Guest post by Bob Fernley-Jones (AKA Bob_FJ)
John F Bruno is a marine ecologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at The University of North Carolina, and has made some alarming assertions that may have grave consequences for the survival of the species. His following quotes can be found on a recent WUWT polar bear thread:
…Polar bears are in fact incredibly well adapted to extreme cold and are indeed sensitive to warm temps. You often see the big males splayed out on the ice trying keep their private parts cool…
… This behavior is likely adaptative and helps them to thermoregulate. They have a thick coat and blubber to keep warm and they rub their balls on the ice to cool off…
I was so concerned at some implications of this, that I Emailed him at his university, and here is the text:
Following your advice at WUWT that male polar bears relieve their heat stress caused by AGW by contacting their genitals with the ice, I’ve searched around for information on this, and was surprised by what I found. There are many reports from around 2006, giving that their testicles are shrinking, probably as a consequence of pollution. However, there does not seem to be much follow-up on the issue, so maybe those concerns are no longer as bad as we thought.
However, it seems to me that If the bears over-do the cooling practice, that their testicles will get colder than intended from their original adaptations prior to AGW. Furthermore, from human observations, cold conditions tend to cause contraction of testicles, and loss of albedo. [sic; libido]. Sperm count and quality, might also become an issue, and I worry if we might see a reduction of the size and number of cub litters as a consequence of this aspect of AGW.
If not already in progress, may I suggest that you or your colleagues conduct some research on this hypothesis? If it turns-out that it is a serious reality, it would then seem to be appropriate to engineer some management strategies; difficult though that might be. A tricky one; maybe some kind of belt or girdle to protect the testicles. After all, the female bears seem to cope without the luxury of testicular cooling.
Does anyone share my concern? Any ideas as to how this potential problem could be managed?