Polar Bear Health: Assessment of the Impact of Environmental Toxicity and Climate Change on Polar Bear Health

2007 - 2009

Presented within the context of International Polar Year, this project is focused on the assessment of the state of health of polar bears on a circumpolar scale, based on the combined study of the physiological effects of pollutants and the destructive impact on their habitat due to global warming. The assessment of the polar bears’ state of health is based firstly on the study of a range of parameters such as cranium and bone morphology, the histology tissue, and tests for hormone levels in the blood, and secondly on determining mercury and organic pollutant concentrations in the animals.

The study will highlight the effects of pollutants on the polar bear and give details on the type of contamination sources, the increase in pollutants affecting the food chain in the Arctic and the worldwide distribution of these pollutants in the Arctic ecosystems. At the same time, satellite tags and testing of fatty acids and stable isotopes, will provide us with information on the specie’s capacity to change its behavior and food habits faced with global warming in the Arctic.




Polar Bear Health: Assessment of the Impact of Environmental Toxicity and Climate Change on Polar Bear Health
© R. Dietz

Localisation: The Arctic (Greenland, Svalbard, the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and Russia)

The Arctic (Greenland, Svalbard, the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and Russia)

Project Initiator

National  Environmental Research Institute of Denmark (NERI)