Polar bear migration in a changing climate

Cherry et al. (2013)

Area of polar bear locations in Hudson Bay (1991–97 and 2004–09). See Cherry et al. (2013) for more detail.

Most of us don’t think of polar bears as being migratory, but a new study published in the Journal of Animal Ecology looks closely at this trait. The authors reveal migratory patterns in polar bears and show how these patterns are changing as sea ice decreases due to global warming trends. The study highlights the need for more research on migratory animals in relation to climate change.

“Changes to the timing of migration have resulted in polar bears spending progressively longer periods of time on land without access to sea ice and their marine mammal prey. The links between increased atmospheric temperatures, sea ice dynamics, and the migratory behaviour of an ice-dependent species emphasizes the importance of quantifying and monitoring relationships between migratory wildlife and environmental cues that may be altered by climate change.”

Original article in Journal of Animal Ecology

Summary from Science Daily

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