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From Pole to Shining Pole: Animal Migrations and Changing Climate

Every year thousands of species depart on an epic journey. Species as small as zooplankton and as huge as the blue whale share this behavior of packing up and leaving to follow changing seasons, find warmer weather, and search for food.

Animals have migrated for millions of years, however with rapidly changing climate and fracturing and reduction of cold-weather habitat, many are having to change their summering grounds accordingly. This could impact the animals that have the farthest to travel and the humans who may live along their path. The graphic above is a model showing how birds, mammals, and amphibians will have to adjust their migration routes in response to climate change.

  • How do animals navigate these long trips?
  • What’s the longest migration of any animal (besides humans)?
  • What different patterns do seasonal migrations follow?
  • How might climate change impact bird, fish, and mammal migration?

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Earth's Magnetic Declination

Many animals use magnetic fields to navigate their long journeys, and this dataset shows how the magnetic poles change over time.