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Demography of an apex predator at the edge of its range: impacts of changing sea ice on polar bears in Hudson Bay

Published on Jul 1, 2016in Ecological Applications 4.38
· DOI :10.1890/15-1256
Nicholas J. Lunn13
Estimated H-index: 13
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Sabrina Servanty9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CSU: Colorado State University)
+ 3 AuthorsIan Stirling62
Estimated H-index: 62
(U of A: University of Alberta)
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Abstract
Changes in the abundance and distribution of wildlife populations are common consequences of historic and contemporary climate change. Some Arctic marine mammals, such as the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), may be particularly vulnerable to such changes due to the loss of Arctic sea ice. We evaluated the impacts of environmental variation on demographic rates for the Western Hudson Bay (WH), polar bear subpopulation from 1984 to 2011 using live-recapture and dead-recovery data in a Bayesian implementation of multistate capture–recapture models. We found that survival of female polar bears was related to the annual timing of sea ice break-up and formation. Using estimated vital rates (e.g., survival and reproduction) in matrix projection models, we calculated the growth rate of the WH subpopulation and projected population responses under different environmental scenarios while accounting for parametric uncertainty, temporal variation, and demographic stochasticity. Our analysis suggested a long-term decline in the number of bears from 1185 (95% Bayesian credible interval [BCI] = 993–1411) in 1987 to 806 (95% BCI = 653–984) in 2011. In the last 10 yr of the study, the number of bears appeared stable due to temporary stability in sea ice conditions (mean population growth rate for the period 2001–2010 = 1.02, 95% BCI = 0.98–1.06). Looking forward, we estimated long-term growth rates for the WH subpopulation of ~1.02 (95% BCI = 1.00–1.05) and 0.97 (95% BCI = 0.92–1.01) under hypothetical high and low sea ice conditions, respectively. Our findings support previous evidence for a demographic linkage between sea ice conditions and polar bear population dynamics. Furthermore, we present a robust framework for sensitivity analysis with respect to continued climate change (e.g., to inform scenario planning) and for evaluating the combined effects of climate change and management actions on the status of wildlife populations.
  • References (86)
  • Citations (34)
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References86
Newest
Published on Jun 1, 2015in Conservation Biology 6.19
Kristin L. Laidre31
Estimated H-index: 31
(UW: University of Washington),
Harry L. Stern21
Estimated H-index: 21
(UW: University of Washington)
+ 13 AuthorsRobyn P. Angliss10
Estimated H-index: 10
(NOAA: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Arctic marine mammals (AMMs) are icons of climate change, largely because of their close association with sea ice. However, neither a circumpolar assessment of AMM status nor a standardized metric of sea ice habitat change is available. We summarized available data on abundance and trend for each AMM species and recognized subpopulation. We also examined species diversity, the extent of human use, and temporal trends in sea ice habitat for 12 regions of the Arctic by calculating the dates of spr...
Published on Apr 1, 2015in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10.94
Karyn D. Rode24
Estimated H-index: 24
(USGS: United States Geological Survey),
Charles T. Robbins52
Estimated H-index: 52
(WSU: Washington State University)
+ 1 AuthorsSteven C. Amstrup36
Estimated H-index: 36
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 nutritiona...
Published on Apr 1, 2015in Ecological Applications 4.38
Jeffrey F. Bromaghin13
Estimated H-index: 13
(USGS: United States Geological Survey),
Trent L. McDonald28
Estimated H-index: 28
+ 7 AuthorsSteven C. Amstrup36
Estimated H-index: 36
(USGS: United States Geological Survey)
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 investigat...
Published on Mar 1, 2015in Nature Climate Change 21.72
Michela Pacifici6
Estimated H-index: 6
(IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources),
Wendy B. Foden11
Estimated H-index: 11
(University of the Witwatersrand)
+ 19 AuthorsH. Resit Akçakaya42
Estimated H-index: 42
(SBU: Stony Brook University)
The effects of climate change on biodiversity are increasingly well documented, and many methods have been developed to assess species' vulnerability to climatic changes, both ongoing and projected in the coming decades. To minimize global biodiversity losses, conservationists need to identify those species that are likely to be most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In this Review, we summarize different currencies used for assessing species' climate change vulnerability. We describe...
