Terrestrial Systems

Current research projects (2019-2024)

Understanding Arctic grizzly bear range expansion: a community-oriented approach

Grizzly bears are expanding their range in northern Canada, particularly on Victoria Island, NWT/ Nunavut; coastal portions of the Kivalliq region, Nunavut; and the Hudson Bay coast of Manitoba. The reasons for this expansion are not known but could be related to climate change. Our project seeks to understand why grizzlies are establishing in these areas and determine what this means for people and for the land and ocean environments these bears use. We will answer these questions using a community-led combination of:

1. traditional and local knowledge as well as ongoing observations to provide cultural, historic, and geographic context;

2. camera trapping to better understand the distribution of grizzlies on the land;

3. collection of hair and scat samples for diet and DNA analyses to understand what these grizzlies eat and whether their numbers are growing along with their range.

Local organizations and community members in each site will play key roles in collecting and interpreting data as these communities continue to assess these situations for themselves and determine whether grizzlies pose threats, nuisances, or opportunities, as well as potential effects on other wildlife.