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A polar bear in the Svalbard archipelagoShutterstock/Ondrej Prosicky
As global warming causes Arctic ice to melt , archipelago-based polar bears are having more difficulty reaching each other, especially during mating season, resulting in what researchers have dubbed an “alarming” drop in gene flow and genetic diversity due to inbreeding.
A team at the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø have been collecting small tissue samples from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) inhabiting Svalbard’s islands in the Barents Sea since 1995. Most of these bears usually roam across sea ice throughout the archipelago and often …

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