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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Energy requirements are higher for offshore polar bears that undertake costly swimming trips compared to coastal bears that spend most of their time on land. Photo: Magnus Andersen, Norwegian Polar Institute.

Blanchet MA, Aars J, Andersen M, Routti H


Space-use strategy affects energy requirements in Barents Sea polar bears


Polar bears in the Barents Sea are currently facing the fastest decrease of sea ice in the Arctic. Two distinct ecotypes exist in this region: coastal bears remain within the Archipelago of Svalbard year-round, whereas offshore bears follow the marginal ice zone. Blanchet et al. found that despite higher energy expenditure and costly swimming trips, the offshore ecotype seems to be at least currently a profitable strategy. However, both ecotypes are currently experiencing severe habitat changes that may challenge polar bears energetically during the coming decades.


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