bear energetics modeling.Shifts away from multiyear ice to annual ice cover throughout the region, as well as lengthening ice-free periods, may become critical for polar bears before the end of the 21st century with projected warming. Each polar bear population in the Archipelago may undergo 2-5 months of ice-free conditions, where no such conditions exist presently. We identify spatially and temporally explicit ice-free periods that extend beyond what polar bears require for nutritional and reproductive demands.Under business-as-usual climate projections, polar bears may face starvation and reproductive failure across the entire Archipelago by the year 2100.

  1. 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.

  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. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  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

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

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiaqi Wu

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

  12. 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).

  13. 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.

  14. 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).

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Mayer, Jens; Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Heeger, Felix

    2013-01-01

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

  19. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harvey, Jeffrey A; van den Berg, Daphne; Ellers, Jacintha; Kampen, Remko; Crowther, Thomas W; Roessingh, Peter; Verheggen, Bart; Nuijten, Rascha J M; Post, Eric; Lewandowsky, Stephan; Stirling, Ian; Balgopal, Meena; Amstrup, Steven C; Mann, Michael E

    2018-04-01

    Increasing surface temperatures, Arctic sea-ice loss, and other evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are acknowledged by every major scientific organization in the world. However, there is a wide gap between this broad scientific consensus and public opinion. Internet blogs have strongly contributed to this consensus gap by fomenting misunderstandings of AGW causes and consequences. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have become a "poster species" for AGW, making them a target of those denying AGW evidence. Here, focusing on Arctic sea ice and polar bears, we show that blogs that deny or downplay AGW disregard the overwhelming scientific evidence of Arctic sea-ice loss and polar bear vulnerability. By denying the impacts of AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap. To counter misinformation and reduce this gap, scientists should directly engage the public in the media and blogosphere.

  1. Spatiotemporal polarization gradients in phase-bearing light

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lembessis, V. E.; Babiker, M.

    2010-01-01

    It is shown how the interference of two circularly polarized laser beams endowed with orbital angular momentum can give rise to spatial and temporal polarization gradients, displaying axial as well as angular symmetry properties. Illustrations are given with reference to circularly polarized Laguerre-Gaussian beams as typical light beams carrying orbital angular momentum.

  2. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Durner, George M.; Douglas, David 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

  4. 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...

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

    OpenAIRE

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Summer declines in activity and body temperature offer polar bears limited energy savings

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, J.P.; Harlow, H.J.; Durner, George M.; Anderson-Sprecher, R.; Albeke, Shannon E.; Regehr, Eric V.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, M.

    2015-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) summer on the sea ice or, where it melts, on shore. Although the physiology of “ice” bears in summer is unknown, “shore” bears purportedly minimize energy losses by entering a hibernation-like state when deprived of food. Such a strategy could partially compensate for the loss of on-ice foraging opportunities caused by climate change. However, here we report gradual, moderate declines in activity and body temperature of both shore and ice bears in summer, resembling energy expenditures typical of fasting, nonhibernating mammals. Also, we found that to avoid unsustainable heat loss while swimming, bears employed unusual heterothermy of the body core. Thus, although well adapted to seasonal ice melt, polar bears appear susceptible to deleterious declines in body condition during the lengthening period of summer food deprivation.

  7. Animal physiology. Summer declines in activity and body temperature offer polar bears limited energy savings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, J P; Harlow, H J; Durner, G M; Anderson-Sprecher, R; Albeke, S E; Regehr, E V; Amstrup, S C; Ben-David, M

    2015-07-17

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) summer on the sea ice or, where it melts, on shore. Although the physiology of "ice" bears in summer is unknown, "shore" bears purportedly minimize energy losses by entering a hibernation-like state when deprived of food. Such a strategy could partially compensate for the loss of on-ice foraging opportunities caused by climate change. However, here we report gradual, moderate declines in activity and body temperature of both shore and ice bears in summer, resembling energy expenditures typical of fasting, nonhibernating mammals. Also, we found that to avoid unsustainable heat loss while swimming, bears employed unusual heterothermy of the body core. Thus, although well adapted to seasonal ice melt, polar bears appear susceptible to deleterious declines in body condition during the lengthening period of summer food deprivation. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  8. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cattet, Marc R L; Obbard, Martyn E

    2010-01-01

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

  10. Identifying polar bear resource selection patterns to inform offshore development in a dynamic and changing Arctic

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R.; Horne, Jon S.; Rode, Karyn D.; Regehr, Eric V.; Durner, George M.

    2014-01-01

    Although sea ice loss is the primary threat to polar bears (Ursus maritimus), little can be done to mitigate its effects without global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other factors, however, could exacerbate the impacts of sea ice loss on polar bears, such as exposure to increased industrial activity. The Arctic Ocean has enormous oil and gas potential, and its development is expected to increase in the coming decades. Estimates of polar bear resource selection will inform managers how bears use areas slated for oil development and to help guide conservation planning. We estimated temporally-varying resource selection patterns for non-denning adult female polar bears in the Chukchi Sea population (2008–2012) at two scales (i.e., home range and weekly steps) to identify factors predictive of polar bear use throughout the year, before any offshore development. From the best models at each scale, we estimated scale-integrated resource selection functions to predict polar bear space use across the population's range and determined when bears were most likely to use the region where offshore oil and gas development in the United States is slated to occur. Polar bears exhibited significant intra-annual variation in selection patterns at both scales but the strength and annual patterns of selection differed between scales for most variables. Bears were most likely to use the offshore oil and gas planning area during ice retreat and growth with the highest predicted use occurring in the southern portion of the planning area. The average proportion of predicted high-value habitat in the planning area was >15% of the total high-value habitat for the population during sea ice retreat and growth and reached a high of 50% during November 2010. Our results provide a baseline on which to judge future changes to non-denning adult female polar bear resource selection in the Chukchi Sea and help guide offshore development in the region. Lastly, our study provides a

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-11-29

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2012-01-01

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yasukochi Yoshiki

    2012-11-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ...

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D.; Peacock, Elizabeth; Taylor, Mitchell K.; Stirling, Ian; Born, Erik W.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Wiig, Øystein

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Testing methods for using high-resolution satellite imagery to monitor polar bear abundance and distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaRue, Michelle A.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Porter, Claire; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Atwood, Todd C.; Dyck, Markus; Lecomte, Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution satellite imagery is a promising tool for providing coarse information about polar species abundance and distribution, but current applications are limited. With polar bears (Ursus maritimus), the technique has only proven effective on landscapes with little topographic relief that are devoid of snow and ice, and time-consuming manual review of imagery is required to identify bears. Here, we evaluated mechanisms to further develop methods for satellite imagery by examining data from Rowley Island, Canada. We attempted to automate and expedite detection via a supervised spectral classification and image differencing to expedite image review. We also assessed what proportion of a region should be sampled to obtain reliable estimates of density and abundance. Although the spectral signature of polar bears differed from nontarget objects, these differences were insufficient to yield useful results via a supervised classification process. Conversely, automated image differencing—or subtracting one image from another—correctly identified nearly 90% of polar bear locations. This technique, however, also yielded false positives, suggesting that manual review will still be required to confirm polar bear locations. On Rowley Island, bear distribution approximated a Poisson distribution across a range of plot sizes, and resampling suggests that sampling >50% of the site facilitates reliable estimation of density (CV large-scale applications remain limited because of the challenges in automation and the limited environments in which the method can be effectively applied. Improvements in resolution may expand opportunities for its future uses.

  11. 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.

  12. 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).

  13. Does taurine deficiency cause metabolic bone disease and rickets in polar bear cubs raised in captivity?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chesney, Russell W; Hedberg, Gail E; Rogers, Quinton R; Dierenfeld, Ellen S; Hollis, Bruce E; Derocher, Andrew; Andersen, Magnus

    2009-01-01

    Rickets and fractures have been reported in captive polar bears. Taurine (TAU) is key for the conjugation of ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), a bile acid unique to bears. Since TAU-conjugated UDCA optimizes fat and fat-soluble vitamin absorption, we asked if TAU deficiency could cause vitamin D malabsorption and lead to metabolic bone disease in captive polar bears. We measured TAU levels in plasma (P) and whole blood (WB) from captive and free-ranging cubs and adults, and vitamin D3 and TAU concentrations in milk samples from lactating sows. Plasma and WB TAU levels were significantly higher in cubs vs captive and free-ranging adult bears. Vitamin D in polar bear milk was 649.2 +/- 569.2 IU/L, similar to that found in formula. The amount of TAU in polar bear milk is 3166.4 +/- 771 nmol/ml, 26-fold higher than in formula. Levels of vitamin D in bear milk and formula as well as in plasma do not indicate classical nutritional vitamin D deficiency. Higher dietary intake of TAU by free-ranging cubs may influence bile acid conjugation and improve vitamin D absorption.

