Featured Researcher Talk
2 p.m., Discovery Room 114
Alberta grizzly bears will feel the effects of climate change with Dr. Greg McDermid
Toward the end of each summer, grizzly bears in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains gorge on the tart red berries of a shrub called Canada buffaloberry. Lacking the salmon of coastal populations, the feast is the largest caloric event on an Alberta grizzly bear’s menu. This is the time when individuals gain much of the weight needed for hibernation.
But research out of the University of Calgary, shows that rising temperatures are advancing the development of plants like buffaloberry, pushing forward the timing of this annual buffet. By the year 2080, buffaloberries in the Rockies will ripen nearly three weeks earlier than they presently do. Researchers predict this change will alter the behaviour of the region’s grizzly bears, and perhaps threaten the reproductive rates of this vulnerable population.