Cold-Loving Critters: Animals of the Central Arctic

I was especially excited to see polar bears, because that was the first time I had seen them in person in their natural habitat. They are majestic creatures and it was incredible seeing a few momma bears and their cubs curiously investigating the large ship and scientific equipment on the sea ice.

Where does it live?:

The algae and copepods of the Central Arctic live all over. They can be seen at the bottom of sea ice, in small channels of salty water within the sea ice, and in the open ocean water. Copepods can even live at the bottom of the ocean (almost 2 miles deep!) during the winter. Polar cod found in the central Arctic typically swim near the bottom of the sea ice and can even live in little pockets of water within the ice. Ringed seals are found living in ice-covered seas all over the Arctic and sometimes burrow in ridges of ice and snow. They are great swimmers and typically live near where they can find open water so they can catch fish for food. 

How does it use its environment to survive?:

The animals here have all adapted to the frigid Arctic temperatures by developing fatty layers and thick coats of fur (in the case of the mammals). They also are colored to match their surroundings for either protection, for hiding from their prey, or both. Arctic foxes live in the tundra and boreal forests on land, but also live partly on the sea ice. They can change the color of their fur to match their surroundings for protection and for hunting purposes. Polar bears are often spotted on land (mostly coastal regions around the Arctic circle), but also like to live where the sea ice meets the open ocean water because that is where they can hunt for seals.