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Comparison of methanol and isopropanol as wash solvents for determination of hair cortisol concentration in grizzly bears and polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kroshko, Thomas; Kapronczai, Luciene; Cattet, Marc R L; Macbeth, Bryan J; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Obbard, Martyn E; Janz, David M

    2017-01-01

    Methodological differences among laboratories are recognized as significant sources of variation in quantification of hair cortisol concentration (HCC). An important step in processing hair, particularly when collected from wildlife, is the choice of solvent used to remove or "wash" external hair shaft cortisol prior to quantification of HCC. The present study systematically compared methanol and isopropanol as wash solvents for their efficiency at removing external cortisol without extracting internal hair shaft cortisol in samples collected from free-ranging grizzly bears and polar bears. Cortisol concentrations in solvents and hair were determined in each of one to eight washes of hair with each solvent independently. •There were no significant decreases in internal hair shaft cortisol among all eight washes for either solvent, although methanol removed detectable hair surface cortisol after one wash in grizzly bear hair whereas hair surface cortisol was detected in all eight isopropanol washes.•There were no significant differences in polar bear HCC washed one to eight times with either solvent, but grizzly bear HCC was significantly greater in hair washed with isopropanol compared to methanol.•There were significant differences in HCC quantified using different commercial ELISA kits commonly used for HCC determinations.

  19. 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...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. The temporal and geographical mercury patterns in polar bears and birds of prey

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dietz, R.; Riget, F.; Olsen, M.T.

    2004-01-01

    Mercury compounds are bio-accumulated. As a consequence the highest levels of mercury are measured in top predators like seals, toothed whales, polar bears, and also humans. The main mercury source for humans is the diet but the processes that links emission with effects through the transport chain...... and seals. The coupling between transport pathways of carbon and mercury is weak at lower trophic levels. A substantial decrease of Hg concentrations in teeth and hair of polar bears since 1960 was found. Hg concentrations in hair of polar bears sampled in East Greenland during 1999-2001 was 8.3 times...... a new parameterisation of the removal of atmospheric mercury for Danish Eulerian Hemispheric Model (DEHM) and to validate the model. As a first estimate about 200 tons/year is deposited to the surface north of polar circle. In undisturbed sediment cores the mercury concentration and the mercury...

  3. 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.

  4. Age and sex composition of seals killed by polar bears in the eastern Beaufort Sea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas W Pilfold

    Full Text Available Polar bears (Ursus maritimus of the Beaufort Sea enter hyperphagia in spring and gain fat reserves to survive periods of low prey availability. We collected information on seals killed by polar bears (n=650 and hunting attempts on ringed seal (Pusa hispida lairs (n=1396 observed from a helicopter during polar bear mark-recapture studies in the eastern Beaufort Sea in spring in 1985-2011. We investigated how temporal shifts in ringed seal reproduction affect kill composition and the intraspecific vulnerabilities of ringed seals to polar bear predation.Polar bears primarily preyed on ringed seals (90.2% while bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus only comprised 9.8% of the kills, but 33% of the biomass. Adults comprised 43.6% (150/344 of the ringed seals killed, while their pups comprised 38.4% (132/344. Juvenile ringed seals were killed at the lowest proportion, comprising 18.0% (62/344 of the ringed seal kills. The proportion of ringed seal pups was highest between 2007-2011, in association with high ringed seal productivity. Half of the adult ringed seal kills were ≥ 21 years (60/121, and kill rates of adults increased following the peak of parturition. Determination of sex from DNA revealed that polar bears killed adult male and adult female ringed seals equally (0.50, n=78. The number of hunting attempts at ringed seal subnivean lair sites was positively correlated with the number of pup kills (r(2 =0.30, P=0.04, but was not correlated with the number of adult kills (P=0.37.Results are consistent with decadal trends in ringed seal productivity, with low numbers of pups killed by polar bears in spring in years of low pup productivity, and conversely when pup productivity was high. Vulnerability of adult ringed seals to predation increased in relation to reproductive activities and age, but not gender.

  5. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1998-10-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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 E.; Stern, Harry; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Wiig, Øystein

    2016-01-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. Invariant polar bear habitat selection during a period of sea ice loss.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R; Regehr, Eric V; Rode, Karyn D; St Martin, Michelle

    2016-08-17

    Climate change is expected to alter many species' habitat. A species' ability to adjust to these changes is partially determined by their ability to adjust habitat selection preferences to new environmental conditions. Sea ice loss has forced polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to spend longer periods annually over less productive waters, which may be a primary driver of population declines. A negative population response to greater time spent over less productive water implies, however, that prey are not also shifting their space use in response to sea ice loss. We show that polar bear habitat selection in the Chukchi Sea has not changed between periods before and after significant sea ice loss, leading to a 75% reduction of highly selected habitat in summer. Summer was the only period with loss of highly selected habitat, supporting the contention that summer will be a critical period for polar bears as sea ice loss continues. Our results indicate that bears are either unable to shift selection patterns to reflect new prey use patterns or that there has not been a shift towards polar basin waters becoming more productive for prey. Continued sea ice loss is likely to further reduce habitat with population-level consequences for polar bears. © 2016 The Author(s).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-02-15

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Invariant polar bear habitat selection during a period of sea ice loss

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Ryan R.; Regehr, Eric V.; Rode, Karyn D.; St Martin, Michelle

    2016-01-01

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Response to comment on "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; Fain, Steven R; Leonard, Jennifer A; Arnason, Ulfur; Janke, Axel

    2013-03-29

    Nakagome et al. reanalyzed some of our data and assert that we cannot refute the mitochondrial DNA-based scenario for polar bear evolution. Their single-locus test statistic is strongly affected by introgression and incomplete lineage sorting, whereas our multilocus approaches are better suited to recover the true species relationships. Indeed, our sister-lineage model receives high support in a Bayesian model comparison.

  5. 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. 

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oakley, K.; Whalen, M.; Douglas, David C.; Udevitz, Mark S.; Atwood, Todd C.; Jay, C.

    2012-01-01

    The Arctic is warming faster than other regions of the world due to positive climate feedbacks associated with loss of snow and ice. One highly visible consequence has been a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice over the past 3 decades - a decline projected to continue and result in ice-free summers likely as soon as 2030. The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) are dependent on sea ice over the continental shelves of the Arctic Ocean's marginal seas. The continental shelves are shallow regions with high biological productivity, supporting abundant marine life within the water column and on the sea floor. Polar bears use sea ice as a platform for hunting ice seals; walruses use sea ice as a resting platform between dives to forage for clams and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates. How have sea ice changes affected polar bears and walruses? How will anticipated changes affect them in the future?

  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. 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...

  15. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Deweaver, E.T.; Douglas, David C.; Marcot, B.G.; Durner, George M.; Bitz, C.M.; Bailey, D.A.

    2010-01-01

    On the basis of projected losses of their essential sea-ice habitats, a United States Geological Survey research team concluded in 2007 that two-thirds of the worlds polar bears (Ursus maritimus) could disappear by mid-century if business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions continue. That projection, however, did not consider the possible benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation. A key question is whether temperature increases lead to proportional losses of sea-ice habitat, or whether sea-ice cover crosses a tipping point and irreversibly collapses when temperature reaches a critical threshold. Such a tipping point would mean future greenhouse gas mitigation would confer no conservation benefits to polar bears. Here we show, using a general circulation model, that substantially more sea-ice habitat would be retained if greenhouse gas rise is mitigated. We also show, with Bayesian network model outcomes, that increased habitat retention under greenhouse gas mitigation means that polar bears could persist throughout the century in greater numbers and more areas than in the business-as-usual case. Our general circulation model outcomes did not reveal thresholds leading to irreversible loss of ice; instead, a linear relationship between global mean surface air temperature and sea-ice habitat substantiated the hypothesis that sea-ice thermodynamics can overcome albedo feedbacks proposed to cause sea-ice tipping points. Our outcomes indicate that rapid summer ice losses in models and observations represent increased volatility of a thinning sea-ice cover, rather than tipping-point behaviour. Mitigation-driven Bayesian network outcomes show that previously predicted declines in polar bear distribution and numbers are not unavoidable. Because polar bears are sentinels of the Arctic marine ecosystem and trends in their sea-ice habitats foreshadow future global changes, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions to improve polar bear status would have conservation benefits throughout

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Hair Mercury Concentrations in Western Hudson Bay Polar Bear Family Groups.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bechshoft, Thea; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan; Lunn, Nicholas J; St Louis, Vincent L

    2016-05-17

    Methylmercury is one of the more toxic forms of mercury (Hg), the biomagnification of which is prevalent in the Arctic where apex predators such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can carry high loads. The maternal transfer of contaminants to offspring is a concern, as offspring may be particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants during early development. However, few studies of polar bears report on Hg in dependent young. We examined hair total Hg (THg) concentrations in 24 polar bear family groups in western Hudson Bay: mother, cub-of-the-year (COY), yearling, and 2 year old. THg concentrations increased with bear age, with COYs having lower concentrations than other offspring groups (p ≤ 0.008). Using AICc-based regression models, we found maternal THg to be positively related to body condition and litter size, while overall offspring THg was positively related to maternal body condition in addition to being dependent on the sex and age of the offspring. COY THg concentrations were positively related to maternal THg while also depending on the sex of the offspring. Considering our results, future studies in polar bear ecotoxicology are encouraged to include offspring of different ages and sexes.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2017-01-01

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

  3. 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.

