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Seals on Thin Ice: An Effect of Climate Change

For Immediate Release
Jan. 19, 2006

The Arctic’s sea ice ecosystem is threatened. Global climate change has
warmed the region to the point where sea ice is melting, reducing habitat
for Alaska’s seal and walrus populations. Alaska is home to eight species of
pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), and scientists are worried that
as the sea ice diminishes, so may the animals that call it home.

Brendan P. Kelly, a scientist at the University of Alaska Southeast, is
hoping to better understand the impacts of melting snow and sea ice on
Arctic seal populations. He works with Inupiat hunters and NOAA’s National
Marine Mammal Laboratory, using satellite-linked transmitters and DNA
analysis to monitor seals’ response to their diminishing habitat. Kelly, the
dean of arts and sciences and vice provost for research at UAS, will discuss
his research in a free one-hour lecture on January 23. “Seals on Thin Ice:
An Effect of Climate Change” begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson
Auditorium on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus. All ages are

This is the first installment in the 2006 Science for Alaska Lecture Series,
an annual event coordinated and sponsored by the Geophysical Institute at
the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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