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科学美国人60秒:坚持的北极熊

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Fionna M. D. Samuels: This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Fionna Samuels.

这里是《科学美国人》的 60 秒科学,我是菲奥娜·塞缪尔斯。

The life of a polar bear is hard. It’s made even harder as temperatures climb. The bears of the north largely depend on sea ice to survive, hunting seals that take a breath through gaps in the ice. For most bears, their feeding opportunities disappear as sheets of sea ice melt. Now researchers have identified a new subpopulation of polar bears that may be able to survive longer thanks to their ability to use glacial ice as a sea ice alternative.

北极熊的生活很艰难。随着温度的上升,情况变得更加糟糕。北极熊主要依靠海冰生存,通过冰缝捕猎海豹。对于大多数熊来说,它们的进食机会随着海冰的融化而消失。现在,研究人员发现了一种新的北极熊亚群,由于它们能够利用冰川替代海冰,因此可能会存活更长时间。

Kristin Laidre: I’ve been working on polar bears for about 15 years, and this particular study was just really a wholly unexpected finding that came out of a much larger survey of polar bears along the east coast of Greenland.

我从事北极熊研究已经有 15 年了,这项特别的研究完全是一个出乎意料的发现,而这一发现来自对格陵兰岛东海岸的北极熊进行的一项更大规模的调查。

Samuels: That’s Kristin Laidre [lie-drah], a marine biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was part of the team of scientists who spent years tracking polar bears in Greenland. They recently published their surprising findings in a paper in Science.

克里斯汀·莱德雷,是西雅图华盛顿大学的海洋生物学家,他是在格陵兰岛追踪北极熊多年的科学家团队成员。他们最近在《科学》杂志的一篇论文中,发表了令人惊讶的发现。

Laidre: We lay out the evidence for a previously undocumented and highly isolated subpopulation of polar bears living on the southeast coast of Greenland. We knew you could find polar bears in that area, but we just didn’t think there were that many, because it’s not really a place, you'd expect a lot of bears or bears to be able to persist for very long.

我们列出了从未有过记录的、高度孤立的北极熊亚群(它们生活在格陵兰东南海岸)的证据。我们知道可以在那个地区找到北极熊,但没想到会有那么多,因为它不是一个你认为能让熊长久生存的地方。

Samuels: Basically—the area wasn’t expected to be particularly bear-friendly because it goes long periods of time without sea ice. Generally, polar bears will starve if there are more than 100 sea-ice-free days during the year because they primarily rely on sea ice to hunt for seals and other prey. But these bears can supplement the sea-ice-free days with glacial ice.

可以说,该地区不会对北极熊特别友好,因为它很长一段时间都没有海冰。一般来说,如果一年中有超过 100 天没有海冰,北极熊就会饿死,因为它们主要依靠海冰来捕食海豹和其他猎物。但是这些熊可以用冰川冰来弥补无海冰的日子。

Laidre: We realized that this glacial ice was essentially supporting an isolated population. So it wasn’t just they were using it, you know, opportunistically; it was that the only way these bears would live in this isolated place and be isolated for hundreds of years with such a short sea ice season is to take advantage of this glacial ice and really rely on it for survival.

我们意识到,这种冰川本质是在养活孤立的北极熊。所以北极熊不仅仅是见机行事地利用冰川冰。这些熊能在这个与世隔绝的地方生活数百年,唯一的办法就是利用这片冰川,并真正依靠它来生存。

Samuels: This adaptation may help these polar bears hang on longer than their distant neighbors who rely on sea ice.

这种适应有助于这些北极熊,比那些依赖海冰的北极熊生存得更久。

Laidre: It’s a hopeful story, in the sense of “We found this new group of bears.” We didn’t know about them, you know; they add this genetic diversity. And then, you know, it has to also be presented in the context of the whole Arctic, and what we see we’re headed for, and you know, the fact that all polar bears don’t have this option—and most don’t.