Published on Feb 1, 2015in Nature Climate Change 21.72
Neil C. Swart13
Estimated H-index: 13
,
John C. Fyfe38
Estimated H-index: 38
+ 2 AuthorsAlexandra Jahn17
Estimated H-index: 17
Internal climate variability can mask or enhance human-induced sea-ice loss on timescales ranging from years to decades. It must be properly accounted for when considering observations, understanding projections and evaluating models.
Published on Jan 1, 2015
Eric V. Regehr17
Estimated H-index: 17
,
Ryan R. Wilson11
Estimated H-index: 11
+ 1 AuthorsMichael C. Runge31
Estimated H-index: 31
Published on Sep 1, 2014in Biological Conservation 4.45
Péter K. Molnár10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Princeton University),
Andrew E. Derocher49
Estimated H-index: 49
(U of A: University of Alberta)
+ 1 AuthorsMark A. Lewis53
Estimated H-index: 53
(U of A: University of Alberta)
correct this error and show the corrected Fig. 3 (note that the coding error only affected the scaling of adult male body masses to Aug 1, but not the time to death by starvation response curves (solid and dotted lines) which thus remain unchanged). The correction resulted in the following changes regarding predicted mortality under prolonged fasting: Originally, we estimated that 3-6% of adult males in Western Hudson Bay would die of starvation with a fasting period of 120 days, and that 28-48%...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Ecological Applications 4.38
Sabrina Servanty9
Estimated H-index: 9
(CSU: Colorado State University),
Sarah J. Converse20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Patuxent Wildlife Research Center),
Larissa L. Bailey33
Estimated H-index: 33
(CSU: Colorado State University)
The reintroduction of threatened and endangered species is now a common method for reestablishing populations. Typically, a fundamental objective of reintroduction is to establish a self-sustaining population. Estimation of demographic parameters in reintroduced populations is critical, as these estimates serve multiple purposes. First, they support evaluation of progress toward the fundamental objective via construction of population viability analyses (PVAs) to predict metrics such as probabil...
Published on Feb 1, 2014in Biological Conservation 4.45
Seth Stapleton7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UMN: University of Minnesota),
Stephen N. Atkinson4
Estimated H-index: 4
+ 1 AuthorsDavid L. Garshelis23
Estimated H-index: 23
(UMN: University of Minnesota)
Abstract Capture-based studies of the Western Hudson Bay (WH) polar bear population in Canada have reported declines in abundance, survival, and body condition, but these findings are inconsistent with the perceptions of local people. To address this uncertainty about current status, we conducted a comprehensive aerial survey of this population during August, 2011, when the region was ice-free and bears were on shore. We flew a combination of overland transects oriented perpendicular to the coas...
Published on Jan 1, 2014in Global Change Biology 8.88
Karyn D. Rode24
Estimated H-index: 24
(FWS: United States Fish and Wildlife Service),
Eric V. Regehr17
Estimated H-index: 17
(FWS: United States Fish and Wildlife Service)
+ 4 AuthorsSuzanne M. Budge23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Dal: Dalhousie University)
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have experienced substantial changes in the seasonal availability of sea ice habitat in parts of their range, including the Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas. In this study, we compared the body size, condition, and recruitment of polar bears captured in the Chukchi and Bering Seas (CS) between two periods (1986–1994 and 2008–2011) when declines in sea ice habitat occurred. In addition, we compared metrics for the CS population 2008–2011 with those of the adjacent ...
Cited By34
Newest
Published on Sep 1, 2019in Biological Conservation 4.45
Dominique Chabot2
Estimated H-index: 2
,
Seth Stapleton7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UMN: University of Minnesota),
Charles M. Francis23
Estimated H-index: 23
(CWS: Canadian Wildlife Service)
Abstract The increasing spatial resolution of earth observation satellites is creating new opportunities to survey wildlife. Satellites could be particularly valuable for surveying polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ) because of their remote circumpolar distribution and status of concern in the face of Arctic warming. However, the white coloration of bears does not contrast well with sea ice or snow in panchromatic imagery. We took advantage of the close-range observation capabilities of a drone to d...
