It’s another Day in the Life!

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Hi again Earth Rangers! We’ve got even more exciting news from the north to share with you, this time with an update from our partner in polar bears, researcher Larissa! Larissa is in the thick of working through her research and she’s bringing us along for a day of learning! Hopefully post-pandemic she can get back to the field, but here’s what she’s been up to in the meantime!

She might study polar bears, but like us Earth Rangers Larissa loves all kinds of animals!

Larissa is working on analyzing the movement of polar bear populations across the Arctic, and though we consider her our resident polar bear pro, even she learns new things everyday! For example, did you know there are 19 subpopulations of polar bears? They live all across the Arctic in Canada, Greenland, Alaska, Norway, and even Russia!

Check out this handy map to see where each polar bear subpopulation can be found!

All this info comes from Larissa’s extensive research. She spends a lot of time reading scientific articles about polar bears and harp seals, trying to learn as much as she can about these two species, or about different kinds of scientific methods that will help her study their movements better. Science is teamwork, and even though Larissa might not be part of the teams she reads about, she learns a ton just from the research they do and the studies they publish.

When she’s not reading, Larissa is busy working on analyzing all the amazing data she’s collected. She uses coding and mapping software to see what trends she can find in her data, and she’s currently working on making a map that shows how all the polar bears she’s tracking move across their habitat – we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek, and boy was it cool!

The pandemic has made fieldwork and even labwork a lot harder, but Larissa and her team have figured out how to make it work! She has virtual meetings with her supervisor or other labmates to go over results, brainstorm ideas, and work through any questions or issues that might pop up. Teamwork really does make the dream work!

A radiocollar helps Larissa track the movement of polar bears across the Arctic! Photo credit: Dr. Andrew Derocher

While she’s eager to get back to the field, there’s still tons of work to be done in the lab and behind the computer. Thanks for bringing us along Larissa, and don’t forget that you can help support her project with a Polar Bear Wildlife Adoption Kit!

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