[MARMAM] New Publication: Polar bear behavioral response to vessel surveys in northeastern Chukchi Sea, 2008–2014

Kate Lomac-MacNair klomacmacnair at gmail.com
Tue Jun 8 12:29:00 PDT 2021

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce our new publication in *Ursus*:

Kate Lomac-MacNair, Sheyna Wisdom, José Pedro De Andrade, Julia E.
Stepanuk, and Eduardo Esteves "Polar bear behavioral response to vessel
surveys in northeastern Chukchi Sea, 2008–2014," Ursus 2021(32e8), 1-14, (8
June 2021). https://doi.org/10.2192/URSUS-D-20-00023.2

Evaluating the impacts of anthropogenic activities on Arctic wildlife is a
key issue in current management and conservation strategies. With global
climate change, expanding shipping routes, and increasing industrial
development in the Arctic, the polar bear (*Ursus maritimus*) faces new
challenges to its survival. Polar bear behavioral response to vessel
presence is not well-documented. During the 2008–2014 Chukchi Sea
Environmental Studies Program (CSESP), polar bear occurrence and behavioral
data were collected during summer–autumn vessel surveys. We examined polar
bear occurrence and behavioral response to vessel presence by distance.
During this study, 56,901 km of observation effort occurred from 3 survey
vessels and 42 groups (50 individuals) of polar bears were recorded. Over
half of the groups exhibited a behavioral response (i.e., vigilance or
flee) including all groups of mothers with cubs. The mean distance at which
bears responded to vessels (805 ± 648 m) was closer than the mean distance
at which no response was observed (2,001 ± 1,368 m). Logistic regression
analysis revealed that response was associated with distance and our model
indicated the estimated distance at which 50% of the polar bears would
exhibit a behavioral response to be 1,645 m. Our findings are relevant to
assess potential impacts of increasing vessel activity in the Arctic and to
assist in the development of effective monitoring and mitigation strategies
for polar bears.

Our paper is available online:

Or via e-mail request: klomacmacnair at gmail.com


Kate Lomac-MacNair
PhD Candidate
University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal
klomacmacnair at gmail.com
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