- Publications and Research
- Climate Change
- Arctic Climate System
- Changing Ecosystems
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Conferences and Symposiums
- News, Analysis, and Opinion
- Northern Communities - Resilience and Adaptation
- Understanding Climate Change
- Witnesses to Change
- Food, Air, and Water
- Traditional Healing
- Governments and Organizations
- Indigenous Groups
- Other Organizations
S.H. Ferguson et al., eds., Springer, 2010, 288 pages. This book brings together some of the world's leading Arctic scientists to present the current state of knowledge on the physical and biological characteristics of Hudson Bay and in particular the ecology of marine wildlife to highlight what information is required to better understand and adapt to the changes underway, and to forecast what will happen to marine wildlife of this vast inland sea in the future.
E. Struzik. Environment 360 (2010). Across the Far North, populations of caribou, an indispensable source of food and clothing for indigenous people, are in steep decline. Scientists point to rising temperatures and a resource-development boom as the prime culprits.
UAA podcast. Climate change, biodiversity, environmental conservation, the beauty of the natural world—all of these are topics that Thomas E. Lovejoy, Ph.D., knows very well. On Tuesday, October 12, Lovejoy gave a free talk entitled "A Wild Solution to Climate Change." Listen to it here. (MP3, 20 MB) [1:02:50 min]
L. Morello. New York Times online, August 10, 2010. Changing habits of polar bears have drawn most of the attention, but walruses, which depend on drifting summer sea ice as a base for hunting and transportation through the Bering Strait, are changing, too. They are sheltering more on land in Alaska and Siberia. For Alaska's indigenous hunters, whose lives meld modern conveniences with their traditional subsistence culture, the change threatens a way of life.
Yale Environment 360, December 17, 2010. As the Arctic rapidly warms in the 21st century and Arctic sea ice largely disappears in summer, a strip of year-round ice is likely to remain to the north of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic archipelago, providing a refuge for some sea-ice dependent wildlife, such as polar bears and ringed seals, according to researchers.
Report by CAFF International Secretariat, Akureyri, Iceland, May 2010. In 2008, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) passed a resolution expressing "extreme concern" over the impacts of climate change on Arctic indigenous peoples, other communities, and biodiversity. It highlighted the potentially significant consequences of changes in the Arctic. Arctic Biodiversity Trends 2010: Selected Indicators of Change provides evidence that some of those anticipated impacts on Arctic biodiversity are already occurring. (PDF, 18.6 MB)
H.V. Danks. Arctic (1992) 45(2):159-166. The great diversity of terrestrial arthropods in the Arctic suggests that these organisms are especially useful to monitor environmental change there, where warming as a result of climatic change is expected to be especially pronounced and where current conditions are limiting for many organisms. (PDF, 908.2 KB)
Science Daily, June 30, 2011. A study of kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) in the Arctic region provides the first data on the migratory patterns of this seabird species and analyzes its capacity to respond to environmental changes. The kittiwake is one of the most emblematic marine species of the Arctic area, and evidence suggests that rising temperatures at the north pole over the coming decades will have a dramatic impact on populations of this bird.
E. Struzik, Yale Environment 360, February 14, 2011. Grizzly bears mating with polar bears. Red foxes out-competing Arctic foxes. Exotic diseases making their way into once-isolated polar realms. These are just some of the worrisome phenomena now occurring as Arctic temperatures soar and the Arctic Ocean, a once-impermeable barrier, melts.
M. Hopkin, Nature News, June 18, 2007. Springtime in the Arctic is arriving two weeks earlier than it did a decade ago, say ecologists working in Greenland. Processes that mark the beginning of spring, such as flowers blooming and birds laying eggs, are now happening an average of more than 14 days earlier in the calendar than they did as recently as 1996, as a result of rising temperatures.
BBC News, August 12, 1999. BBC environmental correspondent Alex Kirby reports on a Greenpeace expedition to the Arctic where researchers from ten countries sailed along the edge of the ice pack in the Chukchi Sea, between Alaska and Russia, studying the impacts of climate change on the region's wildlife.
Yale Environment 360, December 22, 2010. With the Arctic Ocean heading toward a largely ice-free state in summer, scientists are looking for areas that may help preserve ice-dependent creatures. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, geologist Stephanie Pfirman talks about the need for a refuge north of Canada and Greenland that researchers say could be a kind of Noah's Ark in the age of global warming.
CBC News, August 19, 2010. Researchers collecting bugs in the Canadian Arctic have confirmed wasps are breeding on Baffin Island, which they say may be further evidence of climate change.
BBC News, January 7, 1999. BBC environmental correspondent Alex Kirby reports on the conclusions of an international workshop on the problems of the Bering Sea.
T.P. Dawson et al. Science (2011) 332(6025):53-58. Climate change is predicted to become a major threat to biodiversity in the 21st century, but accurate predictions and effective solutions have proved difficult to formulate. The authors introduce a framework that uses information from different sources to identify vulnerability and to support the design of conservation responses.
K.J. Willis, S.A. Bhagwat. Science (2009) 326(5954):806-807. Over the past decade, several models have been developed to predict the impact of climate change on biodiversity. However, caution may be required in interpreting results from these models.
NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" aired this story by Alaska Public Radio Network's Annie Feidt on September 26, 2010.
Video of a lecture at UC Berkeley in September 2009 by Steven R. Beissinger, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley. [60:00 minutes; starts at 41:31]
Audubon, February 2009. Analysis of four decades of Christmas Bird Count observations reveals that birds seen in North America during the first weeks of winter have moved dramatically northward toward colder latitudes over the past four decades. (PDF, 2.05 MB)
S.A. Trefry et al. Arctic (2010) 63(3):308-314. Long-term monitoring of bird populations in the Arctic is of considerable interest, as this area is experiencing rapid climate warming; however, multi-decadal studies in the Canadian high Arctic are rare. Over five summers between 1980 and 2008, the authors conducted breeding bird surveys by walking transects and mapping territories in a periglacial lowland on east-central Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. (PDF, 635.63 KB)
C.M. Sgrò et al. Evolutionary Applications (2011) 4(2):326-337. From an evolutionary perspective, landscapes need to allow in situ selection and capture high levels of genetic variation essential for responding to the direct and indirect effects of climate change. The authors summarize ideas that need to be considered in planning for evolutionary resilience.
Alaska Seas & Coasts, Volume 5, May 2008. Warmer water means fish, which are dependent on favorable temperatures, must move. Some fishing communities that rely on these resources may suffer, while others may find new opportunities. Are our fishery management systems flexible enough to respond to major changes in ranges of fish and shellfish? (PDF, 1.81 MB)
Phenology is the timing of the annual cycles of plants and animals. Climate warming may be changing the timing of these cycles, and scientists need help tracking all the changes. A national network has been set up to collect observations from citizens across the country. This show aired on Alaska Public Radio Network's "Talk of Alaska" on July 21, 2009. Guests were Dr. Julio Betancourt of U.S. Geological Survey in Tucson, Arizona, and Jake Weltzin, executive director of National Phenology Network. (MP3—4.93 MB0, [5:23 min] This interviews requires the use of the QuickTime, which can be downloaded from QuickTime's Web site at no charge.
J.M. Durant et al. Climate Research (2007) 33:271-283. Climate influences a population through a variety of processes, including reproduction, growth, migration patterns, and phenology. Climate may operate either directly through metabolic and reproductive processes or indirectly through prey, predators, and competitors. One mechanism that may be particularly important, and which is the focus of this review, is the role of climate in affecting the reproductive success of a predator through its effect on the relative timing of food requirement and food availability during early life stages. (PDF, 540.7 KB)
PBS Online NewsHour, May 20, 2004. The NewsHour's Science Unit examines how climate change could affect large numbers of species.
T.E. Lovejoy, L. Hannah (eds.), Yale University, 2005. As human-induced climate change accelerates, scientists and policymakers involved with biodiversity conservation need authoritative information in order to design effective plans and responses. This book, written for the specialist as well as the concerned citizen, presents a comprehensive view of the newest research and thinking on climate change and biological diversity.
P.A. Wookey. Polar Research (2007) 26(2):96-103. The broad aims of this paper are to define biodiversity and ecosystem services, to set the biodiversity of the Arctic terrestrial realm into its global context, and, through the use of case studies, to illustrate how environmental change can influence biodiversity and ecosystems, and to explore what the implications of these changes might be.
Video of a lecture presented as part of Northwestern University's Science Outreach Series: "Global Warming—A Threat to Biodiversity" in October 2005. Presenter Thomas E. Lovejoy, who coined the term "biological diversity," is president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. [35:03 min]
O. Gilg et al. Global Change Biology (2009) 15:2634-2652. The authors conclude that the recent anomalous observations about lack of cyclic lemming dynamics in eastern Greenland may well be the first signs of a severe impact of climate change on the lemming-predator communities in Greenland and elsewhere in the high Arctic.
A.A. Hoffmann, C.M. Sgò. Nature (2011) 470(7335):479-485. Evolutionary adaptation can be rapid and potentially help species counter stressful conditions or realize ecological opportunities arising from climate change. The challenges are to understand when evolution will occur and to identify potential evolutionary winners as well as losers, such as species lacking adaptive capacity living near physiological limits.
B. Moe et al. Marine Ecology Progress Series (2009) 393:235-246. The timing of breeding is a life-history trait that can greatly affect fitness, because successful reproduction depends on the match between the food requirements for raising young and the seasonal peak in food availability. The authors analyzed phenology (hatch dates) in relation to climate change for two seabird species breeding in the high Arctic, little auks (Alle alle) and black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), for the periods 1963-2008 and 1970-2008. (PDF, 465.9 KB)
L. Harding. guardian.co.uk, October 20, 2009. For 1,000 years the indigenous Nenets people have herded their reindeer along the Yamal Peninsula. But their survival in this remote region of northwest Siberia is under serious threat from climate change as Russia's ancient permafrost melts.
E. Post, M.C. Forchhammer. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2008) 363(1501):2367-2373. As plant phenology advances in response to climatic warming, there is potential for development of a mismatch between the peak of resource demands by reproducing herbivores and the peak of resource availability. For migratory herbivores, such as caribou, development of a trophic mismatch is particularly likely.
Science Daily, October 4, 2011. Researchers at Brown University argue that whether an animal can make it to a final, climate-friendly destination isn't a simple matter of being able to travel a long way. It's the extent to which the creatures can withstand rapid fluctuations in climate along the way that will determine whether they complete the journey.
NPR's "Talk of the Nation," September 11, 2009. Ira Flatow, host of "Science Friday," interviews Dr. Eric Post, lead author of a Science article summarizing the state of research on climate change in the Arctic. Among the findings is that Arctic ecosystems have been severely disturbed.
BBC News, April 3, 2000. BBC environmental correspondent Alex Kirby reports on a study of the impact of climate change on Arctic breeding water birds.
Climate change: An overview of trends, projections, and potential ecosystem impacts in the United States
Lecture #12 in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Climate Change Lecture Series, presented April 20, 2010, by Virginia Burkett, PhD, Chief Scientist for Global Change Research, USGS. (WMV) [55:54] This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.
S.L. Pimm. Current Biology (2009) 19(14):R595-R601. Climate disruptions may cause the loss of a large fraction of the planet's biodiversity, even if the only mechanism were to be species ranges moving uphill as temperatures rise.
Online article published by the Polar Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.
Juha Pöyry et al. Global Ecology and Biogeography (2011) 20(2):289-298. The occurrence of multivoltinism has increased in northern European moth communities during recent decades, apparently as a response to increasing temperatures during the spring and summer seasons. The increase in multivoltinism was greatest in the southernmost parts of Finland, whereas in the northern landscapes recent warming has triggered multivoltinism in only relatively few moth species.
M.M. Humphries et al. Nature (2002) 418:313-316. The causal nature of the links between climate and animal biogeography remains largely obscure. Here, the authors develop a bioenergetic model that predicts the feasibility of mammalian hibernation under different climatic conditions.
Climatic effects on the breeding phenology and reproductive success of an Arctic-nesting goose species
M. Dickey et al. Global Change Biology (2008) 14:1973-1985. Climate warming is pronounced in the Arctic, and migratory birds are expected to be among the most affected species. The authors examine the effects of local and regional climatic variations on the breeding phenology and reproductive success of greater snow geese (Chen caerulescens atlantica), a migratory species nesting in the Canadian Arctic.
G-R Walther. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2010) 365(1549):2019-2024. There is need not only to continue to focus on the impacts of climate change on the actors in ecological networks but also, and more intensively, to focus on the linkages between them, and to acknowledge that biotic interactions and feedback processes lead to highly complex, nonlinear and sometimes abrupt responses.
F.S. Chapin III et al. Nature (2000) 405:234-242. Human alteration of the global environment has triggered the sixth major extinction event in the history of life and caused widespread changes in the global distribution of organisms. These changes in biodiversity alter ecosystem processes and change the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change.
Consequences of long-distance swimming and travel over deep-water pack ice for a female polar bear during a year of extreme sea ice retreat
G.M. Durner et al. Polar Biology (2011) 34(7):975-984. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) prefer to live on Arctic sea ice but may swim between ice floes or between sea ice and land. Although anecdotal observations suggest that polar bears are capable of swimming long distances, no data have been available to describe in detail long distance swimming events or the physiological and reproductive consequences of such behavior.
Lecture #5 in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Climate Change Lecture Series, presented September 16, 2009, by Joel Garlich-Miller, Wildlife Biologist, Marine Mammal Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Alaska). (WMV) [1:10:20 min] This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.
A. Hampe, R.J. Petit. Ecology Letters (2005) 8(5):461-467. Modern climate change is producing poleward range shifts of numerous taxa, communities, and ecosystems worldwide. The response of species to changing environments is likely to be determined largely by population responses at range margins. In contrast to the expanding edge, the low-latitude limit (rear edge) of species ranges remains understudied.
H.G. Gilchrist, M.L. Mallory. Biological Conservation (2005) 121(2):303-309. The ivory gull is a seabird that inhabits Arctic oceans throughout the year, often in association with polar pack ice. It is rare and remains one of the most poorly known seabird species in the world. Declines have occurred in all habitat types and across the known Canadian breeding range, suggesting that causes of the decline may be related to factors occurring during migration or on wintering grounds.
J.L. Gardner et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2011) 26(6):285-291. A recently documented correlate of anthropogenic climate change involves reductions in body size. Because body size affects thermoregulation and energetics, changing body size has implications for resilience in the face of climate change.
Detection of snow surface thawing and refreezing in the Eurasian Arctic with QuikSCAT: Implications for reindeer herding
A. Bartsch et al. Ecological Applications (2010) 20(8):2346-2358. Snow conditions play an important role for reindeer herding. In particular, the formation of ice crusts after rain-on-snow (ROS) events or general surface thawing with subsequent refreezing impedes foraging.
A.P. Møller et al. Global Change Biology (2006) 12(10):2005-2013. Dispersal is an important evolutionary process that can affect admixture of populations and cause rapid responses to changing climatic conditions due to gene flow from populations at different altitudes or latitudes already experiencing these conditions.
