A wierd remoted group of polar bears found in Greenland

A Southeast Greenland polar bear on a glacier or freshwater ice at 61 degrees north in September 2016.

A Southeast Greenland polar bear on a glacier or freshwater ice at 61 levels north in September 2016.
Photograph: Thomas W. Johansen/NASA Oceans soften Greenland

Researchers have recognized a beforehand unknown inhabitants of polar bears residing within the isolation of southeast Greenland. Bears hunt seals in fjords, on freshwater ice cabinets, reasonably than on quickly receding pack ice like different polar bear species.

A brand new report within the journal Science described the inhabitants, which now brings the whole variety of recognized polar bear teams from 19 to twenty. Scientists knew that some polar bears may be on this space based mostly on historic information and information of indigenous communities within the space. ‘Arctic, and so they had been lastly in a position to verify that it’s a distinct inhabitants. The group consists of some hundred bears, and females are typically smaller than these of different populations.

“Polar bears in southeast Greenland are essentially the most genetically remoted polar bears on the planet. They’re distinct from the opposite 19 Arctic polar bear subpopulations and extra distant from neighboring subpopulations than every other pair,” stated Kristin Laidre, a College of Washington polar scientist and lead writer. examine, in an electronic mail to Earther. “They have been separated for a couple of hundred years and have most likely at all times been a small inhabitants.”

Scientists have labored for years to ascertain analysis stations in Greenland, bond the bears and monitor them to verify their adaptability and isolation. Laidre stated this new group was adopted from 2015 to 2021.

Three adult polar bears in southeast Greenland in April 2015. They use sea ice for the limited time it is available.

Three grownup polar bears in southeast Greenland in April 2015. They use sea ice for the restricted time it’s out there.
Photograph: Kristin Laidre/College of Washington

Elizabeth Peacock, an assistant professor at Emory College College of Drugs and a polar bear knowledgeable, wrote a perspective piece to accompany Laidre’s analysis within the journal Science. She stated some on-line posts have hinted that this group of remoted bears could possibly be a “thriving” inhabitants as they’ve discovered a brand new method to hunt. However Peacock, she’s not satisfied that is the case.

“Plasticity normally refers to a person being able to, you already know, use totally different behaviors…so, ‘I can determine easy methods to kill a walrus or I can determine easy methods to catch fish,'” he stated. she declared. “Pure choice is about adapting over time…it assumes polar bears have sufficient time to vary what they’re doing to answer pure choice.”

Sadly, the consequences of local weather change are occurring sooner than many polar bears can reproduce.

The dots on the left map indicate where samples of Greenland polar bears were collected.  The new population in southeast Greenland, represented by red dots, is located between 60 and 64 degrees north.

The dots on the left map point out the place samples of Greenland polar bears had been collected. The brand new inhabitants in southeast Greenland, represented by crimson dots, is situated between 60 and 64 levels north.
Picture: Laidre et al./Science

In his article, Peacock pointed to different recognized polar bear populations which have proven indicators of plasticity, corresponding to nesting additional inland away from sea ice depletion or searching differing types. of prey when their traditional seal weight-reduction plan shouldn’t be as plentiful. One wonders if glacier searching will proceed to be doable sooner or later, because the ice is melting at each poles. Generations of polar bears are on the verge 10 years, however local weather change is affecting the ice at a a lot sooner fee than that. Researchers worry this new conduct will carry over because the local weather disaster quickly depletes the ice within the Arctic.

“We have now NO IDEA if they’re thriving. We do not know if the inhabitants is steady or struggling. This can require extra analysis,” Laidre stated in an electronic mail. to local weather change, scientists might want to examine the survival of grownup feminine polar bears by tagging and learning them for 3 or 4 years.

“Glacial ice might assist a small variety of polar bears survive longer underneath world warming, and could also be vital for species persistence (i.e. stopping extinction), however it’s not out there to the overwhelming majority of polar bears,” she stated. “Future monitoring of those bears can maybe inform us a bit extra about the way forward for the species.”

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