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Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea population, distributed from approximately Icy Cape, west of Point Barrow, to Pearce Point, east of Paulatuk in Canada, are harvested by hunters from both countries. In Canada, quotas to control polar bear hunting have been in place, with periodic modifications, since 1968. In Alaska, passage of the United State Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 banned polar bear hunting unless done by Alaska Natives for subsistence. However, the MMPA placed no restrictions on numbers or composition of the subsistence hunt, leaving open the potential for an overharvest with no possible legal management response until the population was declared depleted. Recognizing...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Most emperor geese (Chen canagica) nest in a narrow coastal region of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) in western Alaska, but their winter distribution extends more than 3000 km from Kodiak Island, Alaska, to the Commander Islands, Russia. We marked 53 adult female emperor geese with satellite transmitters on the YKD in 1999, 2002, and 2003 to examine whether chronology of migration or use of seasonal habitats differed among birds that wintered in different regions. Females that migrated relatively short distances (650-1010 km) between the YKD and winter sites on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula bypassed autumn staging areas on the Bering Sea coast of the Alaska Peninsula or used them for shorter periods (mean...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Maps of mean monthly surface temperature and precipitation for Alaska and adjacent areas of Canada, produced by Oregon State University's Spatial Climate Analysis Service (SCAS) and the Alaska Geospatial Data Clearinghouse (AGDC), were analyzed. Because both sets of maps are generally available and in use by the community, there is a need to document differences between the processes and input data sets used by the two groups to produce their respective set of maps and to identify similarities and differences between the two sets of maps and possible reasons for the differences. These differences do not affect the observed large-scale patterns of seasonal and annual variability. Alaska is divided into interior and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) are major predators in the Arctic and may benefit from human development. We studied use of garbage by glaucous gulls in Barrow, Alaska, in 2007, when municipal waste was disposed of in a landfill, and in 2008, when it was incinerated. In both years, diet samples from breeding adult gulls contained less garbage than those from loafing nonbreeding gulls (mostly subadults of less than four years), possibly because the breeding colony was more distant than many loafing sites from the landfills. Although breeding gull samples showed no change, garbage in regurgitated pellets and food remains of nonbreeding gulls was significantly less prevalent in 2008 than in 2007 (28% vs. 43% occurrence...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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On Ellesmere Island in 2006, arctic wolves (Canis lupus arctos) were observed making a two-pronged approach to a herd of muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and, on another occasion, ambushing muskoxen. Both observations seemed to provide evidence that the wolves were using foresight, understanding, and planning. Although the possible use of insight and purposiveness has been documented in captive wolves, the present report is one of the few to document the possibility that free-ranging wolves use these other three mental processes. ?? The Arctic Institute of North America.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Indigenous knowledge is a valuable but under-used source of information relevant to landscape change research. We interviewed Iñupiat elders, hunters, and other knowledge-holders in the villages of Barrow and Atqasuk on the western Arctic Coastal Plain of northern Alaska to gain further insight into the processes governing the ubiquitous lakes and the dynamics of landscape change in this region of continuous permafrost. The interviews provided a suite of information related to lakes and associated drained lake basins, as well as knowledge on landforms, environmental change, human events, and other phenomena. We were able to corroborate many observations independently and verify the timing of several large and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Satellite radio-location data from 57 adult male Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) were used to estimate haul-out fidelity, broadly describe seasonal foraging distributions, and determine the approximate timing of autumn migration from Bristol Bay, Alaska. Data were collected intermittently during 1987-91 and 1995-2000, primarily during the period from May to October. Transmitter longevity ranged from less than 1 day to 560 days (median 75 d). The four tagging sites were the only haul-outs that were commonly used in the bay from spring through autumn. Mean fidelity, defined as the chance that an animal will return to an area where it previously hauled out, was 0.56 (SE = 0.09). However, small sample...