T. Simonite, Nature News, December 20, 2005. Marine biologists from the U.S. Minerals Management Service reported finding four bears drowned off the northern coast of Alaska last autumn. They also spotted an unusually large number of bears swimming in the open sea, some as far as 95 kilometers offshore. Twenty percent of bears seen in the area in September were in the water, while records from previous years show that 4% of sighted bears were swimming.
G. Woodward et al. Advances in Ecological Research (2010) 42:71-138. Attempts to gauge the biological impacts of climate change have typically focused on the lower levels of organization (individuals to populations) rather than considering more complex multi-species systems, such as entire ecological networks. The authors evaluate the possibility that a few principal drivers underpin network-level responses to climate change and that these drivers can be studied to develop a more coherent theoretical framework than is currently provided by phenomenological approaches.
G-R Walther et al. Nature (2002) 416:389-395. There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels.
F.S. Chapin et al. Trends in Ecology & Evolution (2009) 25(4):241-249. All social-ecological systems are vulnerable to recent and projected changes but have sources of adaptive capacity and resilience that can sustain ecosystem services and human well-being through active ecosystem stewardship.
A.P. Møller et al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2010, 321 pages. This is an edited volume that brings together world experts to review the current level of knowledge in the field of climate change and birds, while simultaneously listing alternative hypotheses and weak points in current research. (PDF, 238 KB)
S.M. Van Parijs et al. Animal Behaviour (2004) 68(1):89-96. The authors used vocalizations to examine the behavior of male bearded seals, Erignathus barbatus, in relation to ice cover over two consecutive years.
Effects of sea ice extent and food availability on spatial and temporal distribution of polar bears during the fall open-water period in the Southern Beaufort Sea
S. Schliebe et al. Polar Biology (2007) 31(8):999-1010. The authors investigated the relationship between sea ice conditions, food availability, and the fall distribution of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in terrestrial habitats of the Southern Beaufort Sea via weekly aerial surveys in 2000-2005.
Expanding northward: Influence of climate change, forest connectivity, and population processes on a threatened species' range shift
S.J. Melles et al. Global Change Biology (2011) 17(1):17-31. To determine the relative effects of climate, forest availability, connectivity, and biotic processes such as immigration and establishment, the authors examine range changes occurring in a species of bird, the Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina), focusing predominantly on the periphery of the species' northern range in Canada but also examining data from the entire species' range.
C.D. Thomas et al. Nature (2004) 427(6970):145-148. Climate change over the past approximately 30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species and has been implicated in one species-level extinction. (PDF, 128.1 KB)
Report prepared by Center for Biological Diversity and Care for the Wild International, September 2010. This report chronicles the most profound climatic changes in the Arctic and the impacts those changes are already having on wildlife, and concludes with a roadmap of actions needed to protect the Arctic as we know it. (PDF, 4.96 MB)
ScienceDaily, November 25, 2010. The loss of biodiversity will continue in the 21st century. Global-scale extinctions will increase strongly, the average species abundance will decline, and their distribution will be disturbed.
Facilitating adaptation to climate change and other stressors: Some options for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Lecture #10 in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Climate Change Lecture Series, presented February 16, 2010, by Dr. John Morton, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (WMV) [55:17 min] This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.
A. Gunn et al. Arctic (2009) 62(3):iii-vi. Climate trends interact with, and may alter, the typical cyclic behavior of caribou abundance. (PDF, 210.4 KB)
F.S. Chapin III, O.E. Sala, E. Huber-Sannwald (eds.), Ecological Studies 152, Springer, 2001. The purpose of this book is to develop future scenarios of biodiversity for the twenty-first century in 10 terrestrial biomes and in freshwater ecosystems based on global scenarios of changes of the environment and the understanding by ecological experts of the sensitivity of biomes to these global changes.
Video of a lecture at UC Berkeley in September 2009 by Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for Center for Biological Diversity. [41:31 min]
NPR's "Talk of the Nation," February 26, 2010. Reporting in The Canadian Field-Naturalist, researchers write of spotting grizzly bears in Canada's Wapusk National Park, on the shores of Hudson Bayâland previously inhabited only by polar bears. Author Robert Rockwell discusses potential competition between the species.
B. Barcott, OnEarth, December 15, 2010. In 2006 an American hunter shot an animal in the far north of Canada's Northwest Territories that shared characteristics of a polar bear and a grizzly. The "grolar bear" has joined a growing list of cross-species couplings—beluga whales and narwhals, right whales and bowhead whales, various seal mixtures—all confirmed to varying degrees by scientists in the Arctic over the past two decades.
P.A. Smith et al. Polar Biology (2010) 33(8)1149-1153. Past studies suggest that polar bears (Ursus maritimus) consume terrestrial food only opportunistically and derive little nutritional benefit from it. Here, the authors present observations of at least six bears consuming large numbers of snow goose (Chen caerulescens) eggs at two locations in the eastern low Arctic in 2004 and 2006.
Hematology of southern Beaufort Sea polar bears (2005-2007): Biomarker for an Arctic ecosystem health sentinel
C.M. Kirk et al. EcoHealth (2010) 7(3):307-320. Declines in sea-ice habitats have resulted in declining stature, productivity, and survival of polar bears in some regions. Hematological values established here provide a necessary baseline for anticipated changes in health as Arctic temperatures warm and sea-ice declines accelerate.
