Ryan R. Wilson

man outside in a striped shirt
Wildlife Biologist - Polar Bears

1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99503
United States

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About Ryan R. Wilson

Ryan has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University, a M.S. from the University of Arizona in Natural Resources, and a B.S. in wildlife biology and statistics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He's been a Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Polar Bear Program since 2013. Prior to that he was a Wildlife Ecologist with The Wilderness Society in Anchorage. Listen to Ryan talk about his career path on My Life, Wildlife.

Professional Activities

  • Member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Polar Bear Specialist Group (2021–current)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Data Stewardship Team (2020–current)     
  • U.S. Co-Chair of the Scientific Working Group of the US-Russia Bilateral Polar Bear Commission (2018–current)
  • Member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Polar Bear Recovery Team (2013–current)
  • Member of the Scientific Working Group of the US-Russia Bilateral Polar Bear Commission (2014–current)
  • Member of The Wildlife Society (2001–current)


Woodruff, S.P., E.M. Andersen, R.R. Wilson, L.S. Mangipane, S.B. Miller, K.J. Klein, and P.R. Lemons. In review. Evaluating the effects of human disturbance on denning polar bears. Biological Conservation.

Hostetter, N.J., E.V. Regehr, R.R. Wilson, J.A. Royle, and S.J. Converse. In review. Modeling spatiotemporal abundance and movement dynamics using an integrated spatial capture-recapture movement model. Ecology.

Hamilton, C.D., et al. In review. Arctic marine mammal hotspots across the circumpolar Arctic. Diversity and Distributions.

Woodruff, S.P., J.J. Blank, S.S. Wisdom, R.R. Wilson, G.M. Durner, T.C. Atwood, C.J. Perham, and C.H.M. Pohl. In press. Evaluating the efficacy of aerial infrared sensors to detect artificial polar bear dens. Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Regehr, E.V., M.C. Runge, A. Von Duyke, R.R. Wilson, K.D. Rode, L. Polasek, N. Hostetter, and S.J. Converse. In press. Demographic risk assessment for harvested species threatened by climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
. Ecological Applications.

Wilson, R.R., M. St. Martin, and W.S. Beatty. 2021. A hierarchical distance sampling   model to estimate spatially-explicit sea otter density. Ecosphere 12:e03666.

Rode, K.D., E.V. Regehr, J.F. Bromaghin, R.R. Wilson, M. St. Martin, J.A. Crawford, and L.T. Quakenbush. 2021. Seal body condition and atmospheric circulation patterns influence polar bear body condition, recruitment, and feeding ecology in the Chukchi Sea. Global Change Biology 27:2684-2701.

Conn, P.B., V.I. Chernook, E.E. Moreland, I.S. Trukhanova, E.V. Regehr, A.N. Vasiliev, R.R. Wilson, S.E. Belikov, and P.L. Boveng. 2021. Aerial survey estimates of polar bears and their tracks in the Chukchi Sea. PLoS One 16:e0251130.

Beatty, W.S., M. St. Martin, and R.R. Wilson. 2021. Evaluating the current condition of a threatened marine mammal population: estimating northern sea otter (Enhydra lutri kenyoni) abundance with hierarchical distance sampling models. Marine Mammal Science 37:1245-1260.

Rode, K.D., T.C. Atwood, G.W. Thiemann, M. St. Martin, R.R. Wilson, G.M. Durner, E.V. Regehr, S.L. Talbot, G.K. Sage, A.M. Pagano, and K. Simac. 2020. Identifying reliable indicators of fitness in polar bears. PLoS One 15:e0237444.

Fulllman, T., R.R. Wilson, K. Joly, D. Gustine, P. Leonard, and W. Loya. 2021. Mapping potential effects of proposed roads on migratory connectivity for a highly mobile herbivore using circuit theory. Ecological Applications 31:e2207.

Wilson, R.R., and G.M. Durner. 2020. Erratum. Journal of Wildlife Management 84:1022-1024.

Wilson, R.R., and G.M. Durner. 2020. Seismic survey design and impacts to maternal polar bear dens. Journal of Wildlife Management 84:201-212

Scharf, H.R., M.B. Hooten, R.R. Wilson, G.M. Durner, and T.C. Atwood. 2019. Accounting for phenology in the analysis of animal movement. Biometrics 75:810-820.

Regehr, E.V., N.J. Hostetter, R.R. Wilson, K.D. Rode, M. St. Martin, A. Von Duyke, G.

Pendleton, and S.J. Converse. 2018. Estimating vital rates and regional abundance for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Chukchi Sea using an integrated population model.  Scientific Reports 8:16780.

Wilson, R.R., C. Perham, D. French-McCay, and R. Balouskus. 2018. Potential impacts of offshore oil spills on polar bears in the Chukchi Sea. Environmental Pollution 235:652-659.

