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John WhitemanJohn Whiteman says that most of his fun comes from thinking about how events outside an animal affect events inside an animal. For his PhD research, he’s studying how warm weather during summer can make hunting difficult for polar bears, forcing them to make seasonal adjustments such as living off of their own body fat. He’s also investigating how these adjustments may be affected by longer Arctic summers caused by climate change.

Project Page: The Bears of Summer

All Posts By John Whiteman

On the Edge of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

KAKTOVIK, ALASKA-- The size of polar bears always amazes me. This bear had paws that were as wide as my hand is long, and it was not even a large male. The largest males can weigh over 1500 lbs, twice as much as this bear... {Read More »}

Racing to Prepare

DEADHORSE, ALASKA-- Deadhorse is surprisingly accessible, but it is definitely in a wildly remote place; yesterday I woke to sunny skies and a temperature of -17 degrees (Fahrenheit). Spring warmth is coming – three weeks ago it was 30 below – but it is still winter here in the Arctic... {Read More »}

Starting at the End of the Road

DEADHORSE, ALASKA-- When I began thinking about logistics for this project, one of the first questions I had was “How do you get to the Arctic?” I had done field work in wildnerness areas before, but nothing as remote as northern Alaska. For our first season on capturing polar bears... {Read More »}