The world is constantly changing, and every generation has its own problems to contend with. Our modern times certainly have their own issues, one of them being global warming and climate change. Climate change because of natural and man-made effects is impacting our world in many ways; from glaciers to ocean levels, human habitation to animal migrations, climate change is influencing our world in more ways than we can know now.
The environment of animals is being changed to the extent that some of them cannot live in the places they are naturally found. As these environments become less and less hospitable for different species, animals are being forced to migrate to new locations where they may or may not thrive. In many cases, human development has already blocked their way to other suitable environments.
Scientists modelled animal migrations based on global climate change patterns and created a map that showed potential future migrations of different species in North, Central, and South America. They studied 2,903 different species of vertebrates in the Western hemisphere and mapped how they would be impacted based on future climate change projections. Some of the map’s data was using present-day information regarding how species have already begun to move, while other parts of the map are projections of where animals may move based on suitable climates near their existing migration routes.
The map also uses data compiled by Chris Helm’s global wind map, which would assist with the migration of birds, bees, and other small creatures that migrate through the air. This data allowed the map to be expanded to multiple continents to show the worldwide spread of certain species. According to the animated map, there would be the most movement of species in the south eastern United States and south eastern Brazil.
The animated map can help scientists and conservationists detect how climate change is already affecting certain species of vertebrates in the Western hemisphere. They can also use the map to track where they think other species will move and how cities, human developments, and other man made factors will influence future species migrations. Modelling these developments with maps like this can help the future of animal conservation and allow researchers to plan for the protection of species in advance of their changes in environment.
Visit: Migrations in Motion – The Nature Conservancy
One of the Longest Animal Migrations
Learn more about one long distance migrating species, the Rufu Red Knots which fly almost 20,000 miles per year:
- These Butterflies Have the Longest Known Migration Route
- An Eye Protein May Be What Allows Birds to Sense Magnetic North