Rode, K.D., J. Olson, D. Eggett, D.C. Douglas, G. Durner, T.C. Atwood, E.V. Regehr, R.R. Wilson, T. Smith, and M. St. Martin. 2018. Effects of polar bear denning phenology on cub survival in a changing climate. Journal of Mammalogy 99:16-26.

French-McCay, D., R. Balouskus, J. Ducharme, M. Schroeder Gearon, Y. Kim, S. Zamorski, Z. Li, J. Rowe, C. Perham, and R. Wilson. 2017. Potential exposures of wildlife to oil from hypothetical discharges in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Proceedings of the 40th AMOP Technical Seminary on Environmental Contamination and Response. Environment Canada, Ottawa, Canada.

Rode, K.D., R.R. Wilson, D.C. Douglas, V. Muhlenbruch, T.C. Atwood, E.V. Regehr, E. Richardson, N. Pilfold, A. Derocher, G. Durner, I. Stirling, S. Amstrup, M. St. Martin, A. Pagano, E. Peacock, and K. Simac. 2018. Spring fasting behavior among polar bears provides and index of ecosystem productivity. Global Change Biology 24:410-423.

Wilson, R.R., E.V. Regehr, M. St. Martin, T.C. Atwood, L. Peacock, S. Miller, and G. Divoky. 2017. Onshore ecology of polar bears in relation to sea-ice loss with implications for the management of conflict with humans. Biological Conservation 214:288-294.

Regehr, E.V., R.R. Wilson, K.D. Rode, M.C. Runge, and H. Stern. 2017. Harvesting wildlife under climate change: an improved modeling and management framework for polar bears. Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1534-1543.

Durner, G.M., D.C. Douglas, S.E. Albeke, J.P. Whiteman, S.C. Amstrup, E. Richardson, R.R. Wilson, M. Ben-David. 2017. Increased Arctic sea ice drift alters polar bear movements and energetics. Global Change Biology 23:3460-3473.

Ware, J.V., K.D. Rode, J.F. Bromaghin, D. Douglas, R.R. Wilson, E.V. Regehr, S.C. Amstrup, G. Durner, A. Pagano, J. Olson, C.T. Robinson, and H.T. Jansen. 2017. Summer activity of polar bears in response to habitat degradation in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Oecologia 184:87-99.

Olson, J.W., K.D. Rode, D. Eggett, T.S. Smith, R.R. Wilson, G. Durner, A. Fischbach, T. Atwood, and D.C. Douglas. 2017. Identifying maternal denning of polar bears using temperature: denning substrate in relation to sea ice in the southern Beaufort Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 564:211-224.

Wilson, R.R., E.V. Regehr, K.D. Rode, and M. St. Martin. 2016.  Invariant polar bear habitat selection during a period of sea ice loss. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283:20160380.

Atwood, T.C., E.M. Peacock, M.A. McKinney, K. Lillie, R.R. Wilson, D. Douglas, and S. Miller, and P. Terletzky. 2016. Rapid environmental change drives increased land use by an Arctic marine predator. PLoS One 11:e0155932.

Wilson, R.R., L.S. Parrett, K. Joly, and J.R. Dau. 2016. Effects of an industrial road as a semi-permeable barrier on movements of individual caribou during autumn migration. Biological Conservation 195:2-8.

Atwood, T.C., E.M. Peacock, M.A. McKinney, K. Lillie, R.R. Wilson, and S. Miller. 2015. Demographic composition and behavior of polar bears summering on shore in Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Administrative Report, Anchorage, Alaska.

Rode, K.D., R.R. Wilson, M. St. Martin, E.V. Regehr, D. Douglas, and J. Olson. 2015. Environmental factors affected increased land use by Chukchi Sea polar bears. PLoS One 10:e0142213.

Miller, S., J. Wilder, and R.R. Wilson. 2015. Polar bear-grizzly bear interactions during the autumn open water period in Alaska. Journal of Mammalogy 96:1317-1325.

Regehr, E.V., R.R. Wilson, K.D. Rode, and M.C. Runge. 2015. Resilience and risk: a demographic model to inform conservation planning for polar bears. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1029. U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia.

Wilson, R.R., J.S. Horne, K.D. Rode, E.V. Regehr, and G.M. Durner. 2014. Identifying polar bear resource selection patterns to inform conservation planning in a dynamic and changing Arctic. Ecosphere 5:136.

Wilson, R.R., D.D. Gustine, and K. Joly. 2014. Evaluating potential effects of an industrial road on winter habitat of caribou in north-central Alaska. Arctic 67:472-482.

