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Wetland birds among Arctic animals changing behaviour because of climate change’s rapid transformation of region, according to new data archive - Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Rising temperatures are triggering changed responses in animal populations in the Arctic, which could have huge ramifications for the future of the northernmost region on earth.

The findings are explored in a new scientific paper Ecological insights from three decades of animal movement tracking across a changing Arctic, which is published in the prestigious journal Science today (November 6).

The data has been collected in a new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a collection of 201 terrestrial and marine animal tracking studies, spanning 21 years and growing. It includes the tracking data of high-Arctic wetland birds, supplied by conservation charity WWT.

WWT’s Research Officer Kane Brides contributed to the study. He said: “The Arctic is in the process of entering a new ecological phase, which potentially carries a huge cost for humanity. However it can be difficult to track these changes and their impact on the different species that inhabit these huge expanses which include barren land, Arctic seas and Boreal forests. The creation of the AAMA facilitates research and insights into the changing behaviour of Arctic species, preserving critical baseline data for the future. It’s great to see that WWT tracking data is being utilised and made available to be used to address urgent issues surrounding the Arctic.”

Nowhere else on earth are experts seeing such rapid changes than in the Arctic where the primary cause, greenhouse gas emissions, are instigating warmer winter temperatures and ice loss, affecting the availability of food, competition and predation of animals. Experts are noticing differences in seasonal vegetation and changes in migration and foraging.

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