从“我们发现了这个新的熊群”的意义上说,这是一个充满希望的故事。我们不了解这群北极熊,它们增加了遗传多样性。它们还不得不在整个北极的背景下呈现,联系我们已知的未来,事实上,所有北极熊都没有这个选择,而且大多数都没有。

Samuels: As climate change brings us closer to an ice-free arctic, this group of polar bears may help scientists understand how the species may persist. Those that persist might look a lot like this subpopulation, living in similar environmental pockets.

气候变化使我们更接近无冰的北极,这群北极熊可能会帮助科学家们了解该物种是如何持续存在的。那些持续存在的可能看起来很像这个亚群,它们生活在有相似环境的孤立地区。

Laidre: If we can monitor these bears for the next 10, 20, 30 years, we’re going to learn a lot about how they do in an Arctic that continues to warm.

如果我们能在接下来的 10、20 和 30 年内监测这些熊,我们将了解更多,关于它们在持续变暖的北极地区是如何生存的。

Samuels: But in the end, saving polar bears really comes down to one thing.

但归根结底,拯救北极熊最后归到一件事。

Laidre: if we care about polar bears, global climate action is the most important thing that we can do.

如果我们关心北极熊,全球气候行动是我们能做的最重要的事情。

Samuels: For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m Fionna Samuels.

以上是《科学美国人》的 60 秒科学,菲奥娜·塞缪尔斯报道。

Fionna M. D. Samuels: This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Fionna Samuels.

The life of a polar bear is hard. It’s made even harder as temperatures climb. The bears of the north largely depend on sea ice to survive, hunting seals that take a breath through gaps in the ice. For most bears, their feeding opportunities disappear as sheets of sea ice melt. Now researchers have identified a new subpopulation of polar bears that may be able to survive longer thanks to their ability to use glacial ice as a sea ice alternative.

Kristin Laidre: I’ve been working on polar bears for about 15 years, and this particular study was just really a wholly unexpected finding that came out of a much larger survey of polar bears along the east coast of Greenland.

Samuels: That’s Kristin Laidre [lie-drah], a marine biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle who was part of the team of scientists who spent years tracking polar bears in Greenland. They recently published their surprising findings in a paper in Science.

Laidre: We lay out the evidence for a previously undocumented and highly isolated subpopulation of polar bears living on the southeast coast of Greenland. We knew you could find polar bears in that area, but we just didn’t think there were that many, because it’s not really a place, you'd expect a lot of bears or bears to be able to persist for very long.

Samuels: Basically—the area wasn’t expected to be particularly bear-friendly because it goes long periods of time without sea ice. Generally, polar bears will starve if there are more than 100 sea-ice-free days during the year because they primarily rely on sea ice to hunt for seals and other prey. But these bears can supplement the sea-ice-free days with glacial ice.

Laidre: We realized that this glacial ice was essentially supporting an isolated population. So it wasn’t just they were using it, you know, opportunistically; it was that the only way these bears would live in this isolated place and be isolated for hundreds of years with such a short sea ice season is to take advantage of this glacial ice and really rely on it for survival.

Samuels: This adaptation may help these polar bears hang on longer than their distant neighbors who rely on sea ice.

Laidre: It’s a hopeful story, in the sense of “We found this new group of bears.” We didn’t know about them, you know; they add this genetic diversity. And then, you know, it has to also be presented in the context of the whole Arctic, and what we see we’re headed for, and you know, the fact that all polar bears don’t have this option—and most don’t.

Samuels: As climate change brings us closer to an ice-free arctic, this group of polar bears may help scientists understand how the species may persist. Those that persist might look a lot like this subpopulation, living in similar environmental pockets.

Laidre: If we can monitor these bears for the next 10, 20, 30 years, we’re going to learn a lot about how they do in an Arctic that continues to warm.

Samuels: But in the end, saving polar bears really comes down to one thing.

Laidre: if we care about polar bears, global climate action is the most important thing that we can do.

Samuels: For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m Fionna Samuels.
 


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