  4. American black bears and bee yard depredation at Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-01-01

    We studied American black bears (Ursus americanus), on the northwest periphery of Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia, to assess landowner attitudes toward bears, estimate the extent of damage to commercial honey bee operations by bears, and evaluate methods to reduce bear depredations to apiaries. We collected 8,351 black bear radiolocations and identified 51 bee yards on our study area. Twenty-seven of 43 home ranges contained ≥1 bee yard, averaging 11.3 and 5.1 bee yards/home range of males (n = 7) and females (n = 20), respectively. From 1996 to 1998, we documented 7 instances of bears raiding bee yards within our study area and 6 instances in adjacent areas. All but 1 of the 13 raided yards were enclosed by electric fencing. In the 12 cases of damage to electrically fenced yards, however, the fences were not active because of depleted batteries. Based on compositional analysis, bear use of areas 800–1,400 m from bee yards was disproportionately greater than use 0–800 m from bee yards. Bears disproportionately used bay (red bay: Persea borbonia, loblolly bay: Gordonia lasianthus, and southern magnolia: Magnolia virginia), gum (water tupelo: Nyssa aquatic and black gum: N. sylvatica), and cypress (Taxodium spp.) and loblolly bay habitats, however, compared with slash pine (Pinus elliottii) or pine–oak (Quercus spp.), where bee yards usually were placed. The distribution of bear radiolocations likely reflected the use of those swamp and riparian areas, rather than avoidance of bee yards. Distances to streams from damaged bee yards (x̄ = 1,750 m) were less than from undamaged yards (x̄ = 4,442 m), and damaged bee yards were closer to unimproved roads (x̄ = 134 m) than were undamaged bee yards (x̄ = 802 m). Our analysis suggests that bee yard placement away from bear travel routes (such as streams and unimproved roads) can reduce bear depredation problems. Our results strongly indicate that working electric fences are effective deterrents to bear

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Long range radio tracking of sea turtles and polar bear: Instrumentation and preliminary results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baldwin, H. A.

    1972-01-01

    Instrumentation developed for studies of path behavior of the green sea turtle and migration movement of polar bear is described. Preliminary results bearing on navigation ability in these species are presented. Both species operate in difficult environments, and the problems faced in the design of electronic instrumentation for these studies are not completely specified at this time. However, the critical factors yet to be understood are primarily related to the behavior of instrumented animals. The data obtained with these experimental techniques are included, first to illustrate the technique and, second to provide initial preliminary results bearing on animal navigation.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Temporal complexity of southern Beaufort Sea polar bear diets during a period of increasing land use

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    From 2000 to 2013, use of land as a seasonal habitat by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea (SB) subpopulation substantially increased. This onshore use has been linked to reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice, as well as to the availability of subsistence‐harvested bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) bone piles. Here, we evaluated the role of climate conditions on consumption of traditional ice‐associated prey relative to onshore bowhead whale bone piles. We determined seasonal and interannual trends in the diets of SB polar bears using fatty acid‐based analysis during this period of increasing land use. Diet estimates of 569 SB polar bears from 2004 to 2012 showed high seasonal fluctuations in the proportions of prey consumed. Higher proportions of bowhead whale, as well as ringed seal (Pusa hispida) and beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), were estimated to occur in the winter–spring diet, while higher proportions of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) were estimated for summer–fall diets. Trends in the annual mean proportions of individual prey items were not found in either period, except for significant declines in the proportion of beluga in spring‐sampled bears. Nonetheless, in years following a high winter Arctic oscillation index, proportions of ice‐associated ringed seal were lower in the winter–spring diets of adult females and juveniles. Proportions of bowhead increased in the winter–spring diets of adult males with the number of ice‐free days over the continental shelf. In one or both seasons, polar bears that were in better condition were estimated to have consumed less ringed seal and/or more bowhead whale than those in worse condition. Therefore, climate variation over this recent period appeared to influence the extent of onshore vs. on‐ice food use, which in turn, appeared to be linked to fluctuating condition of SB polar bears.

  14. Heritability of body size in the polar bears of Western Hudson Bay.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malenfant, René M; Davis, Corey S; Richardson, Evan S; Lunn, Nicholas J; Coltman, David W

    2018-04-18

    Among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), fitness is dependent on body size through males' abilities to win mates, females' abilities to provide for their young and all bears' abilities to survive increasingly longer fasting periods caused by climate change. In the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation (near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada), polar bears have declined in body size and condition, but nothing is known about the genetic underpinnings of body size variation, which may be subject to natural selection. Here, we combine a 4449-individual pedigree and an array of 5,433 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to provide the first quantitative genetic study of polar bears. We used animal models to estimate heritability (h 2 ) among polar bears handled between 1966 and 2011, obtaining h 2 estimates of 0.34-0.48 for strictly skeletal traits and 0.18 for axillary girth (which is also dependent on fatness). We genotyped 859 individuals with the SNP array to test for marker-trait association and combined p-values over genetic pathways using gene-set analysis. Variation in all traits appeared to be polygenic, but we detected one region of moderately large effect size in body length near a putative noncoding RNA in an unannotated region of the genome. Gene-set analysis suggested that variation in body length was associated with genes in the regulatory cascade of cyclin expression, which has previously been associated with body size in mice. A greater understanding of the genetic architecture of body size variation will be valuable in understanding the potential for adaptation in polar bear populations challenged by climate change. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  15. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1978-04-01

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

  17. 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)

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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....

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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 bears * male reproduction Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 4.940, year: 2016

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Polar bear population dynamics in the southern Beaufort Sea during a period of sea ice decline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bromaghin, Jeffrey F; Mcdonald, Trent L; Stirling, Ian; Derocher, Andrew E; Richardson, Evan S; Regehr, Eric V; Douglas, David C; Durner, George M; Atwood, Todd; Amstrup, Steven C

    2015-04-01

    In the southern Beaufort Sea of the United States and Canada, prior investigations have linked declines in summer sea ice to reduced physical condition, growth, and survival of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Combined with projections of population decline due to continued climate warming and the ensuing loss of sea ice habitat, those findings contributed to the 2008 decision to list the species as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Here, we used mark-recapture models to investigate the population dynamics of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea from 2001 to 2010, years during which the spatial and temporal extent of summer sea ice generally declined. Low survival from 2004 through 2006 led to a 25-50% decline in abundance. We hypothesize that low survival during this period resulted from (1) unfavorable ice conditions that limited access to prey during multiple seasons; and possibly, (2) low prey abundance. For reasons that are not clear, survival of adults and cubs began to improve in 2007 and abundance was comparatively stable from 2008 to 2010, with ~900 bears in 2010 (90% CI 606-1212). However, survival of subadult bears declined throughout the entire period. Reduced spatial and temporal availability of sea ice is expected to increasingly force population dynamics of polar bears as the climate continues to warm. However, in the short term, our findings suggest that factors other than sea ice can influence survival. A refined understanding of the ecological mechanisms underlying polar bear population dynamics is necessary to improve projections of their future status and facilitate development of management strategies.

  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. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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,...

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

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

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    UANL

    endangered species (Doan-Crider, 1995; Doan-Crider and Hewitt, 2005, Martínez-Muñoz 2001). In Mexico, three of the subspecies of black bear can be found (U. a. amblyceps, U. a. eremicus and U. a. machetes), which are distributed at the north and central regions. Of these, only U. a. eremicus is considered endangered, ...

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kristin L. Laidre

    2018-05-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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 (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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, Karyn D.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Regehr, Eric V.

