Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change has silver lining for grizzly bears

Date:
October 28, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
Global warming and forest disturbances may have a silver lining for threatened species of grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada.

Grizzly Bear catching a salmon.
Credit: andreanita / Fotolia

Global warming and forest disturbances may have a silver lining for threatened species of grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada.

Related Articles


In a 10-year study that monitored 112 bears in Alberta's Rocky Mountain region, University of Alberta biologist Scott Nielsen and his colleagues found that warmer temperatures and easier access to food associated with forest disturbances helped the grizzlies to build more body fat, known to increase the chances of successful reproduction for mothers.

The resulting 'silver spoon effect' shows that bears born into these favourable conditions have a head-start in life, said Nielsen, an assistant professor in the U of A Department of Renewable Resources.

"Understanding variations in body size helps us understand what limits grizzly populations," Nielsen said. "We get clues about the environments that most suit grizzlies by examining basic health measures such as body size. A simple rule is, the fatter the bear, the better. Certain environments promote fatter bears.

The findings, published in BMC Ecology, may help influence forest harvest designs to enhance habitat for the Alberta grizzly, which is classed by the Alberta government as a threatened species. Currently there are only about 750 of the bears in the province, half of them adults.

In years when warmer temperatures and less late winter snow brought on earlier spring conditions, the body size of bears as adults was larger. Smaller bears were found in colder and less productive environments or years that were abnormally cool.

"We hypothesize that warmer temperatures in this ecosystem, especially during late winter and spring, may not be such a bad thing for grizzlies," Nielsen said, noting that historically the range for the bears once extended as far south as Mexico and persists today even in the deserts of Mongolia. "That suggests the species won't likely be limited by rising temperatures which would lengthen the growing season and the time needed to fatten prior to hibernation."

As well, bears that used disturbed forest habitats containing a wide variety of stand ages were healthier, Nielsen said.

"The diversity of stand ages in the landscape has a positive influence on body condition because bears are better able to access a wide range of food sources."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Scott E Nielsen, Marc RL Cattet, John Boulanger, Jerome Cranston, Greg J McDermid, Aaron BA Shafer, Gordon B Stenhouse. Environmental, biological and anthropogenic effects on grizzly bear body size: temporal and spatial considerations. BMC Ecology, 2013; 13 (1): 31 DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-13-31

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Climate change has silver lining for grizzly bears." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028135027.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2013, October 28). Climate change has silver lining for grizzly bears. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028135027.htm
University of Alberta. "Climate change has silver lining for grizzly bears." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028135027.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins