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

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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.

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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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