Wildlife: Introduction

We often think of the polar regions as barren, lifeless places. Although conditions are harsh, life thrives above, below, and within sea ice.

Many animals that live in the Arctic and Antarctic are impacted in some way by changes in sea ice from year to year. In some cases, their lives depend on its very presence.

polar bears on sea ice

This image is of two polar bears cuddled together on a piece of Arctic sea ice, surrounded by ocean water and thin layers of sea ice.
Courtesy of Jessica Robertson, U.S. Geological Survey