Monday, January 13, 2014

Fireside lecture: Polar Bears in the Chukchi Sea

Friday's date night was to the Forest Service fireside lecture. I was looking forward to the oreos and hot chocolate. Mr. X helped set up chairs in the overflow...where we usually end up sitting. It was a full house.

This week's topic was Polar Bears in Alaska's Chukchi Sea: Climate Change and Conservation. I was very interested to hear this lecture because in 2013, the media said that the findings of a small study showed that the Chukchi polar bears were benefiting from reduced sea ice. The presenters were Eric Regehr and Kim Titus, two of the researchers that worked on the study. Their slideshow was fantastic; they had so many pictures of polar bears and seals. They also showed us that while the Chukchi bear numbers are not declining consistent with North Slope bears, they have not yet experienced a the same level of ice free days. Chukchi polar bears have long benefited from the nutrient dense Chukchi sea and therefore, are bigger, heavier and more fertile than the North Slope bears.

Mr. X says that these researchers sure hit the biology major/research funding lottery by studying an iconic animal that is impacted by climate change, rather than say...mule deer or cougars.

Definitely a nice night out.

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