    2010-01-01

    Rates of reproduction and survival are dependent upon adequate body size and condition of individuals. Declines in size and condition have provided early indicators of population decline in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) near the southern extreme of their range. We tested whether patterns in body size, condition, and cub recruitment of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska were related to the availability of preferred sea ice habitats and whether these measures and habitat availability exhibited trends over time, between 1982 and 2006. The mean skull size and body length of all polar bears over three years of age declined over time, corresponding with long‐term declines in the spatial and temporal availability of sea ice habitat. Body size of young, growing bears declined over time and was smaller after years when sea ice availability was reduced. Reduced litter mass and numbers of yearlings per female following years with lower availability of optimal sea ice habitat, suggest reduced reproductive output and juvenile survival. These results, based on analysis of a long‐term data set, suggest that declining sea ice is associated with nutritional limitations that reduced body size and reproduction in this population.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Comparative morphology of the muscles of mastication in the giant panda and the Asiatic black bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Endo, Hideki; Taru, Hajime; Yamamoto, Masako; Arishima, Kazuyoshi; Sasaki, Motoki

    2003-06-01

    The morphological differences in the muscles of mastication between the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) were sought to confirm the adaptational strategy of these muscles in the giant panda. We measured some skull characteristics and weighed the muscles of mastication, and macroscopically observed the muscles of mastication in the two species. The noticeable differences between the two species are classified as follows: (1) The size ratio of the zygomatic width was much larger in the giant panda than in the Asiatic black bear. (2) The weight ratio of the two pterygoid muscles was also much larger in the giant panda than in the Asiatic black bear. (3) The lateral slips of the temporal muscles are thicker and stronger in the Asiatic black bear than in the giant panda. (4) The deep layer of the masseter muscle was rostrocaudally divided, and a complicated running of tendons is observed in the giant panda. (5) The two pterygoid muscles were much larger and well-developed in the giant panda than in the Asiatic black bear. The points (1) and (4) may be related to the generation of the force necessary to chew the bamboo in the giant panda. We thought that the large mass of the masseter and temporal muscles are needed in this species. In the points of (2) and (5), the two pterygoid muscles were obviously different in form and weight ratio between the two species. We suggest that the two pterygoid muscles may act as an additional force generator to dorsoventrally press and crush bamboo stems.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-01-01

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

  6. Polar bears from space: Assessing satellite imagery as a tool to track Arctic wildlife

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stapleton, Seth P.; LaRue, Michelle A.; Lecomte, Nicolas; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Garshelis, David L.; Porter, Claire; Atwood, Todd C.

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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...

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  2. 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.

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

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Weisser, Johan; Hansen, Martin; Björklund, Erland

    2016-01-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-11-01

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

  4. Morphology of the dorsal lingual papillae in the newborn panther and Asian black bear.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emura, S; Hayakawa, D; Chen, H; Shoumura, S

    2001-12-01

    The dorsal lingual surfaces of a newborn panther (Panthera pardus) and two newborn asian black bears (Selenarctos thibetanus) were examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The tongues of the panther and asian black bear were about 40 mm in length and about 20 mm in width. Filiform, fungiform and vallate papillae were found. The filiform papillae were distributed over the entire dorsal surface of the tongue. In the panther, the filiform papillae on margin of the lingual apex were divided into two shapes which were horny or club-shaped papillae. The filiform papillae on the midportion were larger than those on the lateral region in size. The fungiform papillae also were divided into two shapes which were hemispherical or club-shaped papillae. In the asian black bear, the filiform papillae on the margin of the lingual apex were larger than those on margin of the panther tongue. The vallate papillae in the animals of two species were located on both sides of the posterior end of the lingual body. Each papilla was surrounded by a groove and crescent pad.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parkinson, Claire L.; Stirling Ian

    2006-01-01

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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Numerical analysis of fundamental characteristics of superconducting magnetic bearings for a polarization modulator

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Terachi, Yusuke; Terao, Yutaka; Ohsaki, Hiroyuki; Sakurai, Yuki; Matsumura, Tomotake; Sugai, Hajime; Utsunomiya, Shin; Kataza, Hirokazu; Yamamoto, Ryo

    2017-01-01

    We have carried out numerical analysis of mechanical properties of a superconducting magnetic bearing (SMB). A contactless bearing operating at below 10 K with low rotational energy loss is an attractive feature to be used as a rotational mechanism of a polarization modulator for a cosmic microwave background experiment. In such application, a rotor diameter of about 400 mm forces us to employ a segmented magnet. As a result, there is inevitable spatial gap between the segments. In order to understand the path towards the design optimizations, 2D and 3D FEM analyses were carried out to examine fundamental characteristics of the SMBs for a polarization modulator. Two axial flux type SMBs were dealt with in the analysis: (a) the SMB with axially magnetized permanent magnets (PMs), and (b) the SMB with radially magnetized PMs and steel components for magnetic flux paths. Magnetic flux lines and density distributions, electromagnetic force characteristics, spring constants, etc. were compared among some variations of the SMBs. From the numerical analysis results, it is discussed what type, configuration and design of SMBs are more suitable for a polarization modulator. (paper)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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...

  18. 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.

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

    OpenAIRE

    Juárez-Casillas, Luis Antonio; Varas, Cora

    2013-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Morphological reason for enhancement of electrochemical double layer capacitances of various acetylene blacks by electrochemical polarization

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kim, Taegon; Ham, Chulho; Rhee, Choong Kyun; Yoon, Seong-Ho; Tsuji, Masaharu; Mochida, Isao

    2008-01-01

    Enhancement of electrochemical capacitance and morphological variations of various acetylene blacks caused by electrochemical polarization are presented. Acetylene blacks of different mean particle diameters were modified by air-oxidation and heat treatment to diversify the morphologies of the acetylene blacks before electrochemical polarization. The various acetylene blacks were electrochemically oxidized at 1.6 V (vs. Ag/AgCl) for 10 s and the polarization step was repeated until the capacitance values did not change any longer. These polarization steps enhanced the capacitances of the acetylene blacks and the specific enhancement factors range from 2 to 5.5. Such an enhancement is strongly related to morphological modification as revealed by transmission electron microscopic observations. The electrochemical polarization resulted in formation of tiny graphene sheets on the wide graphitic carbon surfaces, which were most responsible for the observed capacitive enhancement. Although the pseudo-capacitance increased after polarization by forming oxygenated species on the surfaces, its contribution to the total capacitance was less than 10%. The mechanism of the formation of the tiny graphene sheets during the electrochemical oxidation is described schematically

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. A screening of persistent organohalogenated contaminants in hair of East Greenland polar bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jaspers, Veerle L B; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Letcher, Robert J; Eens, Marcel; Neels, Hugo; Born, Erik W; Covaci, Adrian

    2010-10-15

    In this pilot study, we report on levels of persistent organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) in hair of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland sampled between 1999 and 2001. To our knowledge, this is the first study on the validation of polar bear hair as a non-invasive matrix representative of concentrations and profiles in internal organs and blood plasma. Because of low sample weights (13-140mg), only major bioaccumulative OHCs were detected above the limit of quantification: five polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners (CB 99, 138, 153, 170 and 180), one polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congener (BDE 47), oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and β-hexachlorocyclohexane. The PCB profile in hair was similar to that of internal tissues (i.e. adipose, liver, brain and blood), with CB 153 and 180 as the major congeners in all matrices. A gender difference was found for concentrations in hair relative to concentrations in internal tissues. Females (n=6) were found to display negative correlations, while males (n=5) showed positive correlations, although p-values were not found significant. These negative correlations in females may reflect seasonal OHC mobilisation from periphery adipose tissue due to, for example, lactation and fasting. The lack of significance in most correlations may be due to small sample sizes and seasonal variability of concentrations in soft tissues. Further research with larger sample weights and sizes is therefore necessary to draw more definitive conclusions on the usefulness of hair for biomonitoring OHCs in polar bears and other fur mammals. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Geostatistical analysis of allele presence patterns among American black bears in eastern North Carolina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thompson, L.M.; Van Manen, F.T.; King, T.L.

    2005-01-01

    Highways are one of the leading causes of wildlife habitat fragmentation and may particularly affect wide-ranging species, such as American black bears (Ursus americanus). We initiated a research project in 2000 to determine potential effects of a 4-lane highway on black bear ecology in Washington County, North Carolina. The research design included a treatment area (highway construction) and a control area and a pre- and post-construction phase. We used data from the pre-construction phase to determine whether we could detect scale dependency or directionality among allele occurrence patterns using geostatistics. Detection of such patterns could provide a powerful tool to measure the effects of landscape fragmentation on gene flow. We sampled DNA from roots of black bear hair at 70 hair-sampling sites on each study area for 7 weeks during fall of 2000. We used microsatellite analysis based on 10 loci to determine unique multi-locus genotypes. We examined all alleles sampled at ???25 sites on each study area and mapped their presence or absence at each hair-sample site. We calculated semivariograms, which measure the strength of statistical correlation as a function of distance, and adjusted them for anisotropy to determine the maximum direction of spatial continuity. We then calculated the mean direction of spatial continuity for all examined alleles. The mean direction of allele frequency variation was 118.3?? (SE = 8.5) on the treatment area and 172.3?? (SE = 6.0) on the control area. Rayleigh's tests showed that these directions differed from random distributions (P = 0.028 and P < 0.001, respectively), indicating consistent directional patterns for the alleles we examined in each area. Despite the small spatial scale of our study (approximately 11,000 ha for each study area), we observed distinct and consistent patterns of allele occurrence, suggesting different directions of gene flow between the study areas. These directions seemed to coincide with the

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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...

