Polar bears are endangered by reduction in Arctic sea-ice concentration and by reduction in their supply of prey for food. Models shown here indicate anticipated effects on polar bear populations of several climate change scenarios.
Three themes of ongoing research: forecasting polar bear and walrus population response to changing marine ecosystems; measuring wildlife population changes in the Arctic coastal plain, and wildlife communities in the boreal-Arctic transition zone.
Changes in Arctic sea ice and permafrost will likely affect populations of wildlife. Migratory birds such as loons rely on freshwater lakes in the Arctic for nesting and food supply; we are studying how their populations are affected by these changes.
Loss of sea ice has increased ocean wave action, changing coastal habitats. For some geese this has been a positive change, increasing the amount of coastal area that supports vegetation the geese feed on.
Changes in both the ocean and coastal ecosystems may have negative effects on sea otter populations in the coastal Northwest and Alaska. A study underway will examine these factors and the overall health of sea otter populations.
Website for the Columbia Environmental Research Center with links to staff, publications, databases, field stations, and projects including those on the Rio Grande, burrowing owls, sea turtles, and geospatial technology.