A. Stien et al. Ecology (2010)91(3):915-920. Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus plathyrynchus) have small home ranges and may therefore be vulnerable to local "locked pasture" events (ice layers limit access to plant forage) due to ground-ice formation. When pastures are "locked," Svalbard reindeer are faced with the decision of staying and live off a diminishing fat store, or trying to escape beyond the unknown spatial borders of the ice.
Implications of warm temperatures and an unusual rain event for the survival of ringed seals on the coast of southeastern Baffin Island
I. Stirling, T.G. Smith. Arctic (2004) 57(1):59-67. The premature removal of protection offered by subnivean birth lairs may expose young ringed seal pups to high levels of predation, which may negatively affect populations of ringed seals and the polar bears that depend on them for food. (PDF, 394.4 KB)
NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" aired this story by Alaska Public Radio Network's Annie Feidt on April 23, 2006.
Incorporating uncertainty about species' potential distributions under climate change into the selection of conservation areas with a case study from the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska
T. Fuller et al. Biological Conservation (2008) 141(6):1547-1559. This analysis presents a conservation planning framework for decisions under uncertainty and applies it to the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Uncertainty arises from variable distributional shifts of species' ranges due to climate change. The planning framework consists of a two-stage optimization model that selects a nominal conservation area network in the first stage and evaluates its performance under the climate scenarios in the second stage.
Influences of large-scale climatic variability on reindeer population dynamics: Implications for reindeer husbandry in Norway
R.B. Weladji, Ø. Holand. The authors discuss predicted patterns of global climatic change in Norway and assess potential consequences for reindeer husbandry. They argue that, although it is clearly shown that local and global climate affect reindeer directly (e.g., increased energetic costs of moving through deep snow and in accessing forage through snow) and indirectly (e.g., effect on forage plant biomass and quality, level of insect harassment and associated parasitism), it is difficult to predict a general pattern of how future climate change will influence this species. (PDF, 292.2 KB)
D. Mech. Climatic Change (2004) 67(1):87-93. Global climate change may affect wolves in Canada's high arctic acting through three trophic levels (vegetation, herbivores, and wolves).
M. Hullé et al. Polar Biology (2007) 31(9):1037-1042. Because temperature has risen substantially in Svalbard during the past 10-15 years and is predicted to rise further, budget requirements for a three-generation life cycle should be met more and more frequently and the impact of the resulting demographic increase should be easily measurable in field populations of A. svalbardicum. Surprisingly, this extra generation was not detected either in field populations surveyed for two consecutive years or in controlled conditions where temperature was manipulated.
A.S. Fischbach et al. Polar Biology (2007) 30(11):1395-1405. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the northern Alaska region den in coastal areas and on offshore drifting ice. The authors evaluated changes in the distribution of polar bear maternal dens between 1985 and 2005, using satellite telemetry. They expect the proportion of polar bears denning in coastal areas will continue to increase, until such time as the autumn ice retreats far enough from shore that it precludes offshore pregnant females from reaching the Alaska coast in advance of denning.
K.L. Kausrud et al. Nature (2008) 456:93-97. The relationship between commonly available meteorological data and snow conditions indicates that changes in temperature and humidity, and thus conditions in the subnivean space, seem to markedly affect the dynamics of alpine rodents and their linked groups. The pattern of less regular rodent peaks, and corresponding changes in the overall dynamics of the alpine ecosystem, thus seems likely to prevail over a growing area under projected climate change.
ScienceDaily, January 23, 2011. It's a common assumption that animal migration, like human travel across the globe, can transport pathogens long distances, in some cases increasing disease risks to humans. But in a paper just published in the journal Science, researchers report that in some cases animal migrations could actually help reduce the spread and prevalence of disease and may even promote the evolution of less virulent disease strains.
Yale Environment 360, July 18, 2011. Rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic is forcing polar bears to swim ever-longer distances and is leading to greater mortality of their cubs, according to a new study.
Chapter 11 (pages 597-648) of ACIA Scientific Report, Cambridge University Press, 2005. The effects of climate change on wildlife populations, their productivity, and their distributions will increasingly threaten arctic wildlife at the species, population, and ecosystem levels. Systems for management and conservation of wildlife in the Arctic will face new challenges and must become adaptable to the changes taking place in the natural environment accelerated by climate change. (PDF 2.1 MB)
Managing the National Wildlife Refuge system with climate change: The interaction of policy, perceptions and ecological knowledge
Lecture #4 in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Climate Change Lecture Series, presented May 27, 2009, by Dawn Magness, SCEP PhD Student, University of Alaska Fairbanks. (WMV) [1:00:20 min] This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.
Marine mammal and seabird summer distribution and abundance in the fjords of northeast Cumberland Sound of Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
K.M. Diemer et al. Polar Biology (2011) 34(1):41-48. Critical baseline population knowledge is required to properly assess the status of marine mammal and bird populations in the Canadian Arctic and the effects of climate trends on them. To address this need for one significant Arctic region, a boat-based marine mammal and seabird transect survey was conducted in Cumberland Sound fjords during summer 2008.