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  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

    2017-01-01

    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.

  14. Coordinated measurements made by the Sondrestrom radar and the Polar Bear ultraviolet imager

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Robinson, R.; Vondrak, R.; Dabbs, T.; Vickrey, J.; Eastes, R.; Del Greco, F.; Huffman, R.; Meng, C.; Daniell, R.; Strickland, D.; Vondrak, R.

    1992-01-01

    In 1986 and 1987 the Sondrestrom incoherent scatter radar in Greenland was operated routinely in coordination with selected overpasses of the Polar Bear satellite. For these experiments the auroral ionospheric remote sensor on Polar Bear obtained images of auroral emissions in two far ultraviolet wavelength bands centered at approximately 136 and 160 nm and one visible band centered at 391.4 nm. Measurements at these three wavelengths were extracted from the images for comparison with the coincident radar measurements. Model calculations have shown that for Maxwellian incident electron distributions the ratio between the 136-nm luminosity and 391.4-nm luminosity can be used to estimate the mean energy of precipitating electrons. Once the mean energy is known, then either of the two emissions can be used to determine the total energy flux. This procedure is used to determine the properties of the incident electron distribution during three midnight sector auroral events over Sondre Stromfjord. The incident electron flux is then used to calculate the expected height profile of electron density which is compared with the simultaneous and coincident radar measurements. The results show that the derived profiles agree well with the measured profiles both in the peak electron density and the altitude of the peak. The accuracy with which the peak of the profile is predicted by this technique is such that many important ionospheric parameters can be reliably inferred from remote measurements, including, for example, the height-integrated electrical conductivities

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Connectivity among subpopulations of Louisiana black bears as estimated by a step selection function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Joseph D.; Jared S. Laufenberg,; Maria Davidson,; Jennifer L. Murrow,

    2015-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is a fundamental cause of population decline and increased risk of extinction for many wildlife species; animals with large home ranges and small population sizes are particularly sensitive. The Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) exists only in small, isolated subpopulations as a result of land clearing for agriculture, but the relative potential for inter-subpopulation movement by Louisiana black bears has not been quantified, nor have characteristics of effective travel routes between habitat fragments been identified. We placed and monitored global positioning system (GPS) radio collars on 8 female and 23 male bears located in 4 subpopulations in Louisiana, which included a reintroduced subpopulation located between 2 of the remnant subpopulations. We compared characteristics of sequential radiolocations of bears (i.e., steps) with steps that were possible but not chosen by the bears to develop step selection function models based on conditional logistic regression. The probability of a step being selected by a bear increased as the distance to natural land cover and agriculture at the end of the step decreased and as distance from roads at the end of a step increased. To characterize connectivity among subpopulations, we used the step selection models to create 4,000 hypothetical correlated random walks for each subpopulation representing potential dispersal events to estimate the proportion that intersected adjacent subpopulations (hereafter referred to as successful dispersals). Based on the models, movement paths for males intersected all adjacent subpopulations but paths for females intersected only the most proximate subpopulations. Cross-validation and genetic and independent observation data supported our findings. Our models also revealed that successful dispersals were facilitated by a reintroduced population located between 2 distant subpopulations. Successful dispersals for males were dependent on natural land

  6. Biomagnification of polybrominated diphenyl ether and hexabromocyclododecane flame retardants in the polar bear food chain in Svalbard, Norway.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sørmo, Eugen Gravningen; Salmer, Maria Pettersvik; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Hop, Haakon; Baek, Kine; Kovacs, Kit Maureen; Lydersen, Christian; Falk-Petersen, Stig; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Lie, Elisabeth; Skaare, Janneche Utne

    2006-09-01

    Concentrations of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), including polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), were investigated in an arctic marine food chain consisting of four invertebrate species: polar cod (Boreogadus saida), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). The most abundant BFR, brominated diphenyl ether (BDE)-47, was found in detectable concentrations even in zooplankton, the lowest trophic level examined in this study. Most of the investigated BFRs biomagnified as function of tropic level in the food chain. A noticeable exception occurred at the highest trophic level, the polar bear, in which only BDE-153 was found to increase from its main prey, the ringed seal, indicating that polar bears appear to be able to metabolize and biodegrade most BFRs. In contrast, lower-brominated PBDEs, particularly BDE-47, showed clear signs of bioaccumulation in zooplankton, polar cod, and ringed seals. We suggest that this discrepancy in the fate of BFRs among the different species may be related to greater induction of oxidative detoxification activities in the polar bear. Absorption and debromination rates may be more important for bioaccumulation rates of BFRs in zooplankton, polar cod, and ringed seals. Lipid weight-based concentrations (LWCs) and whole body-based concentrations (WBCs) of BFRs were used to assess biomagnification factors (BMFs). Whole-body concentrations gave the most realistic BMFs, as BMFs derived from LWCs seem to be confounded by the large variability in lipid content of tissues from the investigated species. This study demonstrates that PBDEs and HBCD have reached measurable concentrations even in the lower trophic levels (invertebrates and fish) in the Arctic and biomagnifies in the polar bear food chain.

  7. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCain, Stephanie; Ramsay, Ed; Kirk, Claudia

    2013-06-01

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

  9. Not accounting for interindividual variability can mask habitat selection patterns: a case study on black bears.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lesmerises, Rémi; St-Laurent, Martin-Hugues

    2017-11-01

    Habitat selection studies conducted at the population scale commonly aim to describe general patterns that could improve our understanding of the limiting factors in species-habitat relationships. Researchers often consider interindividual variation in selection patterns to control for its effects and avoid pseudoreplication by using mixed-effect models that include individuals as random factors. Here, we highlight common pitfalls and possible misinterpretations of this strategy by describing habitat selection of 21 black bears Ursus americanus. We used Bayesian mixed-effect models and compared results obtained when using random intercept (i.e., population level) versus calculating individual coefficients for each independent variable (i.e., individual level). We then related interindividual variability to individual characteristics (i.e., age, sex, reproductive status, body condition) in a multivariate analysis. The assumption of comparable behavior among individuals was verified only in 40% of the cases in our seasonal best models. Indeed, we found strong and opposite responses among sampled bears and individual coefficients were linked to individual characteristics. For some covariates, contrasted responses canceled each other out at the population level. In other cases, interindividual variability was concealed by the composition of our sample, with the majority of the bears (e.g., old individuals and bears in good physical condition) driving the population response (e.g., selection of young forest cuts). Our results stress the need to consider interindividual variability to avoid misinterpretation and uninformative results, especially for a flexible and opportunistic species. This study helps to identify some ecological drivers of interindividual variability in bear habitat selection patterns.

  10. “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...

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. “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.

  14. 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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-06-01

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

  16. 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.

  17. The endocrine disruption properties of an adipose contaminant mixture extracted from East Greenland polar bears studied in the H295R cell line

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hjorth, R.; Letcher, R. J.; Blair, D.

    been well described and especially the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is recognized as being one of the most contaminated species in the Arctic. The present study investigated the in vitro endocrine disruptive effects of the POP mixture found in adipose tissue from 10 East Greenland polar bears collected...... (dehydroepiandrosterone and androstenedione). These results demonstrated comprehensive in vitro effects of POPs extracted from polar bear adipose tissue on key elements in the steroidogenesis, and identifies disruption of CYP17 activity as a mode of action. A POP-induced interference with CYP17 can potentially explain...... previously observed hormone levels in polar bears and could pose a risk to their reproductive health....

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Effects of black bear relocation on elk calf recruitment at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yarkovich, J.; Clark, J.D.; Murrow, J.L.

