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Disappearing Arctic Ponds Could Affect Threatened Ducks


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Ponds from north Alaska that provide “a mecca” for migratory birds and some threatened duck species are shrinking and disappearing, according to a new study. “These birds will likely be affected because most of these birds feed on this system and in these ponds,” said Christian Andresen, a postdoctoral landscape ecology research at the University of Texas at El Paso and lead author on a study published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 36 years later in August 2012, Christian Andresen, Ph.D., revisits the same pond once sampled by Butler, but it looks completely different; the pond has become overcome by plant growth.Photo courtesy of Christian Andresen / UTEP The study team analyzed satellite and historical photos from 1948 to 2010 to track long-term changes in more than 2,800 ponds on the Barrow Peninsula in Alaska. Researchers found that the number of ponds had shrunk by around 17 percent while the size of the small water bodies had diminished by around a third. “This decrease in size and area and number is mainly due to warmer climate in this region, which contributes to permafrost thaw,” Andresen said, adding that the increased plant growth from the warmer temperatures could [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/disappearing-arctic-ponds-could-affect-threatened-ducks/

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