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Climate Degradation and Extreme Icing Events Constrain Life in Cold-Adapted Mammals.
Sci Rep. 2018 01 18; 8(1):1156
Publication Type
Historical Article
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
J Berger
C Hartway
A Gruzdev
M Johnson
Author Affiliation
Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA.
Sci Rep. 2018 01 18; 8(1):1156
Publication Type
Historical Article
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
Arctic Regions
Body Size
Climate Change - mortality
Cold Climate
Disasters - history
History, 19th Century
History, 21st Century
Otters - physiology
Ruminants - physiology
Tsunamis - history
Whales - physiology
Despite the growth in knowledge about the effects of a warming Arctic on its cold-adapted species, the mechanisms by which these changes affect animal populations remain poorly understood. Increasing temperatures, declining sea ice and altered wind and precipitation patterns all may affect the fitness and abundance of species through multiple direct and indirect pathways. Here we demonstrate previously unknown effects of rain-on-snow (ROS) events, winter precipitation, and ice tidal surges on the Arctic's largest land mammal. Using novel field data across seven years and three Alaskan and Russian sites, we show arrested skeletal growth in juvenile muskoxen resulting from unusually dry winter conditions and gestational ROS events, with the inhibitory effects on growth from ROS events lasting up to three years post-partum. Further, we describe the simultaneous entombment of 52 muskoxen in ice during a Chukchi Sea winter tsunami (ivuniq in Iñupiat), and link rapid freezing to entrapment of Arctic whales and otters. Our results illustrate how once unusual, but increasingly frequent Arctic weather events affect some cold-adapted mammals, and suggest that an understanding of species responses to a changing Arctic can be enhanced by coalescing groundwork, rare events, and insights from local people.
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PubMed ID
29348632 View in PubMed
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