    2011-01-01

    Previous research from 2001 to 2006 on an experimentally released elk (Cervus elaphus) population at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP or Park) indicated that calf recruitment (i.e., calves reaching 1 yr of age per adult female elk) was low (0.306, total SE = 0.090) resulting in low or negative population growth (λ = 0.996, 95% CI = 0.945–1.047). Black bear (Ursus americanus) predation was the primary calf mortality factor. From 2006 to 2008, we trapped and relocated 49 bears (30 of which were radiocollared) from the primary calving areas in the Park and radiomonitored 67 (28 M:39 F) adult elk and 42 calves to compare vital rates and population growth with the earlier study. A model with annual calf recruitment rate correlating with the number of bears relocated each year was supported (ΔAICc = 0.000; β = 0.070, 95% CI = 0.028–0.112) and a model with annual calf recruitment differing from before to during bear relocation revealed an increase to 0.544 (total SE = 0.098; β = −1.092, 95% CI = −1.180 to −0.375). Using vital rates and estimates of process standard errors observed during our study, 25-yr simulations maintained a mean positive growth rate in 100% of the stochastic trials with λ averaging 1.118 (95% CI = 1.096–1.140), an increase compared with rates before bear relocation. A life table response experiment revealed that increases in population growth were mostly (67.1%) due to changes in calf recruitment. We speculate that behavioral adaptation of the elk since release also contributed to the observed increases in recruitment and population growth. Our results suggest that managers interested in elk reintroduction within bear range should consider bear relocation as a temporary means of increasing calf recruitment.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  2. Modes of thermal protection in polar bear cubs--at birth and on emergence from the den.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blix, A S; Lentfer, J W

    1979-01-01

    At birth in late December the polar bear is small (700 g), uninsulated, and helpless. It probably has a modest capacity for metabolic heat production and depends on the female and a snow den in which it is born for thermal protection. The microclimate of an artificial polar bear den was investigated at Point Barrow, AK, and the temperature therein found to stay around 0 degrees C provided a heat source (200 W) equivalent to an adult polar bear was introduced. When the bears desert the den in early April the cub has grown to about 10 kg and has a well-developed fur insulation, but almost no subcutaneous fat. The cub has a high resting metabolic rate (4.6 W.kg-1), which is supported by the fat polar bear milk. Its lower critical temperature is about -30 degrees C, and an ambient temperature of -45 degrees C results in only a 33% increase in metabolism. The cub can tolerate a wind chill of 2.3 kW.m2 without apparent stress of drop in rectal temperature. If the cub is immersed in ice water rectal temperature drops 11 degrees C in 30 min. It is concluded that the cub can tolerate extremely low temperatures in air due to fur insulation and high metabolic heat production, but is unable to cope with the chill of ice water for any prolonged period of time.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    2014-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-07-15

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yan Jun

    2011-03-01

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

  6. Reversible immobilization of asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) with detomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam and atipamezole.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laricchiuta, Pietro; Gelli, Donatella; Campolo, Marco; Marinelli, Maria Pia; Lai, Olimpia R

    2008-12-01

    Chemical immobilization of free-ranging and captive wildlife is often required in many clinical situations. In this trial, tiletamine-zolazepam was combined with the alpha2-agonist, detomidine, in order to use the least amount of anesthetic drug possible to achieve a rapid immobilization; to ensure safety for animals and operators; and to be easily reversible with specific antagonists for a fast recovery. Twelve captive Asiatic black bears were anesthetized for clinical procedures, including clinical examination and blood sample collection, and for electrocardiographic and echocardiographic procedures. The combination detomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam, at the dosages of 0.03 mg/kg for detomidine and 1.5 mg/kg for tiletamine-zolazepam, proved to be reliable and effective in immobilizing Asiatic black bears for a 1-hr handling period for routine clinical procedures. Minimal or no respiratory and/or cardiopulmonary adverse side effects were observed, even with dosages calculated on the basis of an estimated body weight. The respiratory rate, pulse rate, and hemoglobin-oxygen saturation remained stable for the entire duration of anesthesia. Cardiac rhythm was always sinusal in all animals. Small injection volumes and darts for blowpipe use were utilized to minimize tissue damage at the site of injection. Induction and recovery were smooth and predictable, and provided for the safety of operators who could observe the bears' activities from a safe distance. Furthermore, the availability of the alpha2-antagonist atipamezole to counteract the effects of detomidine made this anesthetic regimen easily controllable and reversible. Moreover, the recovery time can be shortened by intravenous administration of this antagonist drug.

  7. 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 attract water-leaving polarotactic insects. Thus, shiny black cars are typical sources of polarized light pollution endangering water-leaving insects. A new fashion fad is to make car-bodies matt black or grey. Since rough (matt surfaces depolarize the reflected light, one of the ways of reducing polarized light pollution is to make matt the concerned surface. Consequently, matt black/grey cars may not induce polarized light pollution, which would be an advantageous feature for environmental protection. To test this idea, we performed field experiments with horizontal shiny and matt black car-body surfaces laid on the ground. Using imaging polarimetry, in multiple-choice field experiments we investigated the attractiveness of these test surfaces to various water-leaving polarotactic insects and obtained the following results: (i The attractiveness of black car-bodies to polarotactic insects depends in complex manner on the surface roughness (shiny, matt and species (mayflies, dolichopodids, tabanids. (ii Non-expectedly, the matt dark grey car finish is much more attractive to mayflies (being endangered and protected in many countries than matt black finish. (iii The polarized light pollution of shiny black cars usually cannot be reduced with the use of matt painting. On the basis of these, our two novel findings are that (a matt car-paints are highly polarization reflecting, and (b these matt paints are not suitable to repel polarotactic insects. Hence, the recent technology used to make matt the car-bodies cannot eliminate or even can enhance the attractiveness of black/grey cars to water-leaving insects. Thus, changing shiny black car painting to matt one is a disadvantageous fashion fad concerning the reduction of polarized light pollution of black vehicles.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blaho, Miklos; Herczeg, Tamas; Kriska, Gyorgy; Egri, Adam; Szaz, Denes; Farkas, Alexandra; Tarjanyi, Nikolett; Czinke, Laszlo; Barta, Andras; Horvath, Gabor

    2014-01-01

    The horizontally polarizing surface parts of shiny black cars (the reflection-polarization characteristics of which are similar to those of water surfaces) attract water-leaving polarotactic insects. Thus, shiny black cars are typical sources of polarized light pollution endangering water-leaving insects. A new fashion fad is to make car-bodies matt black or grey. Since rough (matt) surfaces depolarize the reflected light, one of the ways of reducing polarized light pollution is to make matt the concerned surface. Consequently, matt black/grey cars may not induce polarized light pollution, which would be an advantageous feature for environmental protection. To test this idea, we performed field experiments with horizontal shiny and matt black car-body surfaces laid on the ground. Using imaging polarimetry, in multiple-choice field experiments we investigated the attractiveness of these test surfaces to various water-leaving polarotactic insects and obtained the following results: (i) The attractiveness of black car-bodies to polarotactic insects depends in complex manner on the surface roughness (shiny, matt) and species (mayflies, dolichopodids, tabanids). (ii) Non-expectedly, the matt dark grey car finish is much more attractive to mayflies (being endangered and protected in many countries) than matt black finish. (iii) The polarized light pollution of shiny black cars usually cannot be reduced with the use of matt painting. On the basis of these, our two novel findings are that (a) matt car-paints are highly polarization reflecting, and (b) these matt paints are not suitable to repel polarotactic insects. Hence, the recent technology used to make matt the car-bodies cannot eliminate or even can enhance the attractiveness of black/grey cars to water-leaving insects. Thus, changing shiny black car painting to matt one is a disadvantageous fashion fad concerning the reduction of polarized light pollution of black vehicles.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2015-08-27

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

  10. Black bears with longer disuse (hibernation) periods have lower femoral osteon population density and greater mineralization and intracortical porosity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wojda, Samantha J; Weyland, David R; Gray, Sarah K; McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Drummer, Thomas D; Donahue, Seth W

    2013-08-01

    Intracortical bone remodeling is persistent throughout life, leading to age related increases in osteon population density (OPD). Intracortical porosity also increases with age in many mammals including humans, contributing to bone fragility and fracture risk. Unbalanced bone resorption and formation during disuse (e.g., physical inactivity) also increases intracortical porosity. In contrast, hibernating bears are a naturally occurring model for the prevention of both age-related and disuse osteoporoses. Intracortical bone remodeling is decreased during hibernation, but resorption and formation remain balanced. Black bears spend 0.25-7 months in hibernation annually depending on climate and food availability. We found longer hibernating bears demonstrate lower OPD and higher cortical bone mineralization than bears with shorter hibernation durations, but we surprisingly found longer hibernating bears had higher intracortical porosity. However, bears from three different latitudes showed age-related decreases in intracortical porosity, indicating that regardless of hibernation duration, black bears do not show the disuse- or age-related increases in intracortical porosity which is typical of other animals. This ability to prevent increases in intracortical porosity likely contributes to their ability to maintain bone strength during prolonged periods of physical inactivity and throughout life. Improving our understanding of the unique bone metabolism in hibernating bears will potentially increase our ability to develop treatments for age- and disuse-related osteoporoses in humans. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  11. Estimating Allee dynamics before they can be observed: polar bears as a case study.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Péter K Molnár

