Trophic mismatch in Kodiak Brown Bears
On the Alaskan Kodiak Archipelago, warmer summers in recent years have led to changes in the timing of berry ripening (earlier onset) and salmon spawning (later onset), often resulting in an overlap of the availability of both resources which are usually more temporally distributed. The effects of this trophic mismatch are somewhat unknown for brown bears; however, observational data suggests brown bears may engage in prey switching behavior, favoring less energy dense berries over salmon. We are investigating this phenomenon through combined use of GPS collar data and isotope analysis of brown bear hair samples to estimate brown bear diet during summer and fall. The results of this work will aid in understanding impacts of warming climates and trophic mismatch of resources on brown bear ecology.