Scientific literature is cited to substantiate likely outcomes as a probabilistic function of the two species’ attributes within the battle environment. Attributes considered in calculating battle outcome include temperament, weaponry, armor, body mass, running speed, fight style, physiology, and motivation.
Through the scientific information embedded in the bout descriptions, participants are educated about inter-species interactions, the importance of ecological context, how natural selection has shaped adaptations, and conservation management of endangered species.
The first bout - a wildcard match between the Thor Hero Shrew and the King Midas Bat has already finished (winner: HERO SHREW) - but you still have time to fill out your bracket before the first round of regular match-ups (the “chill mammal” division) begins tonight. Download your bracket here and fill it out!
You can follow the matches on twitter via the #2016MMM hashtag. Tournament schedule:
Polar bears’ metabolism does not slow very much during the summer months when sea ice melts and food becomes scarce, according to a study1 published today (16 July) in Science. With the Arctic warming faster than the global average, the finding does not bode well for the bears (Ursus maritimus), who use the ice as a hunting ground.
Not a single polar-bear haven in the rapidly warming Arctic is safe from the effects of climate change, researchers have found.
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely
on sea ice for roaming, breeding, and as a platform from which to hunt
seals. When the ice melts in the summer, the bears spend several months
on land, largely fasting, until the freeze-up allows them to resume
hunting. So if they are to survive, they need pockets of ice to persist
Some climate models suggest that most of the Arctic may be ice-free in summer by mid-century. But icy refuges
near the North Pole currently support 19 populations of polar bears,
totalling some 25,000 individuals. Scientists weren’t sure about the
exact rate of ice retreat in these habitats, or whether some refuges
might not yet be dwindling.
of the Arctic refuges are in fact on the decline, a detailed
examination of satellite data now suggests. Mathematician Harry Stern
and biologist Kristin Laidre at the University of Washington in Seattle
used a 35-year satellite record to examine each of the 19 population
areas, which range from 53,000 to 281,000 square kilometres in size. For
each, they calculated the dates on which sea ice retreated in the
Arctic spring and advanced in the autumn, as well as the average summer
sea-ice concentration and number of ice-covered days.
Polar bears’ sea-ice habitat is dwindling as the Arctic warms.
Theo Allofs/Minden Pictures/FLPA