Evening Talks presentation tonight to focus on polar bears

FORKS — The Olympic Natural Resources Center will host another in its series of Evening Talks at 7 tonight as doctoral student Erica Escajeda presents “Timing Is Everything: Shifts in the Maternity Denning Behavior of Polar Bears in Baffin Bay.”

The free presentation in the Hemlock Forest Room at the ONRC, 1455 S. Forks Ave., will include refreshments. Attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite desserts.

Escajeda is a doctoral student in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. For her master’s work, she studied the effects of climate change on the reproductive behavior of polar bears.

Using satellite data collected from adult female polar bears in Baffin Bay, Escajeda hoped to determine whether climate change-related shifts in polar bear habitat are affecting the distribution and phenology — study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena — of polar bear maternity dens over time.

Any changes in when females enter or exit their dens, as well as denning duration, could have implications for the reproductive success of the Baffin Bay population.

Escajeda is originally from Colorado and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

After graduation, she spent two summers working as a field technician on bird surveys in Alaska, where she discovered her passion for the Arctic.

Now, as a first-year doctoral student, she is using passive acoustic data and spatial methods to study the behavior and presence of subarctic cetaceans in the Bering Strait and southern Chukchi Sea.

Evening Talks at ONRC is funded through the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, an endowment that honors the contributions of Fred Rosmond and his family to forestry and the Forks community.

For more information, contact Frank Hanson at 360-374-4556 or fsh2@uw.edu.

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