The effect of seasonal variation on the activity patterns of the American black bear: an ecological niche modeling approach

  • 1 Red de Biología Evolutiva, Laboratorio de Bioclimatología, Instituto de Ecología, A. C., km 2.5 Antigua Carretera a Coatepec no. 351, Xalapa, Mexico
Carolina Gámez-Brunswick
  • Red de Biología Evolutiva, Laboratorio de Bioclimatología, Instituto de Ecología, A. C., km 2.5 Antigua Carretera a Coatepec no. 351, Xalapa, 91070, Veracruz, Mexico
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and Octavio Rojas-SotoORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0201-1454

Abstract

The American black bear (Ursus americanus) has very plastic activity patterns that maximize its ability to adapt to changing environments. Hibernation length is positively correlated with latitude, where northern populations remain in hibernation for up to 5 months during the winter; however, the species may not hibernate at all in its southern range. Several studies have focused on the description of the species’ ecology from specific locations; however, the macroecological perspective of the seasonal activity in black bears has not been explored. Using ecological niche models and temporal climate transfers, we tested for a correlation between the 971 monthly activity records we obtained for this species within its whole distribution and monthly climatic conditions. We observed that there was a high degree of geographic overlap among the monthly potential transferred areas and the monthly presence locality records. Thus, we suggest that climate is one of the main factors affecting the cycles of activity of this species and explains its hibernation patterns.

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Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.

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