Physiology of Polar Fishes

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Actions include preserving polar bear habitat and working with policymakers and the public to address climate change. Also this week, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit the U.

Fish Physiology

But combating climate change doesn't happen overnight, and the lack of food and habitat means polar bears are getting creative to stay alive. Read our Polar Bear Watch blog. For one thing, polar bears generally prefer to eat seals.

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What's more, scientists had never observed the predators eating this species of dolphin. And though other bear species, such as grizzlies, store food for later, sticking leftovers into what amounts to a refrigerator is unusual behavior for polar bears. Here's what likely happened: The dolphins swam into Svalbard while it was ice-free—also unusual, since that area is normally frozen year-round.

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  • When ice packed into the area later in the year, the dolphins were trapped and fell prey to the polar bear. These ice entrapments are a short-term boon for the bears, giving them an easy source of fatty food they can just scoop out of a hole in the ice. Some polar bears are eating goose eggs pictured, a clutch in Nunavut Territory, Canada as it becomes harder for them to catch seals on sea ice.

    Arctic fox

    Females typically lay four eggs to a clutch. While they were once endangered in the United States, the species has rebounded—which is lucky for polar bears. Downing one of these eggs is like "eating a stick of butter," Rockwell said in an interview at the time.

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    • Karyn Rode , a wildlife biologist with the U. Geological Survey in Anchorage, Alaska, agrees a few lucky bears could benefit from foods such as goose eggs. But Rode, leader of an April study in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment on the topic, cautions these opportunistic meals won't help the species as a whole survive.

      Holdings: The physiology of polar fishes

      Near Churchill, Manitoba, scientists observed the polar bears' egg diet yielded close to , calories per week. The bears were also eating some of the birds who laid the yolk-filled meals. This makes it harder for the polar bears to find food, since they depend on ice sheets to hunt seals that also use them for rearing pups.