MEPS 564:225-233 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11964

Sea ice cycle in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective

L. Castro de la Guardia1,*, P. G. Myers1, A. E. Derocher2, N. J. Lunn3, A. D. Terwisscha van Scheltinga1,4

1Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E3, Canada
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada
3Wildlife Research Division, Science and Technology Branch, Environment and Climate Change Canada, CW422 Biological Sciences Building, University of Alberta, AB T6G 2E9, Canada
4Present address: School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Remote sensing has allowed insights into changing Arctic sea ice, but seasonal underestimation of ice presence may lead to misinterpretation of species behavior. We use the dependence of polar bears Ursus maritimus on sea ice to assess the utility of satellite-linked radio collar locations to indicate underestimation in sea ice on 2 ice data sets derived from satellites. We then define the ice-free period in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective using the correlation between the ice concentration and polar bear migration onshore and offshore. We found that the ice-free period in this region lengthened by 3 ± 0.8 wk over the period 1979-2015. Polar bears migrated onshore 2 wk earlier and offshore 1 wk later in the period 2005-2015 than in 1980-1989. Understanding the trends in polar bear migration and the onshore period is critical to understanding population status.


KEY WORDS: Remote sensing · Polar bears · Western Hudson Bay · Sea ice concentration


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Cite this article as: Castro de la Guardia L, Myers PG, Derocher AE, Lunn NJ, Terwisscha van Scheltinga AD (2017) Sea ice cycle in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 564:225-233. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11964

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