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dc.contributor.authorLone, Karen
dc.contributor.authorKovacs, Kit M.
dc.contributor.authorLydersen, Christian
dc.contributor.authorFedak, Mike
dc.contributor.authorAndersen, Magnus
dc.contributor.authorLovell, Philip
dc.contributor.authorAars, Jon
dc.identifier.citationLone , K , Kovacs , K M , Lydersen , C , Fedak , M , Andersen , M , Lovell , P & Aars , J 2018 , ' Aquatic behaviour of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in an increasingly ice-free Arctic ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 8 , 9677 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 254679413
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 749f6c0a-b2bf-4ae2-b0cb-c67769e08c7d
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85049259923
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-9569-1128/work/47136238
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000436233600005
dc.descriptionThis study was funded by Statoil and the Norwegian Polar Institute’s ICE Centre. The Norwegian Polar Institute, WWF and various NRC projects have also contributed to the base-line capture-recapture programme that financed telemetric deployments.en
dc.description.abstractPolar bears are ice-associated marine mammals that are known to swim and dive, yet their aquatic behaviour is poorly documented. Reductions in Arctic sea ice are clearly a major threat to this species, but understanding polar bears' potential behavioural plasticity with respect to the ongoing changes requires knowledge of their swimming and diving skills. This study quantified time spent in water by adult female polar bears (n = 57) via deployment of various instruments bearing saltwater switches, and in some case pressure sensors (79 deployments, 64.8 bear-years of data). There were marked seasonal patterns in aquatic behaviour, with more time spent in the water during summer, when 75% of the polar bears swam daily (May-July). Females with cubs-of-the-year spent less time in the water than other females from den emergence (April) until mid-summer, consistent with small cubs being vulnerable to hypothermia and drowning. Some bears undertook notable long-distance-swims. Dive depths up to 13.9 m were recorded, with dives ≥5 m being common. The considerable swimming and diving capacities of polar bears might provide them with tools to exploit aquatic environments previously not utilized. This is likely to be increasingly important to the species' survival in an Arctic with little or no persistent sea ice.
dc.relation.ispartofScientific Reportsen
dc.rights© The Author(s) 2018. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.titleAquatic behaviour of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in an increasingly ice-free Arcticen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Scottish Oceans Instituteen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotlanden
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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