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The purpose of this project is to provide better information to industry and regulatory agencies regarding the likely locations of polar bear dens. This project integrates snow physics, high-resolution digital elevation data, and bear biology to produce more refined and accurate maps predicting suitable polar bear den habitat than are currently available. The work consists of data gathering, consultation between snow and bear scientists, modeling, and sensitivity studies to understand the various factors influencing den location and evolution along the Beaufort Coast.The proposed work is intended to refine current methods of identifying polar bear denning sites by incorporating higher-resolution topographic data...
Contemporary observations suggest that water may disappear entirely from portions of some North Slope stream-beds during periods of drought or low flow. Climate models project even drier summers in the future. This could pose a problem for migrating fish that must be able to move back and forth from breeding and summer feeding areas to scarce overwintering sites. This work uses the best available long-term hydrologic data set for the North Slope (in the upper Kuparuk River watershed) to develop a model to assess the vulnerability of stream systems to periodic drought, and the vulnerability of migrating fish to a loss of stream connectivity.
Arctic wetlands, where millions of local and migratory birds nest, are composed of a mosaic of ice wedge polygons, non-patterned tundra, and large vegetated drained thaw lake basins. Regional climate projections suggest that evapotranspiration, rainfall, and snowfall will increase, making it difficult to predict how surface water distribution might change and how habitats for the invertebrate resources used by waterbirds will be impacted. This study will focus on evaluating how climate change will affect the invertebrate community, and whether the change in climate (through changes in hydrology and surface energy balance) could induce a trophic mismatch that might alter the growth and survival of shorebird young....
We assessed change in the seasonal timing of insect emergence from tundra ponds near Barrow, Alaska over a four-decade timespan, and explored factors that regulate this significant ecological phenomenon. The early-summer pulse of adult insects emerging from myriad tundra ponds on the Arctic Coastal Plain is an annual event historically coincident with resource demand by tundra-nesting avian consumers. Asymmetrical changes in the seasonal timing of prey availability and consumer needs may impact arctic-breeding shorebirds, eiders, and passerines. We have found evidence of change in the thermal behavior of these arctic wetlands, along with a shift in the phenology of emerging pond insects. Relative to the 1970s, tundra...
Historically, available polar bear den habitat models have been based primarily on the presence of topographic features capable of capturing drifting snow. In any given season, however, the availability and precise location of snowdrifts of sufficient size to accommodate a bear den depends on the antecedent snowfall and wind conditions, and these vary from one year to the next. Thus, suitable topography is a necessary pre-condition, but is not sufficient to accurately predict potential den sites in a given year. To satisfy the requirements of agency and industry managers what is needed is a user-friendly decision-support tool that takes into account the current fall and early-winter meteorological conditions, and...


    map background search result map search result map Mapping Suitable Snow Habitat for Polar Bear Denning Along the Beaufort Coast of Alaska Linking North Slope Climate, Hydrology, and Fish Migration Operational Polar Bear Den Mapping Interdisciplinary Study of How Climate Change May Affect Wetland Habitats, Invertebrates and Shorebirds Changing Seasonality of Invertebrate Food Resources across the Arctic Coastal Plain Mapping Suitable Snow Habitat for Polar Bear Denning Along the Beaufort Coast of Alaska Linking North Slope Climate, Hydrology, and Fish Migration Operational Polar Bear Den Mapping Changing Seasonality of Invertebrate Food Resources across the Arctic Coastal Plain Interdisciplinary Study of How Climate Change May Affect Wetland Habitats, Invertebrates and Shorebirds