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Saint Matthew Island

The Bering Sea

Hope Nichols

on 23 March 2013

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Transcript of Saint Matthew Island

St. Matthew Island The Bering Sea By: Hope Nichols and Samantha Augsburger Carrying Capacity http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AlaskaScienceForum/article/bitter-weather-may-have-wiped-out-reindeer The island of Saint Matthew is located about 200 miles to the west of Alaska's Yukon Delta. Six thousand reindeer once roamed on a remote island in the Bering Sea that was briefly their home. In what has become a story of wildlife no reindeer now live on St. Matthew Island. Scientists looked back at the St. Matthew’s reindeer herd and found that an extreme winter probably killed the animals. Introduction http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/what-wiped-out-st-matthew-islands-reindeer Enjoy the Video Deadly Weather The weather in 1963-1964 was a bad
stormy winter. There were hurricanes
above sea levels in the Bering Sea.
Klein investigated and found that the
hurricane covered all of their food.
With that, that means that the
reindeer were trampling their food.
If they all ate it quickly then there
would be no food . That is what happened and they all starved to death. If the National Coast Guards would have taken the reindeer back, then many believe that they would not have all died. It is also a true fact. Pictures Arctic Fox Hope you enjoyed this project on Saint Matthew Island!! Quick Facts

The corresponding fields of surface air temperature show that the northern Bering Sea experienced temperatures that were 18°F to 22°F below normal in February at some locations in the northern Bering Sea, making it one of the three coldest Februaries (comparable to 1976 and 1984) in the 60-year period from 1948–2007. The extremely cold conditions were present to the west and north of the Bering Sea in January 1964 and abnormal cold (anomalies of −7 to −11°F) continued in the eastern Bering Sea into March of that year. http://www2.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF16/1672.html The short story On St Matthew Island in the Bering Sea the US Coastguard shipped in 29 reindeer in 1944 as food for the navigation station personnel, but none were ever shot and all 29 were left behind at the end of the war. By 1957 the herd swelled in size to over a thousand, thriving on the abundant moss and lichen. Although the animals were healthy, observers noted small patches of overgrazing.
The island had reached its carrying capacity. Six thousand were counted in 1963. The reindeer were thin and showing signs of stress. When observers returned in 1966, the island was littered with skeletons. The herd had been reduced to just 42 reindeer with no active males; it faced extinction in the next generation and the island environment had become devastated by the herd. http://www.populationmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/D20Carryingcapacity.pdf Annual rainfall, including snowfall, is 10-17 inches. Wind speeds are usually high and fog can be present year round. In 1944, 29 reindeer were released on St. Matthew Island. After World War II the National Coast Guard abandoned the island. After the people left the reindeer went from 29 to 1300 in about one year. On 1963 three scientists when back to the island to check on the reindeer and the population had went up to 6,000! In 1966 the scientists come back and the herd was then at a staggering density of 42 reindeer per square mile. There was 41 females and only one male. All there food supplies was gone. The remaining 42 reindeer were 41 starving females, and 1 scrawny male. The last reindeer (female) was seen in 1982. Red Fox Reindeer waterbirds http://www.uaf.edu/files/snras/B81.pdf Mink The largest mammals that now live on the island During the next decade or so, all the reindeer of St. Matthew Island died off; the largest mammal there now is the arctic fox. - Minks are solitary creatures. The male defends a territory of 2-5 km (1.2-3 mi) on a river, about 8-20 hectares. This territory comprises the territories of several females. The adult makes 2-10 galleries in which it spends most of its time, in the nest sheathed with leaves, grass, hair, feathers. Minks do not hibernate. After the arctic fox had moved on the red fox came to live on the island. This is the largest mammal that now lives on St. Matthew Island. http://arcticportal.org/features/745-the-st-matthew-island - The feature of the Arctic fox is their deep, thick fur which allows them to maintain a consistent body temperature. Arctic foxes also have thick fur on their paws, which allows them to walk on both snow and ice. - The red fox is one of 21 species of fox, and the largest member of the fox family. As adults, they hunt alone, not in packs as do wolves or dogs. Their incredible sense of hearing helps them locate prey through thick grass or even in underground burrows. They use scent as a form of communication. - Reindeer are a species of deer whose natural habitat is the far northern areas of arctic Europe, Asia, and North America extending onto the tundra above the tree-line . The name for these deer found native to North America (including Greenland) is "Caribou", while in Europe it is known as the "Reindeer". http://news.softpedia.com/news/7-Facts-About-Minks-76220.shtml http://www.defenders.org/arctic-fox/basic-facts http://switchzoo.com/profiles/redfox.htm http://mentalfloss.com/article/29470/11-things-you-might-know-about-reindeer Most of this came from the reading book St.Matthew Island Others: http://pafg.arh.noaa.gov/marinefcst.php?zone=PKZ185
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