Leppi, J.C., D.J. Rinella, R.R. Wilson, and W.M. Loya. 2014. Linking climate change projections for an Alaskan watershed to future coho salmon production. Global Change Biology 20:1808-1820.

Wilson, R.R., J.R. Liebezeit, and W.M. Loya. 2013.  Applying Monte Carlo development models to account for uncertainty in oil and gas development impacts to wildlife. Conservation Letters 6:350-358.

Gilbert-Norton, L., R.R. Wilson, and J.A. Shivik. 2013. The effect of social hierarchy on captive coyote (Canis latrans) foraging behavior. Ethology 119:335-343.

Wilson R.R., A. Bartsch, K. Joly, J.H. Reynolds, A. Orlando, and W.M. Loya. 2013. Frequency, timing, and extent of winter icing events in Alaska with a prospectus for future monitoring efforts. Polar Biology 36:419-426.

Wilson, R.R., L. Gilbert-Norton, and E.M. Gese. 2012. Beyond use and availability: behavior-explicit resource selection. Wildlife Biology 18:424-430.

Wilson, R.R., A.K. Prichard, L.S. Parrett, B.T. Person, G.M. Carroll, M.A. Smith, C.L. Rea, and D.A. Yokel.  2012. Summer resource selection patterns for the Teshekpuk Caribou Herd in northern Alaska. PLoS One 7:e48697. 

Shivik, J.A., R.R. Wilson, and L. Gilbert-Norton.  2011.  Will an artificial scent boundary prevent coyote intrusion?  Wildlife Society Bulletin 35:494-497.

Wilson, R.R. and J.A. Shivik.  2011.  Does conspecific interference or resource limitation regulate coyote territory size?  Canadian Journal of Zoology 89:960-967.

Wilson, R.R., J.K. Young, and J.A. Shivik.  2011. Coyote capture vulnerability relative to territory boundaries.  Journal of Wildlife Management 75:721-725.

Wilson, R.R., T.L. Blankenship, M.B. Hooten, and J.A. Shivik.  2010.  Prey-mediated avoidance of an intraguild predator by its intraguild prey.  Oecologia 164:921-929.

Gilbert-Norton, L., R.R. Wilson, J.R. Stevens, and K.H. Beard.  2010.  Corridors increase movement: a meta-analytical review.  Conservation Biology 24:660-668.

Wilson, R.R., M.B. Hooten, B.N. Strobel, and J.A. Shivik.  2010.  Accounting for             individuals, uncertainty, and multi-scale clustering in core area estimation.  Journal of Wildlife Management 74:1343-1352.

Wilson, R.R., P.R. Krausman, and J.R. Morgart.  2010.  Efficacy of forage enhancement plots as a management tool for Sonoran pronghorn recovery.  Journal of Wildlife Management 74:236-239.

Wilson, R.R., P.R. Krausman, and J.R. Morgart.  2010.  Recovery efforts for the Sonoran pronghorn in the United States.  Pages 283-292 in W. Halvorson, C. Schwalbe, and C. van Riper III, editors.  Southwestern desert resources.  University of Arizona Press, Tucson, USA.

Wilson, R.R., P.R. Krausman, and J.R. Morgart.  2009.  Behavior and activity of Sonoran pronghorn.  Southwestern Naturalist 54:45-54.

Wilson, R.R., B.D. Jansen, and P.R. Krausman.  2008.  Planning and assessment of activity budget studies employing instantaneous sampling.  Ethology 114:999-1005.

Wilson, R.R., P.R. Krausman, and J.R. Morgart.  2008.  Behavior and timing of life-history events in a semi-captive population of the Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis).  Southwestern Naturalist 53:389-393.

Wilson, R.R., and P.R. Krausman. 2008.  Possibility of heat-related mortality in desert ungulates.  Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 40:12-15.

Cain, J.W., III, B.D. Jansen, R.R. Wilson, and P.R. Krausman.  2008.  Potential thermoregulatory advantages of shade use by desert bighorn sheep.  Journal of Arid Environments 72:1518-1525.

Krausman, P.R., L.K. Harris, R.R. Wilson, J.W. Cain, III, and K.K.G. Koenen.  2007.  Bombing and Sonoran pronghorn: a clear and current danger?  Journal of Wildlife Management 71:2820-2823.

Wilson, R.R., P.R. Krausman, and J.R. Morgart.  2006.  Recovery efforts for Sonoran pronghorn in the United States.  Pages 68-78 in J.W. Cain, III, and P.R. Krausman, editors.  Managing wildlife in the southwest: new challenges for the 21st century.  Southwest Section of the Wildlife Society, Tucson, Arizona. USA.


Areas of expertise
Wildlife movement, space use, and resource selection
Development of ecological models to inform wildlife management decisions
quantitative ecology