Polar bears in Svalbard archipelago are inbreeding due to sea ice loss

Polar bear in Svalbard archipelago Shutterstock/Ondrej Prsicky
Global warming is causing Arctic ice to melt, which means archipelago-based Polar Bears have more difficulty getting to each other, especially during mating seasons. This has led to what researchers call an alarming drop of gene flow and genetic diversity as a result of inbreeding.

Since 1995, a team from the Norwegian Polar Institute (Troms) has been collecting tissue samples from Polar Bears (Ursus martimus), who live on the Svalbards Islands in the Barents Sea. These bears are found on the archipelago's sea ice, and most of them roam freely.


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