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Phylogenetic relationships of 79 caniform carnivores were addressed based on four nuclear sequence-tagged sites (STS) and one nuclear exon, IRBP, using both supertree and supermatrix analyses. We recovered the three major arctoid lineages, Ursidae, Pinnipedia, and Musteloidea, as monophyletic, with Ursidae (bears) strongly supported as the basal arctoid(More)
Despite extensive genetic analysis, the evolutionary relationship between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (U. arctos) remains unclear. The two most recent comprehensive reports indicate a recent divergence with little subsequent admixture or a much more ancient divergence followed by extensive admixture. At the center of this controversy are(More)
BACKGROUND Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are among those species most susceptible to the rapidly changing arctic climate, and their survival is of global concern. Despite this, little is known about polar bear species history. Future conservation strategies would significantly benefit from an understanding of basic evolutionary information, such as the(More)
Despite decades of study, some aspects of Phocidae (Pinnipedia, Carnivora) phylogeny still remain unresolved. Using the largest novel dataset to date, including all extant phocids and comprising 15 nuclear and 13 mitochondrial genes, we illustrate the utility of including multiple individuals per species in resolving rapid radiations, and provide new(More)
After a decade with nine of the lowest arctic sea-ice minima on record, including the historically low minimum in 2012, we synthesize recent developments in the study of ecological responses to sea-ice decline. Sea-ice loss emerges as an important driver of marine and terrestrial ecological dynamics, influencing productivity, species interactions,(More)
Polar bears are an arctic, marine adapted species that is closely related to brown bears. Genome analyses have shown that polar bears are distinct and genetically homogeneous in comparison to brown bears. However, these analyses have also revealed a remarkable episode of polar bear gene flow into the population of brown bears that colonized the Admiralty,(More)
A variety of DNA extraction methods have been employed successfully to extract DNA from museum specimens. Toe pads are a common source of ancient DNA in birds, as they are generally not an informative character and can be removed without significant destruction of precious specimens. However, the DNA in these tissues is often highly degraded, both by(More)
Entering into the world of ancient DNA research is nontrivial. Because the DNA in most ancient specimens is degraded to some extent, the potential for contamination of ancient samples and DNA extracts with modern DNA is considerable. To minimize the risk associated with working with ancient DNA, experimental protocols specific to handling ancient specimens(More)
Two putative populations of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) occur in the North Atlantic. The Greenland Sea population pup and breed on the pack ice near Jan Mayen ('West Ice') while the Northwest Atlantic population is thought to pup in the Davis Strait, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (the 'Gulf'), and off southern Labrador or northeast Newfoundland (the(More)