Changing Tides is a three-year project investigating the relationships between coastal brown bears, people and marine intertidal invertebrates such as mussels and clams.
The large brown bear population found along the Alaska Peninsula is made possible by the abundance of coastal food resources such as salmon, shellfish, and salt-tolerant sedges — a grass-like plant that grows in coastal meadows.
The project includes two components involving the study of bears: tracking the movements of nine by researchers stationed on the coast. By tracking the movements of bears within the park and assessing body composition, biologists can examine bear use of different foraging areas and the importance of different food resources to overall health and survival.
Last May, nine female coastal brown bears were fitted with GPS collars.
The bears were also weighed, had their body fat content assessed, and had hair and blood samples taken to screen for disease and determine their genetic background and diet history.
The measurements and samples will be used to evaluate changes in body composition over the summer months. This will also be compared to data collected from bears within other parks throughout Alaska.
Since May, biologists have been tracking each bear’s movement along the coast.
Last updated: July 20, 2016