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Available information on the distribution of breeding shorebirds across the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska is dated, fragmented, and limited in scope. Herein, we describe the distribution of 19 shorebird species from data gathered at 407 study plots between 1998 and 2004. This information was collected using a single-visit rapid area search technique during territory establishment and early incubation periods, a time when social displays and vocalizations make the birds highly detectable. We describe the presence or absence of each species, as well as overall numbers of species, providing a regional perspective on shorebird distribution. We compare and contrast our shorebird distribution maps to those of prior studies...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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A long-existing system of wolves (Canis lupus), muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and arctic hares (Lepus arcticus) in a 2600 km]2 area of Canada's High Arctic (80DG N latitude) began collapsing in 1997 because of unusual adverse summer weather but recovered to a level at which all three species were rreproducing by 2004. Recovery of wolf presence and reproduction appeared to be more dependent on muskox increase than on hare increase.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Population estimates for long-tailed ducks in North America have declined by nearly 50% over the past 30 years. Life history and population dynamics of this species are difficult to ascertain, because the birds nest at low densities across a broad range of habitat types. Between 1991 and 2004, we collected information on productivity and survival of long-tailed ducks at three locations on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Clutch size averaged 7.1 eggs, and nesting success averaged 30%. Duckling survival to 30 days old averaged 10% but was highly variable among years, ranging from 0% to 25%. Apparent annual survival of adult females based on mark-recapture of nesting females was estimated at 74%. We combined these estimates...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Recognition that polar bears are shared by hunters in Canada and Alaska prompted development of the 'Polar Bear Management Agreement for the Southern Beaufort Sea.' Under this Agreement, the harvest of polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea (SBS) is shared between Inupiat hunters of Alaska and Inuvialuit hunters of Canada. Quotas for each jurisdiction are to be reviewed annually in light of the best available scientific information. Ideal implementation of the Agreement has been hampered by the inability to quantify geographic overlap among bears from adjacent populations. We applied new analytical procedures to a more extensive radiotelemetry data set than has previously been available to quantify that overlap...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Brown bear-human interactions were observed in 1993, 1995, and 1997 at Kulik River in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. We analyzed these interactions using survival analysis, creating survival curves for the time that bears remained on the river in the presence, and absence, of human activity. Bear-only survival curves did not vary significantly between years (p = 0.067). Ninety-seven percent of bears left the river within 70 minutes of arrival in all years. Temporal patterns of bear activity were unaffected by the presence of humans as long as the bears did not share river zones with humans (p = 0.062 to p = 0.360). When people and bears did not share river zones, 38.6% (1993), 36.0% (1995), and 37.0%...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Understanding how individuals use key resources is critical for effective conservation of a population. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD) in western Alaska is the most important postbreeding staging area for shorebirds in the subarctic North Pacific, yet little is known about movements of shorebirds there during the postbreeding period. To address this information gap, we studied residency times and patterns of movement of 17 adult and 17 juvenile radio-marked Dunlin (Calidris alpina) on the YKD between early August and early October 2005. Throughout this postbreeding period, during which Dunlin were molting, most birds were relocated within a 130 km radius of their capture site on the YKD, but three birds were relocated...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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We observed polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternity den sites on Alaska’s North Slope in March 2002 and 2003 in an effort to describe bears’ post-den emergence behavior. During 40 sessions spanning 459 h, we observed 8 adults and 14 dependent cubs outside dens for 37.5 h (8.2% of total observation time). There was no significant difference between den emergence dates in 2002 (mean = 15 Mar ± 4.1 d) and 2003 (mean = 21 Mar ± 2.1 d). Following initial den breakout, polar bears remained at their den sites for 1.5 to 14 days (mean = 8.1 ± 5.1 d). The average length of stay in dens between emergent periods was significantly shorter in 2002 (1.79 h) than in 2003 (4.82 h). While outside, adult bears were inactive 49.5%...