Interactive Map Shows Where Animals Move Under Climate Change
Scientists have long wondered the possible routes of animal migration as climate change continues to warm the planet Earth.
Thanks to the brilliance of researchers at the University of Washington and Nature Conservancy for inventing an interactive map showing where mammals, birds and amphibian move to survive.
Specifically, the animated map showed movement of animal migration in the Western Hemisphere in response to climate change.
The animated map is very captivating, compared to static maps.
Joshua Lawler, a UW professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and lead author of the study informing this animated map, said “This is the best visualization of any of these studies we’ve done. The flow diagram really makes the data much more accessible.”
Animated Map Shows Patterns of Movement of Animals
Interestingly, the interactive map is color coded, and shows varied movement patterns for mammals, birds and amphibians.
The animations show a mass migration toward northern regions, with empty black zones showing where large cities or landscape features like the Great Lakes block migration.
In addition, the researchers saw clear migration routes that appeared once the data were visualized.
To cite an example, the researchers knew from the data that the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains were important movement areas, but once the data were animated on a map, those routes popped out like well-trodden paths.
The researchers plans to use the map in the future to find the places most important to protect for movement under climate change.
Animals Migrate to Higher Latitudes to Survive
Scientists have long predicted that animals move to higher latitudes as equatorial areas become too hot and dry to thrive. This comes with the notion that animals in reality migrate to other areas to survive.
In fact, the movement pattern has happened fluidly and naturally in the past as climates have shifted.
With the help of the animated map, locations where animals move under climate change is projected as well.