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The Effects of Changes in Sea Ice Coverage on Bearded Seal Populations Sizes and Reproduction in Hudson Bay Emily Wang COSMOS 2013 2

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Introduction: Global Climate Change Causes (Karl & Trenberth 2003) Human energy use Urbanization Land use changes Sea ice losses Last summer were the highest in recorded history (Gagnon & Gough 2005) Affects marine animals e.g. polar bears need ice to breed and Hunt (Smith 1980) globalwarmingfacts.net

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Live near Greenland, the Arctic, Alaska, and Canada (Hudson Bay) Need ice to breed (platform) Less ice = Swim longer distances -> Habitat Fragmentation Breeding season: late April or early May Introduction: Bearded Seals (Erignathus barbatus)

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What Are the Effects of Changes in Sea Ice Coverage on Bearded Seal Populations Sizes and Reproduction in the Hudson Bay? Question Robert Rosing–National Geographic

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A decrease in ice coverage in the Hudson Bay will be correlated with: A) A decline in the population B) A decline in the birth rate of pups Hypothesis Robert Rosing–National Geographic

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Method: Sea Ice Coverage Use Special Sensor Microwave/Imagers satellites F8, F11, and F13 to measure microwave radiation (Johannessen et al 1999) Use ArcGIS to analyze data (Johnston et al 2001) Measure volume of sea ice coverage every month Find yearly average each year from 2015 to 2025 Observe duration of the ice-free season each year from 2015 to 2025 www.noaanews.noaa.gov

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Method: Population Use aerial surveys (Myers & Bowen 1989) Count population in 10% of the area each month by using evenly spaced vertical lines 65 miles apart Multiply by 10 to estimate total population Find yearly average for 10 years from 2015-2025 65 miles withfriendship.com

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Method: Birth Rate of Pups Use of aerial surveys Count pup population in 10% of the area by using evenly spaced vertical lines 65 miles apart Each mating season (April-May) for 10 years (McLaren 2011) www.aerialsurvey.de withfriendship.com

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Predicted Results

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Predicted Results (Continued)

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Predicted Results (Continued)

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Discussion Climate change increases > sea ice coverage decreases Decreased by 1400 km2/year from 1978-1996 (Gagnon & Gough 2005) Now decreasing by more and more each year If this continues, only 750,000km2 in 2015 and 50,000km2 by 2025 Decrease to only 1/15 of original coverage in just 10 years www.polarprince.com

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Discussion (Continued) Climate change increases > duration of the ice-free season increases In the past ice-free season has been from mid-August to late October (Gagnon & Gough 2005) Around 75 days If this continues, it will rise to 187 days in 2015 to 221 days by 2025 walrusmagazine.com http://images.nationalgeographic.com

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Discussion (Continued) Dropped from 250,000 in 2015 to 125,000 by 2025 Decreasing Sea-ice Coverage Increasing Duration of Ice-free Season www.polarprince.com latimesblogs.latimes.com Dropped from 250,000 in 2015 to 125,000 by 2025 The Number of Bearded Seals latimesblogs.latimes.com

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Discussion (Continued) Went from 62,000 in 2015 to 41,000 in 2025 Less Sea Ice Less Breeding Smaller Number of Pups Born Each Year

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Conclusion Other species (e.g. polar bears) are also greatly impacted by sea ice loss like bearded seals (Smith 1980) Many rely on ice for breeding, feeding, molting, etc. Decline of the bearded seal population also affects other animals, which in turn affects even more animals e.g. less bearded seals causes polar bears to venture towards other prey > less ringed seals and harp seals > ultimately less polar bears (Thiemann et al 2008), (Wolkers et al 2004) Help predict future changes in seal populations

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Bibliography Gagnon, Alexandre S., and William A. Gough. "Trends in the Dates of Ice Freeze-up and Breakup over Hudson Bay, Canada." Arctic 58.4 (2005): 370-82. Print. Johannessen, Ola M., Elena V. Shalina, and Martin W. Miles. "Satellite Evidence for an Arctic Sea Ice Cover in Transformation." Science 286.5446 (1999): 1937-939. Web. Johnston, Kevin, Jay M. Ver Hoef, Konstantin Krivoruchko, and Neil Lucas. Using ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst. Redlands: ESRI, 2001. Print. Karl, Thomas R., and Kevin E. Trenberth. "Modern Global Climate Change." Science 302.5651 (2003): 1719-723. Web. 30 July 2013. McLaren, I. A. "Some Aspects of Growth and Reproduction of the Bearded Seal, Erignathus Barbatus (Erxleben)." Calanus 13th ser. (1958): 219-27. Web. Myers, R. A., and W. D. Bowen. "Estimating Bias in Aerial Surveys of Harp Seal Pup Production." The Journal of Wildlife Management 52.2 (1989): 361-72. Web. Smith, T. G. 1980. Polar bear predation of ringed and bearded seals in the land-fast sea ice habitat. Can. J. Zool. 58: 2201-2209. Thiemann, Gregory W., Sara J. Iverson, and Ian Stirling. "Polar Bear Diets and Arctic Marine Food Webs: Insights from Fatty Acid Analysis." Ecological Monographs 78.4 (2008): 591-613. Web. Wolkers, Hans, Bert V. Bavel, Andrew E. Derocher, Oystein Wiig, Kim M. Kovacs, Christian Lydersen, and Gunilla Lindstrom. "Congener-Specific Accumulation and Food Chain Transfer of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Two Arctic Food Chains."Environmental Science & Technology 6th ser. 38 (2004): 1667-674. Web.

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Acknowledgements I would like to thank Dr. Shawn Noren, Patrick Robinson, Walter, and Katy Kriscunas for providing me with this wonderful experience and supporting me through my research. http://www.hi-wallpapers.com

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Intertidal Ecology

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Whale Watching

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Steven Creeks: The River Continuum Concept

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Ano Nuevo

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