    Full Text Available Allee effects are an important component in the population dynamics of numerous species. Accounting for these Allee effects in population viability analyses generally requires estimates of low-density population growth rates, but such data are unavailable for most species and particularly difficult to obtain for large mammals. Here, we present a mechanistic modeling framework that allows estimating the expected low-density growth rates under a mate-finding Allee effect before the Allee effect occurs or can be observed. The approach relies on representing the mechanisms causing the Allee effect in a process-based model, which can be parameterized and validated from data on the mechanisms rather than data on population growth. We illustrate the approach using polar bears (Ursus maritimus, and estimate their expected low-density growth by linking a mating dynamics model to a matrix projection model. The Allee threshold, defined as the population density below which growth becomes negative, is shown to depend on age-structure, sex ratio, and the life history parameters determining reproduction and survival. The Allee threshold is thus both density- and frequency-dependent. Sensitivity analyses of the Allee threshold show that different combinations of the parameters determining reproduction and survival can lead to differing Allee thresholds, even if these differing combinations imply the same stable-stage population growth rate. The approach further shows how mate-limitation can induce long transient dynamics, even in populations that eventually grow to carrying capacity. Applying the models to the overharvested low-density polar bear population of Viscount Melville Sound, Canada, shows that a mate-finding Allee effect is a plausible mechanism for slow recovery of this population. Our approach is generalizable to any mating system and life cycle, and could aid proactive management and conservation strategies, for example, by providing a priori

  12. Estimating Allee dynamics before they can be observed: polar bears as a case study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molnár, Péter K; Lewis, Mark A; Derocher, Andrew E

    2014-01-01

    Allee effects are an important component in the population dynamics of numerous species. Accounting for these Allee effects in population viability analyses generally requires estimates of low-density population growth rates, but such data are unavailable for most species and particularly difficult to obtain for large mammals. Here, we present a mechanistic modeling framework that allows estimating the expected low-density growth rates under a mate-finding Allee effect before the Allee effect occurs or can be observed. The approach relies on representing the mechanisms causing the Allee effect in a process-based model, which can be parameterized and validated from data on the mechanisms rather than data on population growth. We illustrate the approach using polar bears (Ursus maritimus), and estimate their expected low-density growth by linking a mating dynamics model to a matrix projection model. The Allee threshold, defined as the population density below which growth becomes negative, is shown to depend on age-structure, sex ratio, and the life history parameters determining reproduction and survival. The Allee threshold is thus both density- and frequency-dependent. Sensitivity analyses of the Allee threshold show that different combinations of the parameters determining reproduction and survival can lead to differing Allee thresholds, even if these differing combinations imply the same stable-stage population growth rate. The approach further shows how mate-limitation can induce long transient dynamics, even in populations that eventually grow to carrying capacity. Applying the models to the overharvested low-density polar bear population of Viscount Melville Sound, Canada, shows that a mate-finding Allee effect is a plausible mechanism for slow recovery of this population. Our approach is generalizable to any mating system and life cycle, and could aid proactive management and conservation strategies, for example, by providing a priori estimates of minimum

  13. X-ray spectra and polarization from accreting black holes

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Dovčiak, Michal; Goosmann, René; Karas, Vladimír; Matt, G.

    2008-01-01

    Roč. 131, - (2008), s. 1-6 ISSN 1742-6588. [The Universe under the Microscope – Astrophysics at High Angular Resolution. Bad Honnef, 21.04.2008-25.04.2008] R&D Projects: GA ČR GA205/07/0052 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : black holes Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics

  14. Trap array configuration influences estimates and precision of black bear density and abundance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Clay M Wilton

    Full Text Available Spatial capture-recapture (SCR models have advanced our ability to estimate population density for wide ranging animals by explicitly incorporating individual movement. Though these models are more robust to various spatial sampling designs, few studies have empirically tested different large-scale trap configurations using SCR models. We investigated how extent of trap coverage and trap spacing affects precision and accuracy of SCR parameters, implementing models using the R package secr. We tested two trapping scenarios, one spatially extensive and one intensive, using black bear (Ursus americanus DNA data from hair snare arrays in south-central Missouri, USA. We also examined the influence that adding a second, lower barbed-wire strand to snares had on quantity and spatial distribution of detections. We simulated trapping data to test bias in density estimates of each configuration under a range of density and detection parameter values. Field data showed that using multiple arrays with intensive snare coverage produced more detections of more individuals than extensive coverage. Consequently, density and detection parameters were more precise for the intensive design. Density was estimated as 1.7 bears per 100 km2 and was 5.5 times greater than that under extensive sampling. Abundance was 279 (95% CI = 193-406 bears in the 16,812 km2 study area. Excluding detections from the lower strand resulted in the loss of 35 detections, 14 unique bears, and the largest recorded movement between snares. All simulations showed low bias for density under both configurations. Results demonstrated that in low density populations with non-uniform distribution of population density, optimizing the tradeoff among snare spacing, coverage, and sample size is of critical importance to estimating parameters with high precision and accuracy. With limited resources, allocating available traps to multiple arrays with intensive trap spacing increased the amount of

  15. Polar bear mother-offspring interactions in maternity dens in captivity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Gessel, Chad

    2015-01-01

    Two female polar bears at Dierenrijk Zoo in the Netherlands were monitored at their maternity den one day before the birth of their cubs and three days postpartum. Each bear was monitored for 96 hr to document behaviour and vocalisations. The goal was to obtain insight into the differences between the mother that lost her litter and the other that successfully reared her cubs. Six groups of cub vocalisations were identified: Comfort, Discomfort, Distress, Nursing Attempts, Nursing, and No Vocalisation. Maternal vocalisations were split into three groups: Calm, Grooming, and Stress. Maternal behaviours were also split into three groups: Active, Rest, and Stress. The unsuccessful mother produced more stress vocalisations before and during the birth of her cub, whereas the successful mother appeared less stressed. Vocalisations indicate that the cub that died tried to nurse but was unsuccessful. The unsuccessful mother showed less stress as her cub got weaker and vocalised less. From this I suggest that maternal stress was a factor in cub mortality. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. Estimating the abundance of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation with aerial surveys

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obbard, Martyn E.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Middel, Kevin R.; Thibault, Isabelle; Brodeur, Vincent; Jutras, Charles

    2015-01-01

    The Southern Hudson Bay (SH) polar bear subpopulation occurs at the southern extent of the species’ range. Although capture–recapture studies indicate abundance was likely unchanged between 1986 and 2005, declines in body condition and survival occurred during the period, possibly foreshadowing a future decrease in abundance. To obtain a current estimate of abundance, we conducted a comprehensive line transect aerial survey of SH during 2011–2012. We stratified the study site by anticipated densities and flew coastal contour transects and systematically spaced inland transects in Ontario and on Akimiski Island and large offshore islands in 2011. Data were collected with double-observer and distance sampling protocols. We surveyed small islands in James Bay and eastern Hudson Bay and flew a comprehensive transect along the Québec coastline in 2012. We observed 667 bears in Ontario and on Akimiski Island and nearby islands in 2011, and we sighted 80 bears on offshore islands during 2012. Mark–recapture distance sampling and sight–resight models yielded an estimate of 860 (SE = 174) for the 2011 study area. Our estimate of abundance for the entire SH subpopulation (943; SE = 174) suggests that abundance is unlikely to have changed significantly since 1986. However, this result should be interpreted cautiously because of the methodological differences between historical studies (physical capture–recapture) and this survey. A conservative management approach is warranted given previous increases in duration of the ice-free season, which are predicted to continue in the future, and previously documented declines in body condition and vital rates.

  17. Estimating abundance of the Southern Hudson Bay polar bear subpopulation using aerial surveys, 2011 and 2012

    Science.gov (United States)

    Obbard, Martyn E.; Middel, Kevin R.; Stapleton, Seth P.; Thibault, Isabelle; Brodeur, Vincent; Jutras, Charles

    2013-01-01

    The Southern Hudson Bay (SH) polar bear subpopulation occurs at the southern extent of the species’ range. Although capture-recapture studies indicate that abundance remained stable between 1986 and 2005, declines in body condition and survival were documented during the period, possibly foreshadowing a future decrease in abundance. To obtain a current estimate of abundance, we conducted a comprehensive line transect aerial survey of SH during 2011–2012. We stratified the study site by anticipated densities and flew coastal contour transects and systematically spaced inland transects in Ontario and on Akimiski Island and large offshore islands in 2011. Data were collected with double observer and distance sampling protocols. We also surveyed small islands in Hudson Bay and James Bay and flew a comprehensive transect along the Québec coastline in 2012. We observed 667 bears in Ontario and on Akimiski Island and nearby islands in 2011, and we sighted 80 bears on offshore islands during 2012. Mark-recapture distance sampling and sightresight models yielded a model-averaged estimate of 868 (SE: 177) for the 2011 study area. Our estimate of abundance for the entire SH subpopulation (951; SE: 177) suggests that abundance has remained unchanged. However, this result should be interpreted cautiously because of the methodological differences between historical studies (physical capture) and this survey. A conservative management approach is warranted given the previous increases in the duration of the ice-free season, which are predicted to continue in the future, and previously documented declines in body condition and vital rates.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

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

  20. arXiv Black hole superradiance and polarization-dependent bending of light

    CERN Document Server

    Plascencia, Alexis D.

    2018-04-27

    An inhomogeneous pseudo-scalar field configuration behaves like an optically active medium. Consequently, if a light ray passes through an axion cloud surrounding a Kerr black hole, it may experience a polarization-dependent bending. We explore the size and relevance of such effect considering both the QCD axion and a generic axion-like particle.

