first_img SpeciesVulnerability score SpeciesNarwhalVulnerability score5.59 SpeciesWalrusVulnerability score5.34 SpeciesBowheadVulnerability score5.16 SpeciesBelugaVulnerability score5.06 SpeciesBearded sealVulnerability score4.01 SpeciesRinged sealVulnerability score3.52 SpeciesPolar bearVulnerability score2.95 Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Frankie SchembriJul. 3, 2018 , 4:35 PM Narwhals, walruses are most at risk from booming Arctic ship traffic Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country PNAS To determine which animals are most vulnerable, researchers looked at 80 populations of seven species, including belugas, narwhals, bearded seals, and polar bears. For each population, they computed what they called a “vulnerability score,” based on two factors: how major shipping routes will likely overlap with each group’s habitat and how sensitive each population is to vessel traffic. Sensitivity scores were based on data about animal-ship collisions, noise disruptions, and how current ship traffic interferes with daily activities like mating, migrating, and foraging for food.  D. Hauser et al., PNAS,, Adapted by Science Email On thin ice As melting sea ice boosts Arctic ship traffic, these marine mammals may be most at risk from collisions, disrupted migrations, and noise-induced stress. Vulnerability scores are averaged from multiple populations. Melting sea ice means more for whales and polar bears than simply habitat loss. A new study suggests that a dramatic jump in Arctic shipping traffic, thanks to longer open-water seasons, could put a host of Arctic-dwelling marine mammals at risk.As summer sea ice coverage retreats, shipping routes such as the Northwest Passage have become ice-free during warmer months, boosting the number of seagoing vessels by three-fold in some regions. With some projections suggesting the Arctic’s summer sea ice could vanish by 2040, such traffic is only expected to balloon further.The more ships that pass through, the more likely mammals are to be struck, stressed by underwater noise, or have their daily activities interrupted. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Narwhal populations had the highest average vulnerability scores, followed by walruses, bowhead whales, and belugas, researchers report this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Polar bears and ringed seals had the lowest scores, likely because these species spend most of the open-water season on land, where they aren’t generally disrupted by shipping traffic.The researchers, who acknowledge some uncertainty caused by incomplete data, say their study is only the beginning; more data are needed to understand how individual species and the ecosystem as a whole will be affected by increased traffic.For now, the researchers hope their results will lead to less-disruptive shipping routes—or at least quieter ships to help Arctic mammals keep their cool.last_img

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