2014-02-04. ScienceShot: Hungry Polar Bears Turn to Seabird Eggs.

posted Feb 8, 2014, 12:50 PM by Alan Gould
For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: Polar bears are known for dining on whatever they want, from human garbage to reindeer to berries. But in the lower latitudes of the Canadian Arctic, they primarily prey on ringed seals.... Over the past 3 decades, however, the sea ice in this region has progressively broken up earlier than in the past due to climate change. The bears now face 2 months of ice-free habitat. Without seals to eat, the bears have increasingly turned to terrestrial prey, including the eggs of northern common eiders and thick-billed murres. ...polar bears are also dining on snow goose eggs and caribou—does ...polar bears in areas where the ice breaks up early don’t have enough time to hunt seals and acquire the fat reserves they need to make it through the ice-free season. The vanishing sea ice, the researchers conclude, is causing a cascade of unexpected ecological effects—not just on polar bears but also on seabirds.... http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2014/02/scienceshot-hungry-polar-bears-turn-seabird-eggs. Virginia Morrill, Science Magazine (AAAS).