USGS at The Wildlife Society: From sea-ice change to contaminants to predators and prey

they do, allowing predictions of likely population status and distribution based on sea ice composition. RSFs may be employed in a number of research and management endeavors directed towards polar bears. Applying RSFs to near-real time satellite imagery will aid in the design of aerial surveys and mark-recapture research to increase the effectiveness of polar bear field research. A polar bear RSF can help managers to assess the potential impacts of human-caused perturbations, such as industrial expansion and oil spills, by an understanding of the sea-ice characteristics surrounding the perturbation and the expected response of polar bears to those characteristics. Sea-ice degradation due to climate warming will have the largest future impact on polar bears and their prey. RSFs employing long-term forecasting of likely sea-ice scenarios will allow predictions of polar bear distribution resulting from climate change and will be a first step in assessing impacts on the population. If Arctic sea ice continues on a trend toward thinner ice and a longer ice minima season, RSFs will assist in an adaptive management strategy for harvest recommendations and the management of human populations to accommodate a changing polar bear population. In a warming Arctic, RSFs will be necessary to identify high Arctic refugia where persistent sea ice would allow the continued survival of a remnant population of polar bears. George Durner, Session 27, Monday Sept. 25, 2:00-2:20 p.m.

Decline of the glacier murrelet, a Pleistocene relict in an age of global warming:

The birth of a cooler climate in the late Pliocene was accompanied by rapid increase in seabird species, particularly in the auk family. Several new species of murrelets evolved, including the marbled murrelet (B. marmoratus), which nests in coastal old-growth conifers from California to Alaska, and the Kittlitz's murrelet (B. brevirostris), which developed an unusual and intimate association with

Contact: Catherine Puckett
United States Geological Survey

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