Published on Jul 4, 2019in Ecology and Evolution 2.42
George M. Durner18
Estimated H-index: 18
(USGS: United States Geological Survey),
David C. Douglas37
Estimated H-index: 37
(USGS: United States Geological Survey),
Todd C. Atwood11
Estimated H-index: 11
(USGS: United States Geological Survey)
Published on May 1, 2019in Science of The Total Environment 5.59
Heli Routti12
Estimated H-index: 12
(NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute),
Todd C. Atwood11
Estimated H-index: 11
(USGS: United States Geological Survey)
+ 13 AuthorsRobert J. Letcher66
Estimated H-index: 66
(Carleton University)
Abstract The polar bear ( Ursus maritimus ) is among the Arctic species exposed to the highest concentrations of long-range transported bioaccumulative contaminants, such as halogenated organic compounds and mercury. Contaminant exposure is considered to be one of the largest threats to polar bears after the loss of their Arctic sea ice habitat due to climate change. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary of current exposure, fate, and potential health effects of contaminan...
Published on Mar 1, 2019in Diversity and Distributions 4.09
David J. Yurkowski10
Estimated H-index: 10
(UM: University of Manitoba),
Marie Auger-Méthé11
Estimated H-index: 11
(UBC: University of British Columbia)
+ 37 AuthorsMarianne Marcoux11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Published on Mar 1, 2019
Douglas A. Clark11
Estimated H-index: 11
(U of S: University of Saskatchewan),
Ryan K. Brook19
Estimated H-index: 19
(U of S: University of Saskatchewan)
+ 3 AuthorsDanielle Rivet (U of S: University of Saskatchewan)
We describe for the first time in the peer-reviewed literature observations of American black bear (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780), grizzly bear (Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758), and polar bear (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) at the same locations. Using remote cameras we documented 401 bear-visits of all three species at three camps in Wapusk National Park, Canada, from 2011–2017. These observations add to a growing body of evidence that grizzlies are undergoing a substantial range increase in nort...
Published on Feb 1, 2019in Animal Conservation 3.05
S. G. Hamilton (U of A: University of Alberta), Andrew E. Derocher49
Estimated H-index: 49
(U of A: University of Alberta)
Published on Dec 1, 2018in Scientific Reports 4.01
Eric V. Regehr17
Estimated H-index: 17
(UW: University of Washington),
Nathan J. Hostetter (Patuxent Wildlife Research Center)+ 3 AuthorsSarah J. Converse2
Estimated H-index: 2
(UW: University of Washington)
Large carnivores are imperiled globally, and characteristics making them vulnerable to extinction (e.g., low densities and expansive ranges) also make it difficult to estimate demographic parameters needed for management. Here we develop an integrated population model to analyze capture-recapture, radiotelemetry, and count data for the Chukchi Sea subpopulation of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), 2008–2016. Our model addressed several challenges in capture-recapture studies for polar bears by incl...
Published on Dec 1, 2018in Environmental Reviews 3.96
Dag Vongraven7
Estimated H-index: 7
(NPI: Norwegian Polar Institute),
Andrew E. Derocher49
Estimated H-index: 49
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Alyssa M. Bohart1
Estimated H-index: 1
(U of A: University of Alberta)
Wildlife management is predicated upon the use of scientific research to assist decision-making. However, assessment of the effectiveness of the management–research relationship is rarely undertaken. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have benefitted from an international agreement that required each of the countries within the species’ range to manage them using the best available scientific data. The objective of this paper is to conduct a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature on polar bear...
Published on Dec 1, 2018
Martyn E. Obbard22
Estimated H-index: 22
(Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources),
Seth Stapleton7
Estimated H-index: 7
(UMN: University of Minnesota)
+ 3 AuthorsMarkus Dyck6
Estimated H-index: 6
The Southern Hudson Bay polar bear (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) subpopulation is considered stable but conflicting evidence lends uncertainty to that designation. Capture-recapture studies conducted 1984-86 and 2003-05 and an aerial survey conducted 2011/12 suggested abundance was likely unchanged since the mid-1980s. However, body condition and body size declined since then, and duration of sea ice decreased by about 30 days. Due to conflicting information on subpopulation status and ongoing ...
Published on Nov 1, 2018in Biological Conservation 4.45
Karyn D. Rode24
Estimated H-index: 24
(USGS: United States Geological Survey),
Jennifer K. Fortin-Noreus (USGS: United States Geological Survey)+ 10 AuthorsMartyn E. Obbard22
Estimated H-index: 22
(Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)
Abstract Conservation plans for polar bears ( Ursus maritimus ) typically cannot prescribe management actions to address their primary threat: sea ice loss associated with climate warming. However, there may be other stressors that compound the negative effects of sea ice loss which can be mitigated. For example, Arctic tourism has increased concurrent with polar bears increasingly using terrestrial habitats, which creates the potential for increased human-bear interactions. Little is known abou...