small packages

Tiny animals provide big Arctic data

This insight will be crucial for conservation.

Hogan Films and Teton Raptor Center

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The Arctic tundra is home to thousands of unique animals, including caribou, golden eagles, and polar bears.

These animals’ lives are being turned upside down by climate change, but exactly how, is a tricky question for scientists.

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Climate change is warming the Arctic and melting its ice sheet, but Gil Bohrer, co-author on a new study in Science and professor at Ohio State University, tells Inverse that learning how this actually affects animals’ lives isn’t easy.

“Animal movement data is hard to collect. [To study] Arctic animals a team must travel to the Arctic to catch the animals and mount the tags… which is expensive because the tags are not cheap.”

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Dominique Berteaux, Université du Québec à Rimouski]

Andrew Dixon

Roland Kays, NCSU & NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Hogan Films and Teton Raptor Center

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Such behavioral changes could only be identified through decades of data, say researchers, and may have implications for breeding success.

Kyle Joly

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In the future, the authors hope that other researchers from around the world will continue to add to the database so that scientists can learn even more from these tiny animals’ big data.

Read more nature stories here.