Polar bears from space

Jul 09, 2014
polar bear

Polar bear population estimates based on satellite images are similar to aerial estimates, according to a study published July 9, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Seth Stapleton from United States Geological Survey and colleagues.

The potentially severe impacts of climate change in the Arctic may threaten regional wildlife. Scientists trying to develop efficient and effective wildlife monitoring techniques to track Arctic populations face great challenges, including the remoteness and associated logistical constraints of accessing wildlife. In this study, scientists evaluated high-resolution to track the distribution and abundance of on a small island in northern Canada in an attempt to develop a tool to monitor these difficult to reach populations. Specifically, the authors examined of the island with a high density of bears, during the ice-free summer and compared the images to aerial and ground surveys collected on different dates.

The estimate of ~90 bears based on satellite imagery was similar to an abundance estimate of ~100 bears made from an aerial survey conducted a few days earlier. These findings support satellite imagery as a tool for monitoring polar bears on land, which could potentially be applied to other Arctic wildlife. The authors suggest that further automated detection developments and testing in different landscapes may provide information about benefits for large-scale application of the technology.

Explore further: Den conditions reveal status of polar bears as they face decreasing ice

More information: Stapleton S, LaRue M, Lecomte N, Atkinson S, Garshelis D, et al. (2014) Polar Bears from Space: Assessing Satellite Imagery as a Tool to Track Arctic Wildlife. PLoS ONE 9(7): e101513. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101513

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

For polar bears, it's survival of the fattest

Mar 19, 2013

One of the most southerly populations of polar bears in the world – and the best studied – is struggling to cope with climate-induced changes to sea ice, new research reveals. Based on over 10 years' ...

Recommended for you

Population genomics unveil seahorse domain

11 hours ago

In a finding vital to effective species management, a team including City College of New York biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the we ...

Researchers develop new potato cultivar

14 hours ago

Dakota Ruby is the name of a new potato cultivar developed by the NDSU potato breeding project and released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Dakota Ruby has bright red skin, stores well and is intended ...

Researchers develop new soybean variety

14 hours ago

The North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station has developed and released ND Henson, a conventional soybean variety, according to Rich Horsley, chair of the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences.

User comments : 0

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.