Feds: Lack of sea ice changes walrus behavior

November 14, 2012 by Dan Joling

Federal scientists say a lack of summer sea ice is changing the behavior of Pacific walruses, but they don't know what the effect will be.

Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and tagged 251 walruses in the Chukchi (CHUCK'-chee) Sea off 's northern coast and tracked their movements from 2008-2011. The results were released at a news conference Wednesday in Anchorage.

A release issued ahead of the news conference says the study shows walruses are arriving earlier than normal at northern feeding grounds in the summer. When sea ice melted completely, the walruses hauled out on land and foraged for food closer to shore.

Scientists say they don't yet understand the impact of the new behavior, but noted possible higher for younger walruses from being trampled.

Explore further: Partial walrus estimate alarms conservation group


Related Stories

Walrus herds gather on Alaska's northwest shore

August 19, 2011

(AP) -- Large herds of Pacific walrus have begun gathering on the northwest coast of Alaska, again forsaking sea ice for sand in what has become a symbol of climate warming in the region.

Recommended for you

A better way to read the genome

October 9, 2015

UConn researchers have sequenced the RNA of the most complicated gene known in nature, using a hand-held sequencer no bigger than a cell phone.

Threat posed by 'pollen thief' bees uncovered

October 9, 2015

A new University of Stirling study has uncovered the secrets of 'pollen thief' bees - which take pollen from flowers but fail to act as effective pollinators - and the threat they pose to certain plant species.

Mapping the protein universe

October 9, 2015

To understand how life works, figure out the proteins first. DNA is the architect of life, but proteins are the workhorses. After proteins are built using DNA blueprints, they are constantly at work breaking down and building ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.