Conservation physiology to inform management of economic activity: using hormones to identify stressors to grizzly and black bears in the Great Bear Rainforest

Wildlife have remarkable adaptations for responding to environmental change; however rapid increases in the magnitude of environmental disturbances may compromise their ability to cope. Physiological measures, such as hormones, provide a window into the responses of wildlife to environmental change. We propose to identify and rank the relative importance of multiple potential stressors that could influence grizzly and black bear physiology on the

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central coast of British Columbia, Canada. Drawing on a long-term, large-scale bear monitoring program, this work will combine the analysis of hair samples for stress and reproductive hormones with spatial datasets on bear population density, diet, food availability, and habitat. This work will benefit Raincoast and Coastal First Nations partners by identifying areas where bears may be most sensitive to disturbances. By evaluating the relative importance of multiple stressors, results may also help prioritize conservation and stewardship activities that have maximum impact on bear health.

Faculty Supervisor:

Chris Darimont


Heather Bryan


Raincoast Conservation Foundation


Geography / Geology / Earth science


Environmental industry




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