SAFS in the News: Arctic sea ice loss impacts beluga whale migration

SAFS alum Donna Hauser and SAFS professor Kristin Laidre are featured in UW Today:

‘The annual migration of some beluga whales in Alaska is altered by sea ice changes in the Arctic, while other belugas do not appear to be affected.

A new study led by the University of Washington finds that as Arctic sea ice takes longer to freeze up each fall due to climate change, one population of belugas mirrors that timing and delays its migration south by up to one month. In contrast, a different beluga population, also in Alaska, that migrates and feeds in the same areas doesn’t appear to have changed its migration timing with changes in sea ice.

The paper was published Dec. 21 in the journal Global Change Biology.

“The biggest take-home message is that belugas can respond relatively quickly to their changing environment, yet we can’t expect a uniform response across all beluga populations,” said lead author Donna Hauser, a postdoctoral researcher at the UW’s Polar Science Center.’

Excerpt and article by Michelle Ma, UW Today

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