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.Download this issue of The Circle
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.
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.
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.
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.