Monitoring the spatio-temporal dynamics of geometrid moth outbreaks in birch forest using MODIS-NDVI data
J.U. Jepsen et al. Remote Sensing of Environment (2009) 113(9):1939-1947. Defoliation caused by repeated outbreaks of cyclic geometrid moths is the most prominent natural disturbance factor in the northern-boreal birch forest. Evidence suggests that recent changes in outbreak distribution and duration can be attributed to climate warming.
Morbillivirus and toxoplasma exposure and association with hematological parameters for southern Beaufort Sea polar bears: Potential response to infectious agents in a sentinel species
C.M. Kirk et al. EcoHealth (2010) 7(3):321-331. As food webs change and human activities respond to a milder Arctic, exposure of polar bears and other Arctic marine organisms to infectious agents may increase. Because of the polar bear's status as Arctic ecosystem sentinel, polar bear health could provide an index of changing pathogen occurrence throughout the Arctic.
B.A. Minteer, J.P. Collins. Ecological Applications (2010) 20(7):1801-1804. A conservation strategy involving the translocation of species to novel ecosystems in anticipation of range shifts forced by climate change, managed relocation (MR), has divided many ecologists and conservationists.
Science Daily, June 11, 2011. Human activities that are causing global climate changes and destroying habitats in nature are leading to the extinction of many species from Earth's ecosystems. At the same time, many species are expanding the range of their habitat.
PBS NewsHour, December 18, 2009. Paul Solman speaks to a Nobel Prize winner about how a warming planet affects biodiversity.
Observations of mortality associated with extended open-water swimming by polar bears in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea
C. Monnett, J.S. Gleason. Polar Biology (2005) 29(8):681-687. The authors speculate that mortalities due to offshore swimming during late-ice (or mild ice) years may be an important and unaccounted source of natural mortality given energetic demands placed on individual bears engaged in long-distance swimming. They further suggest that drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open water periods continues.
R. Ellis. Knopf, 2009, 416 pages. Polar bears are exceptionally well suited for hunting, especially when it comes to ringed seals, their favorite prey, which they can smell from over a mile away. But as the ice melts in the Arctic, the ability of polar bears to find the food they need to survive diminishes in spite of their incredible physical capacities. Listen to an interview with author Richard Ellis that aired on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" November 22, 2009. Listen also to an interview by travel writer and radio host Rick Steeves from February 27, 2010.
M.L. Ãvila-JimÃ©nez et al. Polar Research (2010) 29(1):127-137. Four principal factors with an impact on overwintering of the terrestrial arthropod fauna are outlined here: (1) warmer winter temperatures, with an increased frequency of extreme events such as freeze-thaw cycles and surface icing; (2) changes in snow fall and snow lie; (3) pollutant load; and (4) dispersal of invertebrates to Svalbard.
L.H. Yang, V.H.W. Rudolf. Ecology Letters (2010) 13(1):1-10. The authors suggest an approach that integrates the phenology and ontogeny of species interactions with a fitness landscape to provide a common mechanistic framework for investigating phenological shifts.
ScienceDaily, February 8, 2011. Researchers say projected reductions in the number of newborn cubs is a significant threat to the western Hudson Bay polar-bear population, and if climate change continues unabated the viability of the species across much of the Arctic will be in question.
NPR's "Morning Edition," May 14, 2008. Bush administration officials are under a court order to decide whether to add the polar bear to the list of endangered species. The decision will cap a three-year campaign by environmentalists to show that climate change has the potential to imperil wildlife. Critics say any listing is a bad idea.
R. Courtland, Nature News, May 21, 2008. In a long-anticipated decision hailed as a victory by environmental groups, the United States declared the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) a 'threatened' species. But this heightened protection status may have little bearing on the animals' ultimate fate.
Ecological Applications (2011) 21(3):859-876. The authors 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.
NPR's "Morning Edition," January 21, 2008. As global warming shrinks the Arctic sea ice, polar bears' habitat is literally melting.
ScienceDaily, November 4, 2010. As the Arctic warms, a new cache of resources, snow goose eggs, may help sustain the polar bear population for the foreseeable future. Results of a new study show that the advance in mean overlap of the two species gives an advantage to polar bears. But increased variability, also the result of global climate change, leads to an increased mismatch that is good news for snow geese.
ScienceDaily, January 7, 2010. A long-term study showing the changes in habitat associations of polar bears in response to sea ice conditions in the southern Beaufort Sea has implications for polar bear management in Alaska.
N. Jones, Nature News, December 15, 2010. Some summer sea ice is likely to persist in the Arctic into the next century, providing a last refuge for polar bears, seals, and other animals, researchers reported at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. But both ice and animals still face multiple threats—from oil spills and other pollution to extinction through cross-breeding between distinct animal populations.
S. Brown, Nature News, November 23, 2007. A census of polar bears in Canada's Hudson Bay has lent some hard numbers to the long-held fear that retreating sea ice is causing some bears to starve or drown.
PBS NewsHour, May 14, 2008. In a highly anticipated decision, the Interior Department on May 14, 2008, declared the polar bear "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act because of shrinking Arctic ice due to global warming. Two analysts consider the impact of the decision.
