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Amazing insights into the farthest moving species in the world

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According to a new study by the University of British Columbia, Arctic terns have the longest annual travel world record and use several selected routes. This is an important discovery that can help in efforts to protect species.


Globally, arctic terns are declining and their geographical extent is wide, which poses a challenge for researchers who want to identify bottlenecks when various tern colonies move.

“We don’t have such a wide range of animals. They are indicator species that tell us a lot about the different ecosystems they pass through,” said the lead author of the study and a graduate of the institute. Joanna Wang said. Master’s Program in Marine Fisheries (IOF) at UBC. “You know that if they don’t arrive at their destination for a year, there may be environmental problems somewhere in them. root.. ”

Birds are culturally important to the Inuit people. Inuit people use eggs as food and rely on small white birds as an indicator of environmental conditions and the presence of wildlife.

Bird migration patterns have been tracked in Europe, but despite Canada being an important breeding ground for this species, no studies have been conducted on Canadian arctic terns, Wong said.

Each year, they breed, nest, and forage in the Antarctic Ocean southward, covering an estimated 70,000 kilometers per year.

Amazing insights into the movement patterns of the most distant species in the world

Arctic terns cover approximately 70,000 kilometers during their annual journey. Credit: Mark Mallory

“I don’t know exactly what kills the tern,” said Dr. Marie Auger Mete, an assistant professor at the IOF and co-author of the study. “But all terns share only a few routes, so human-created barriers to one of these routes, such as fishing areas and wind farms, are a huge part of the world’s arctic terns. May affect. “

The route of travel known as the “flyway” has been mapped to many land birds, but currently nothing exists in seabirds such as the Arctic tern.

“My only expectation for this study was to get a clearer picture of the migration of Arctic terns in Canada,” says Wong. “But when we compared our results to other tern follow-up studies, it was crazy that there was such a similarity between them all. It was a pattern we just couldn’t ignore.”

UBC researchers work with eight other universities and research groups in Canada, the United States, and Germany to capture birds, deploy trackers, release them, and wait for them to return, unprecedented. We analyzed the amount of data collected.

When traveling south, researchers found that almost all arctic terns take one of three routes: two along the Atlantic Ocean and one along the Pacific Ocean.

Amazing insights into the movement patterns of the most distant species in the world

Arctic terns are culturally important to the Inuit people. Inuit people use eggs as food and rely on small white birds as an indicator of environmental conditions and the presence of wildlife. Credit: Mark Mallory

But when they moved north, terns stuck to one of two routes: one in the Atlantic Ocean and one in the Pacific Ocean.

On the southbound journey, they stayed near the coast, but on the northbound route, they were flying in the middle of the ocean.

“It’s clear that food is a great driving force when taking coastal routes. It makes sense because they leave after breeding, which uses a lot of energy,” Wong explains. “The trip to the north is affected by the wind. They want to return to their breeding grounds as soon as possible due to the fierce competition for the best nesting sites.”

Based on their findings, the authors of the study are seasonal as a tool to help protect Arctic tern populations and protect them from human-related effects on their habitat during the passage of Arctic terns. We are proposing an evaluation of a “mobile marine protected area”. Identifying seabird flyways can also help protect many other species.


Tern faces challenges when flying south in winter


For more information:
JB Wong et al, Arctic terns from peripolar breeding colonies share a common migration route, Marine Ecology Progress Series (2021). DOI: 10.3354 / meps13779

Quote: Https: //phys.org/news/2021-08-insights-world-farthest-migrating-species.html Obtained from August 5, 2021 the world’s farthest moving species (August 2021) Amazing insights into (5th)

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Amazing insights into the farthest moving species in the world

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