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Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Distribution in the Southern Beaufort Sea

  • Author / Creator
    Pongracz, Jodie D
  • Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are an apex predator of the Arctic marine food web and vulnerable to changes in sea ice because various aspects of their existence depend on this dynamic platform. Arctic sea ice extent and thickness have declined, and been particularly low since the first record low in 2007. I examined polar bear distribution using satellite telemetry in 2007-2011 including years of record low sea ice extent using kernel density methods to evaluate how recent changes to sea ice conditions may be affecting their distribution. I examine use of land and relate polar bear distributions to bathymetry. My research suggests that polar bear movement patterns and distribution are changing in response to sea ice conditions. Bears are forced to travel greater distances and remain over deeper waters longer as they maintain a presence at the edge of the pack that varies annually. Bears also used land areas in Alaska greater than previously documented. I explore the consequences of these changes and examine summer refugia.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R31D4T
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Specialization
    • Ecology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Derocher, Andrew (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Hik, David (Biological Sciences)
    • Cassady St. Clair, Colleen (Biological Sciences)