Bearded seals reproduce more despite climate change

Subsistence hunters and researchers collaborated on getting up-to-date information on these difficult-to-study mammals. ©Smudge 9000

Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) mothers are producing more pups, which then go on to mature at younger ages. According to a new project, which drew from indigenous subsistence hunters in Alaskan coastal villages and researchers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the marine mammals now reach maturity at 2.5 years old compared to about 4 years old in the 1960s. While the study shows that the population in Alaskan waters seems healthy, other researchers note that it might not mean they are resilient to climate change, but rather that they are merely recovering after past environmental extremes.

Read more at Hakai.