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While climate change is drastically impacting polar bears' habitats by shrinking the Arctic ice they call home, Scientific American reports some of the bears are being forced to change their diets, resulting in lower mercury consumption. Mercury is toxic to the bears, and can impair neurological development if consumed at high levels.

Melissa McKinney, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Connecticut, conducted a study of the Southern Beaufort Sea polar bear subpopulation. Studying hair samples from 2004 to 2011, McKinney saw "a 65% drop in the bears' mercury levels."

Good news/Bad news: McKinney said while the "bad news is that the bears are losing vital habitat," the good news is that bears being forced to change their diets "have lower levels of toxic mercury."

Go deeper: Because of the shrinking ice, bears are unable to hunt their normal prey: seals. By being forced on land, they have had to find food elsewhere. Some have gravitated toward eating bowhead whale carcasses that have been picked apart and discarded by hunters. McKinney explains in her study that only 20% of the bears are feeding on these carcasses, leaving 80% of the population to fast until the freezing season when they can hunt more successfully. If the other 80% of the bears start feeding on the whale carcasses as well, "the subsidies may not be sufficient for the number of individuals making use of them."

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Ripple CEO: SEC lawsuit is "bad for crypto" in the U.S.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators, it would put the country at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Between the lines: The SEC in December sued Ripple, and Garlinghouse personally, for allegedly selling over $1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple's response is that its cryptocurrency, called XRP, didn't require registration because it's an asset rather than a security.