ScienceDaily, December 15, 2010. Polar bears were added to the threatened species list nearly three years ago as their icy habitat showed steady, precipitous decline because of a warming climate. But it appears the Arctic icons aren't necessarily doomed after all.
PBS NewsHour, November 25, 2008. As climate change threatens polar bears' survival, laws put in place to protect the bears are impacting the Inuit people who have long hunted them. ITN's ITV news reports on the plight of both polar bears and Native people in the Canadian Arctic.
ScienceDaily, November 24, 2010. Biologists say that as polar bears lose habitat due to global warming they will be forced southward in search of alternative sources of food, where they will increasingly come into competition with grizzly bears.
Population genetic structure in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Hudson Bay, Canada: Implications of future climate change
A.E. Crompton et al. Biological Conservation (2008) 141(10):2528-2539. The primary habitat for polar bears is sea ice, yet, unlike most of the high Arctic, Hudson Bay undergoes a summer ice-free period that forces all bears ashore until ice forms again in fall. Predicted changes in the distribution and duration of sea ice in Hudson Bay suggest that gene flow among breeding 'groups' may be reduced in the future.
Possible effects of climate warming on selected populations of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Canadian Arctic
I. Stirling, C.L. Parkinson. Arctic (2006) 59(3):261-275. The authors hypothesize that, if the climate continues to warm as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), then polar bears in all five populations discussed in this paper will be increasingly food-stressed, and their numbers are likely to decline eventually, probably significantly so. As these populations decline, problem interactions between bears and humans will likely continue, and possibly increase, as the bears seek alternative food sources. (PDF, 1.5 MB)
I. Stirling, A.E. Derocher. Arctic (1993) 46(3):240-245. If climatic warming occurs, the first impacts on polar bears (Ursus maritirnus) will be felt at the southern limits of their distribution, such as in James and Hudson bays, where the whole population is already forced to fast for approximately four months when the sea ice melts during the summer. Prolonging the ice-free period will increase nutritional stress on this population until they are no longer able to store enough fat to survive the ice-free period. (PDF, 856 KB)
P.K. MolnÃ¡r et al. Biological Conservation (2010) 143(7):1612-1622. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations are predicted to be negatively affected by climate warming, but the timeframe and manner in which change to polar bear populations will occur remains unclear. Predictions incorporating climate change effects are necessary for proactive population management, the setting of optimal harvest quotas, and conservation status decisions.
R. Virkkala et al. Biological Conservation (2008) 141(5):1343-1353. Climate change is projected to be particularly strong in the northern latitudes. Thus, boreal or Arctic species are especially susceptible to the effects of climate warming. In this work, the authors forecasted changes in the distributions of 27 northern land bird species in the 21st century, based on predicted rates of climate change.
C.V. Jay et al. Polar Biology (2011) 34(7):1065-1084. Extensive and rapid losses of sea ice in the Arctic have raised conservation concerns for the Pacific walrus, a large pinniped inhabiting arctic and subarctic continental shelf waters of the Chukchi and Bering seas. The authors developed a Bayesian network model to integrate potential effects of changing environmental conditions and anthropogenic stressors on the future status of the Pacific walrus population at four periods through the twenty-first century.
T.T. Høye et al. Current Biology (2007) 17(12):R449-R451. The authors document extremely rapid climate-induced advancement of flowering, emergence, and egg-laying in a wide array of species in a high Arctic ecosystem. The strong responses and the large variability within species and taxa illustrate how easily biological interactions may be disrupted by abiotic forcing, and how dramatic responses to climatic changes can be for Arctic ecosystems.
I-C Chen et al. Science (2011) 333(6045):1024-1026. The distributions of many terrestrial organisms are currently shifting in latitude or elevation in response to changing climate. The range shift of each species depends on multiple internal species traits and external drivers of change. Rapid average shifts derive from a wide diversity of responses by individual species.
Y. Yom-Tov et al. Ambio (2010) 39(7):496-503. The authors hypothesize that a temporal increase in body size of Swedish otters is related to a combination of factors, including reduced energy expenditure resulting from increasing ambient temperature, and increased food availability from longer ice-free periods.
K.D. Rode et al. Ecological Applications (2010) 20(3):768-782. The authors 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.
G. Keppel et al. Global Ecology and Biogeography (2011) DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00686.x. Refugia are habitats that components of biodiversity retreat to, persist in, and can potentially expand from under changing environmental conditions. However, the study and discussion of refugia has often been ad hoc and descriptive in nature. The authors therefore: (1) provide a habitat-based concept of refugia, and (2) evaluate methods for the identification of refugia.
J.J. Bowden, C.M. Buddle. Arctic (2010) 63(3):261-272. Arthropod assemblages in the Arctic are set for substantial changes in response to climate change, yet we know little about the ecological structure of many groups in the North. This study tested the effects of elevation and latitude on northern spider assemblages by sampling along nine mountains across three latitudes in the Yukon Territory, Canada. (PDF, 1.48 MB)
Report prepared by the H. John Heinz III Center For Science, Economics, and the Environment, 2008. There is considerable interest on the part of wildlife managers and conservation practitioners in identifying strategies that could be used to assist wildlife species and natural communities in the process of adapting to the effects of climate change.
