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Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) give birth to and nurture their young in dens of ice and snow. During 1999-2001, we measured the structure of 22 dens on the coastal plain of northern Alaska after polar bear families had evacuated their dens in the spring. During the summers of 2001 and 2002, we revisited the sites of 42 maternal and autumn exploratory dens and recorded characteristics of the under-snow habitat. The structure of polar bear snow dens was highly variable. Most were simple chambers with a single entrance/egress tunnel. Others had multiple chambers and additional tunnels. Thickness of snow above and below dens was highly variable, but most dens were overlain by less than 1 m of snow. Dens were located...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Arctic
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A three-year study of epipelagic fishes inhabiting Beaufort Sea coastal waters in Alaska documented spatial and temporal patterns in fish distribution and abundance and examined their relationships to thermohaline features during summer. Significant interannual, seasonal, and geographical differences in surface water temperatures and salinities were observed. In 1990, sea ice was absent and marine conditions prevailed, whereas in 1988 and 1991, heavy pack ice was present and the dissolution of the brackish water mass along the coast proceeded more slowly. Arctic cod, capelin, and liparids were the most abundant marine fishes in the catches, while arctic cisco was the only abundant diadromous freshwater species....
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