  1. arXiv Black hole superradiance and polarization-dependent bending of light

    CERN Document Server

    Plascencia, Alexis D.

    2017-01-01

    An inhomogeneous pseudo-scalar field configuration behaves like an optically active medium. Consequently, if a light ray passes through an axion cloud surrounding a Kerr black hole, it may experience a polarization-dependent bending. We explore the size and relevance of such effect considering both the QCD axion and a generic axion-like particle.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Jaime-Andrade G.

    1997-08-01

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

  3. Vibrational characteristics of a superconducting magnetic bearing employed for a prototype polarization modulator

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sakurai, Yuki; Matsumura, Tomotake; Sugai, Hajime; Katayama, Nobuhiko; Utsunomiya, Shin; Ohsaki, Hiroyuki; Terao, Yutaka; Terachi, Yusuke; Kataza, Hirokazu; Yamamoto, Ryo

    2017-01-01

    We present the vibrational characteristics of a levitating rotor in a superconducting magnetic bearing (SMB) system operating at below 10 K. We develop a polarization modulator that requires a continuously rotating optical element, called half-wave plate (HWP), for a cosmic microwave background polarization experiment. The HWP has to operate at the temperature below 10 K, and thus an SMB provides a smooth rotation of the HWP at the cryogenic temperature of about 10 K with minimal heat dissipation. In order to understand the potential interference to the cosmological observations due to the vibration of the HWP, it is essential to characterize the vibrational properties of the levitating rotor of the SMB. We constructed a prototype model that consists of an SMB with an array of high temperature superconductors, YBCO, and a permanent magnet ring, NdFeB. The rotor position is monitored by a laser displacement gauge, and a cryogenic Hall sensor via the magnetic field. In this presentation, we present the measurement results of the vibration characteristics using our prototype SMB system. We characterize the vibrational properties as the spring constant and the damping, and discuss the projected performance of this technology toward the use in future space missions. (paper)

  4. Vibrational characteristics of a superconducting magnetic bearing employed for a prototype polarization modulator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sakurai, Yuki; Matsumura, Tomotake; Sugai, Hajime; Katayama, Nobuhiko; Ohsaki, Hiroyuki; Terao, Yutaka; Terachi, Yusuke; Kataza, Hirokazu; Utsunomiya, Shin; Yamamoto, Ryo

    2017-07-01

    We present the vibrational characteristics of a levitating rotor in a superconducting magnetic bearing (SMB) system operating at below 10 K. We develop a polarization modulator that requires a continuously rotating optical element, called half-wave plate (HWP), for a cosmic microwave background polarization experiment. The HWP has to operate at the temperature below 10 K, and thus an SMB provides a smooth rotation of the HWP at the cryogenic temperature of about 10 K with minimal heat dissipation. In order to understand the potential interference to the cosmological observations due to the vibration of the HWP, it is essential to characterize the vibrational properties of the levitating rotor of the SMB. We constructed a prototype model that consists of an SMB with an array of high temperature superconductors, YBCO, and a permanent magnet ring, NdFeB. The rotor position is monitored by a laser displacement gauge, and a cryogenic Hall sensor via the magnetic field. In this presentation, we present the measurement results of the vibration characteristics using our prototype SMB system. We characterize the vibrational properties as the spring constant and the damping, and discuss the projected performance of this technology toward the use in future space missions.

  5. Polar bears experience skeletal muscle atrophy in response to food deprivation and reduced activity in winter and summer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harlow, Henry J.; Durner, George M.; Regehr, Eric V.; Rourke, Bryan C.; Robles, Manuel; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, Merav

    2017-01-01

    Abstract When reducing activity and using stored energy during seasonal food shortages, animals risk degradation of skeletal muscles, although some species avoid or minimize the resulting atrophy while experiencing these conditions during hibernation. Polar bears may be food deprived and relatively inactive during winter (when pregnant females hibernate and hunting success declines for other demographic groups) as well as summer (when sea ice retreats from key foraging habitats). We investigated muscle atrophy in samples of biceps femoris collected from free-ranging polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) throughout their annual cycle. Atrophy was most pronounced in April–May as a result of food deprivation during the previous winter, with muscles exhibiting reduced protein concentration, increased water content, and lower creatine kinase mRNA. These animals increased feeding and activity in spring (when seal prey becomes more available), initiating a period of muscle recovery. During the following ice melt of late summer, ~30% of SBS bears abandon retreating sea ice for land; in August, these ‘shore’ bears exhibited no muscle atrophy, indicating that they had fully recovered from winter food deprivation. These individuals subsequently scavenged whale carcasses deposited by humans and by October, had retained good muscle condition. In contrast, ~70% of SBS bears follow the ice north in late summer, into deep water with less prey. These ‘ice’ bears fast; by October, they exhibited muscle protein loss and rapid changes in myosin heavy-chain isoforms in response to reduced activity. These findings indicate that, unlike other bears during winter hibernation, polar bears without food in summer cannot mitigate atrophy. Consequently, prolonged summer fasting resulting from climate change-induced ice loss creates a risk of greater muscle atrophy and reduced abilities to travel and hunt. PMID:28835844

  6. Polar bears experience skeletal muscle atrophy in response to food deprivation and reduced activity in winter and summer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, John P.; Harlow, Henry J.; Durner, George M.; Regehr, Eric V.; Rourke, Bryan C.; Robles, Manuel; Amstrup, Steven C.; Ben-David, Merav

    2017-01-01

    When reducing activity and using stored energy during seasonal food shortages, animals risk degradation of skeletal muscles, although some species avoid or minimize the resulting atrophy while experiencing these conditions during hibernation. Polar bears may be food deprived and relatively inactive during winter (when pregnant females hibernate and hunting success declines for other demographic groups) as well as summer (when sea ice retreats from key foraging habitats). We investigated muscle atrophy in samples of biceps femoris collected from free-ranging polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) throughout their annual cycle. Atrophy was most pronounced in April–May as a result of food deprivation during the previous winter, with muscles exhibiting reduced protein concentration, increased water content, and lower creatine kinase mRNA. These animals increased feeding and activity in spring (when seal prey becomes more available), initiating a period of muscle recovery. During the following ice melt of late summer, ~30% of SBS bears abandon retreating sea ice for land; in August, these ‘shore’ bears exhibited no muscle atrophy, indicating that they had fully recovered from winter food deprivation. These individuals subsequently scavenged whale carcasses deposited by humans and by October, had retained good muscle condition. In contrast, ~70% of SBS bears follow the ice north in late summer, into deep water with less prey. These ‘ice’ bears fast; by October, they exhibited muscle protein loss and rapid changes in myosin heavy-chain isoforms in response to reduced activity. These findings indicate that, unlike other bears during winter hibernation, polar bears without food in summer cannot mitigate atrophy. Consequently, prolonged summer fasting resulting from climate change-induced ice loss creates a risk of greater muscle atrophy and reduced abilities to travel and hunt.

  7. Polar bears experience skeletal muscle atrophy in response to food deprivation and reduced activity in winter and summer.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, John P; Harlow, Henry J; Durner, George M; Regehr, Eric V; Rourke, Bryan C; Robles, Manuel; Amstrup, Steven C; Ben-David, Merav

    2017-01-01

    When reducing activity and using stored energy during seasonal food shortages, animals risk degradation of skeletal muscles, although some species avoid or minimize the resulting atrophy while experiencing these conditions during hibernation. Polar bears may be food deprived and relatively inactive during winter (when pregnant females hibernate and hunting success declines for other demographic groups) as well as summer (when sea ice retreats from key foraging habitats). We investigated muscle atrophy in samples of biceps femoris collected from free-ranging polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) throughout their annual cycle. Atrophy was most pronounced in April-May as a result of food deprivation during the previous winter, with muscles exhibiting reduced protein concentration, increased water content, and lower creatine kinase mRNA. These animals increased feeding and activity in spring (when seal prey becomes more available), initiating a period of muscle recovery. During the following ice melt of late summer, ~30% of SBS bears abandon retreating sea ice for land; in August, these 'shore' bears exhibited no muscle atrophy, indicating that they had fully recovered from winter food deprivation. These individuals subsequently scavenged whale carcasses deposited by humans and by October, had retained good muscle condition. In contrast, ~70% of SBS bears follow the ice north in late summer, into deep water with less prey. These 'ice' bears fast; by October, they exhibited muscle protein loss and rapid changes in myosin heavy-chain isoforms in response to reduced activity. These findings indicate that, unlike other bears during winter hibernation, polar bears without food in summer cannot mitigate atrophy. Consequently, prolonged summer fasting resulting from climate change-induced ice loss creates a risk of greater muscle atrophy and reduced abilities to travel and hunt.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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