N. Boelman, New York Times, June 7, 2011. Natalie Boelman, an ecosystem ecologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, writes from the North Slope of Alaska, where she is studying the effects of climate change on the interactions among plants, insects, and migratory songbirds.
The early bear gets the goose: Climate change, polar bears and lesser snow geese in western Hudson Bay
R.F. Rockwell, L.J. Gormezano. Polar Biology (2009) 32(4):539-547. As climate change advances the date of spring breakup in Hudson Bay, polar bears are coming ashore earlier. Since they would have lost some of their opportunities to hunt ringed seals from a sea ice platform, they may be deficient in energy. Subadult polar bears appear to come ashore before more mature individuals, and the earliest subadults are beginning to overlap the nesting period of the large colony of snow geese also occupying the Cape Churchill Peninsula.
R.A. Robinson et al. Endangered Species Research (2009) 7:87-99. Long-distance migrations are among the wonders of the natural world, but this multitaxon review shows that the characteristics of species that undertake such movements appear to make them particularly vulnerable to detrimental impacts of climate change. (PDF, 2.38 MB)
Trophic matches and mismatches: Can polar bears reduce the abundance of nesting snow geese in western Hudson Bay?
R.F. Rockwell et al. Oikos (2011) 120(5):696-709. Climate-change-driven advances in the date of sea ice breakup will increasingly lead to a loss of spring polar bear foraging opportunities on ringed seal pups, creating a phenological trophic 'mismatch.' However, the same shift will lead to a new 'match' between polar bears and ground nesting birds. This new match will be especially prevalent along the Cape Churchill Peninsula of western Hudson Bay where both polar bears and nesting snow geese are abundant. (PDF, 581.12 KB)
C.D. Arp et al. Polar Biology (2010) 33(12):1629-1640. Arctic habitats at the interface between land and sea are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The northern Teshekpuk Lake Special Area (N-TLSA), a coastal plain ecosystem along the Beaufort Sea in northern Alaska, is experiencing increasing rates of coastline erosion and storm surge flooding far inland, resulting in lake drainage and conversion of freshwater lakes to estuaries. These physical mechanisms are affecting upland tundra as well.
Unusual predation attempts of polar bears on ringed seals in the southern Beaufort Sea: Possible significance of changing spring ice conditions
I. Stirling et al. Arctic (2008) 61(1):14-22. In April and May 2003 through 2006, unusually rough and rafted sea ice extended for several tens of kilometers offshore in the southeastern Beaufort Sea from about Atkinson Point to the Alaska border. Hunting success of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) seeking seals was low despite extensive searching for prey. (PDF, 7.8 MB)
Lecture #11 in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Climate Change Lecture Series, presented March 16, 2010, by Jeffrey Olsen, PhD, US Fish & Wildlife Conservation Genetics Laboratory. (WMV) [59:21 min] This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.
A. Feidt, Alaska Public Radio Network, September 14, 2011.
NPR's "All Things Considered" aired this story by Alaska Public Radio Network's Annie Feidt on January 4, 2008.
National Geographic video, September 27, 2010. Thousands of walruses gathered together in a dangerous "haul out" on the coast of Alaska in September 2010. Scientists say the walruses came ashore in such large numbers because their normal habitats, Arctic ice floes, are melting.
ScienceDaily, March 24, 2010. Warmer, wetter weather in the Canadian Arctic could create problems for nesting seabirds, say a team of Canadian scientists who, between them, have spent over 7,000 days observing birds in the North.
N. Drake, Nature News, May 4, 2011. The sighting of a lone gray whale last year off the beaches of Israel, and then again near Spain, came as a surprise to many. A group of researchers now suggests that the sighting might indicate a wider trend: the mixing of northern Atlantic and Pacific marine ecosystems, made possible by the climate-driven depletion of Arctic sea ice.
NPR's "Morning Edition," July 28, 2009. When wildlife biologists visited a remote spot in Canada called Banks Island in the spring of 2004, they discovered thousands upon thousands of dead musk oxen. It took years to determine the cause. They called it "rain-on-snow"—the worst case of it ever documented.
Lecture #8 in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Climate Change Lecture Series, presented December 9, 2009, by Philip Martin, Fish & Wildlife Biologist, Fairbanks Fish & Wildlife Field Office. (WMV) [50:15 min] Click here for a full report. (PDF, 9.47 MB) This interview requires the use of the Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded from Windows Media Player's Web site at no charge.
ScienceDaily, July 7, 2011. Polar bears' unique characteristics allow them to survive in one of the most extreme environments on Earth, but that survival is now threatened as rising temperatures and melting ice reshape the Arctic landscape. Now it appears that the stress of climate change, occurring both long ago and today, may be responsible for surprising twists in the bears' history and future as well.
ScienceDaily, February 3, 2011. Climate change is likely to imperil the wolverine in two ways: reducing or eliminating the springtime snow cover that they rely on to protect and shelter newborn kits, and increasing August temperatures well beyond what the species may be able to tolerate.