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Female caribou (Rangifer tarandus) are highly gregarious, yet there has been little study of the behavioral mechanisms that foster coexistence. Quantifying patterns of aggression between male and female, particularly in the only cervid taxa where both sexes grow antlers, should provide insight into these mechanisms. We asked if patterns of aggression by male and female caribou followed the pattern typically noted in other polygynous cervids, in which males display higher frequencies and intensity of aggression. From June to August in 2011 and 2012, we measured the frequency and intensity of aggression across a range of group sizes through focal animal sampling of 170 caribou (64 males and 106 females) on Adak Island...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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The National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska (NPR-A) in northeastern Alaska provides winter maternal denning habitat for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and also has high potential for recoverable hydrocarbons. Denning polar bears exposed to human activities may abandon their dens before their young are able to survive the severity of Arctic winter weather. To ensure that wintertime petroleum activities do not threaten polar bears, managers need to know the distribution of landscape features in which maternal dens are likely to occur. Here, we present a map of potential denning habitat within the NPR-A. We used a fine-grain digital elevation model derived from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IfSAR) to generate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Winter distribution of Pacific Flyway brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) has shifted northward from lowtemperate areas to sub-Arctic areas over the last 42 years. We assessed the winter abundance and distribution of brant in Alaska to evaluate whether climate warming may be contributing to positive trends in the most northern of the wintering populations. Mean surface air temperatures during winter at the end of the Alaska Peninsula increased about 1??C between 1963 and 2004, resulting in a 23% reduction in freezing degree days and a 34% decline in the number of days when ice cover prevents birds from accessing food resources. Trends in the wintering population fluctuated with states of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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The sharp-tailed sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) is a long-distance migrant that travels each year from breeding grounds in the Russian Arctic to nonbreeding areas in Australasia. Most adults migrate rapidly from breeding grounds along a largely inland route through Asia. Here we report on the highly unusual migratory strategy of this species in which some juveniles, but virtually no adults, take a pronounced detour to western Alaska before proceeding on southward migration. We analyzed data from our own studies in this region and published and unpublished observations and specimen records of sharp-tailed sandpipers from the entire Pacific Basin. Each autumn, sharp-tailed sandpipers began arriving on coastal graminoid...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Coastal regions of Alaska are regularly affected by intense storms of ocean origin, the frequency and intensity of which are expected to increase as a result of global climate change. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (YKD), situated in western Alaska on the eastern edge of the Bering Sea, is one of the largest deltaic systems in North America. Its low relief makes it especially susceptible to storm-driven flood tides and increases in sea level. Little information exists on the extent of flooding caused by storm surges in western Alaska and its effects on salinization, shoreline erosion, permafrost thaw, vegetation, wildlife, and the subsistence-based economy. In this paper, we summarize storm flooding events in the Bering...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) give birth during mid-winter in dens of ice and snow. Denning polar bears subjected to human disturbances may abandon dens before their altricial young can survive the rigors of the Arctic winter. Because the Arctic coastal plain of Alaska is an area of high petroleum potential and contains existing and planned oil field developments, the distribution of polar bear dens on the plain is of interest to land managers. Therefore, as part of a study of denning habitats along the entire Arctic coast of Alaska, we examined high-resolution aerial photographs (n = 1655) of the 7994 km2 coastal plain included in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and mapped 3621 km of bank habitat suitable...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic


map background search result map search result map The polar bear management agreement for the southern Beaufort Sea: an evaluation of the first ten years of a unique conservation agreement Mapping polar bear maternal denning habitat in the National Petroleum Reserve -- Alaska with an IfSAR digital terrain model Wayward youth: Trans-Beringian movement and differential southward migration by juvenile sharp-tailed sandpipers Aggression and coexistence in female caribou Aggression and coexistence in female caribou The polar bear management agreement for the southern Beaufort Sea: an evaluation of the first ten years of a unique conservation agreement Mapping polar bear maternal denning habitat in the National Petroleum Reserve -- Alaska with an IfSAR digital terrain model Wayward youth: Trans-Beringian movement and differential southward migration by juvenile sharp-tailed sandpipers