The Circle

On the move: Migration in the Arctic

© Nikolai Yakushev

Many different bird species migrate to the Arctic to breed—and some are struggling to cope with the effects of climate change and other environmental hazards.

In this issue

In this issue, we explore how communities and wildlife in the Arctic are coping with a changing climate.

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Chris Johnson

Caribou and industry in Canada’s Arctic: Can they coexist?

Chris Johnson has been studying caribou for almost 25 years—long enough to have seen plenty of changes for the migratory species, most of them negative. As a wildlife ecologist at the University of Northern British Columbia, much of his work has focused on the impacts (or potential impacts) of human activities on terrestrial mammals, such as caribou.

Kevin Schafer/WWF

How are beluga whales responding to Arctic sea ice loss?

Every spring, two populations of beluga whales migrate thousands of kilometres to the open waters of the Arctic seas north of Alaska to forage during the short Arctic summers. But as Donna Hauser explains, the rapid loss of sea ice and expanding open-water season raises the question: How may this affect the belugas?


Are we bidding farewell to unique tundra in the Arctic?

As temperatures continue to rise in the Arctic, it is likely that the area’s unique and diverse tundra will change, becoming home to a more uniform type of vegetation dominated by shrubs. As Lærke Søndergaard Stewart explains, such a change could cause additional disruption to the local and global climate.

Global Warming Images/WWF

Safeguarding the great migrations to the Arctic in the face of climate change

At a cursory glance, the Arctic strikes many as a place of stark, lifeless beauty. But this unique biome is far from barren. From baleen whales and birds to belugas, walruses and polar bears, the Arctic is a haven for some of Earth’s most striking megafauna.

George Divoky

Is this Arctic seabird the “canary in the coalmine”?

Cooper Island, a 4-mile slice of sand and gravel off the coast of the northern tip of Alaska, is home to the region’s biggest colony of Mandt’s black guillemots. The pigeon-sized seabird feeds on Arctic cod and breeds near sea ice off the island from June to September.

Lee Narraway/WWF-Canada

Infections on the move

Climate change is causing obvious effects in the Arctic, like thawing permafrost and shrinking sea ice. But some of its impacts can’t be directly observed. Climate change is expected to be the most influential factor in the emergence of infectious diseases, says researcher Audrey Waits.

The Circle is a magazine produced by the WWF Global Arctic Programme. Our goal is to inform decision-makers, scientists and the interested public about Arctic environmental and development issues.
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