Vineeta Dasoar 1181553

The Effects of Climate Change on Polar Bear Reproductive Ecology
The reproductive ecology of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) is dependent on adequate body size of individuals, as well as an appropriate sea ice habitat necessary to raise cubs and prey on seals. Polar bears inhabit food-rich, ice-covered areas in the circumpolar Arctic and have the highest biological productivity along the continental shelf. However, due to rapid climate change, these habitats are at risk and consequently, food needed to obtain nutrients is limited causing reduced body size and reproduction in the polar bear population. In addition, reduced body size of young bears, especially male, is declining over time and are males are even smaller after years in which sea ice availability is reduced. This is particularly a problem as larger bodied males outcompete smaller males and tend to have higher reproductive success with females, and this competition is dependent on available territories of sea ice that can be fought over. Typically, if the average size of males is decreased with decreasing amounts of sea ice, scramble competition could occur, and younger and smaller males may be able to travel a greater amount of distance more efficiently and locate females. However, if sea ice continues to decrease, the amount of area in which polar bear females can distribute will decrease, and it is possible that younger bears will have reduced fitness due to their inability to isolate females and farther distances. Further, although scramble competition may occur, and females may consider mating with a smaller male, if a larger male arrives it will displace the smaller male. Therefore, reduction in sea ice will result in less food and therefore


smaller cubs. and scramble and contest competition. then. reduction in the size of cubs. if climate change is not prevented. Since lighter females have been shown to have smaller litters and lighter cubs. and there is a smaller chance for these cubs to increase their fitness due to their size. that an increase in climate change in the years to come will have a significant impact on the polar bear population. Thus. A reduction of sea ice habitat will inevitably lead to decreased presence of seals that provide food for pregnant females. the decreased size of male cubs that are required to compete for territory and female mates will affect male-female reproductive dynamics. It is obvious. This term paper will investigate the effects of climate change on decreased sea ice in relationship to the reproductive ecology of polar bears. there will be an overall decrease in the population of polar bears. 2 . It will investigate the consequences of changing mating territories.

Husum K. Derocher AE. Regehr EV. Werner K. Spielhagen RF. Sexual dimorphism and the mating ecology of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) at Svalbard. Amstrup SC. Journal of Zoology 245: 65-72. 2010. Molnár PK. 1998. Amstrup SC. 2010. 3. Derocher AE. Amstrup SC. Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 117-127. Climate change threatens polar bear populations: a stochastic demographic analysis. 1993. Amstrup SC. Sørensen SA. 2007. Science 331: 450-453. Thiemann GW. Derocher AE. 2. Behavioral Ecology Sociobiology 64: 939-946. 2011. 3 . 2004. Hunter CM. Douglas DC. The Annual Review of Ecology. Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change. 2006. Predicting survival. Aars J. Stirling I. Kandiano E. Wiig Ø. 4. Hald M. Hunter CM. 6. 9. Survival and breeding of polar bears in southern Beaufort Sea in relation to sea ice. Evolution. Arctic 46: 240-245. Lewis MA. Andersen M. 2010. Marchitto TM. Lunn NJ. Zamekczyk K. Integrative and Comparative Biology 44: 163-176. Derocher AE. Parmesan C. Geographic variation in growth of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Fischbach AS. Caswell H. Ecology 91: 2883-2897. Ecological Applications 20: 768-782. Stirling I. Rode KD. 2010. Budeus G. Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water. Possible Impacts of Climatic Warming on Polar Bears. 10. Stirling I. 2010.Bibliography 1. reproduction and abundance of polar bears under climate change. Regehr EV. Runge MC. 7. 8. 5. Landward and eastward shift of Alaskan polar bear denning associated with recent sea ice changes. Stirling I. Derocher AE. Polar Biology 30: 1395-1405. Polar Bears in a Warming Climate. Reduced body size and cub recruitment in polar bears associated with sea ice decline. Regehr EV. Caswell H. Stirling I. and Systematics 37: 637-69. Biological Conservation 143: 1612-1622.

Each reference will have a 5-7 sentence summary of the important findings of the paper. References must be listed in alphabetical order and numbered from 1 to 12. Provide the title of your proposed paper. This assignment must be spaced at 1. 2011) will consist of an annotated bibliography. All of these references must be from the peer-reviewed literature: NOT from the web or grey literature.5 spacing. 4 .The second assignment (due February 28. with 12 properly cited references as outlined for the journal BioScience (see below) relevant to your essay topic.

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