Polar Bear Scientists

PBI is proud that most of the leading scientists in polar bear and arctic research are advisors and collaborators in studies that we help support.

We stand on the principle of providing only fact-based, scientifically discovered, peer-reviewed information on polar bears, their habitat, and the impact of natural events and human-caused activity on them. Our objective is to inform governments, institutions, and policy makers, as well as the general public so that they can act in the best interest of the great white bear.

Here's what the scientists are working on.

Polar Bear Population Studies Lead Scientists

Determining where polar bears are and how they are faring is critical to understanding the effects of climate change on their feeding habits, their movements, and their reproduction rates. 

Southern Beaufort Sea: Dr. Steven Amstrup, Dr. Ian Stirling
Chukchi Sea: Dr. Steven Amstrup
Aerial Survey Methods: Dr. Nick Lunn
Satellite Collaring: Dr. Steven Amstrup, George Durner

Maternal Dens Studies Lead Scientists

Understanding polar bear denning behavior is crucially important as industry moves into the Arctic. Our research helps set guidelines so mothers and cubs aren't disturbed.

Maternal Dens: Dr.Thomas Smith
Den Acoustics: Megan Owen, Dr. Thomas Smith
FLIR Den-Finding Techniques: Dr. Thomas Smith

Sensory Studies Lead Scientists

What sounds can polar bears hear? What noises disturb them? Do scents play a role in finding mates? Zoo bears help us with studies that would be impossible to conduct on bears in the wild—but have implications for their wild counterparts.

Hearing: Megan Owen, Dr. Ronald Swaisgood
Olfactory: Megan Owen, Dr. Ronald Swaisgood, Dr. Steven Amstrup and Karyn Rode (Both provide field support-scent samples.)

Past Projects Lead Scientists

From enrichment studies for zoo bears to wild-bear behavior research on a remote Russian island, our completed projects have increased the world's knowledge about polar bears.

Human Impact:  Dr. Jane Waterman
Hudson Bay Dens: Dr. Ian Stirling, Evan Richardson
Wrangel Island: Dr. Nikita Ovsyanikov
Stereotypic Behavior: Dr. David Shepherdson
Estrous: Dr. Ronald Swaisgood, Dr. Tom Spady
Whisker Pattern: Dr. Jane Waterman
Nutrition Study: American Zoo Association (AZA)