Animal tracking data helps us understand how individuals and populations move within local areas and migrate across oceans and continents. This information is being used to address environmental challenges such as climate and land-use changes, biodiversity loss, invasive species, and the spread of infectious diseases.


Movebank.org
is a free, online database of animal-tracking information that helps researchers to manage, share, protect, analyze, and archive their data. Movebank is an international project that has more than a thousand users, including people from research and conservation groups around the world.


This GeoStory features real animal-tracking data. Some studies focus on multiple individuals within a population—each represented by a different color.

adaptive radiation
Noun

process in which many species develop from the same ancestral species to fill a variety of different roles in the environment.

animal migration
Noun

process where a community of animals leaves a habitat for part of the year or part of their lives, and moves to habitats that are more hospitable.

breeding ground
Noun

place where animals mate, give birth, and sometimes raise young.

Noun

management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

critically endangered
Noun

level of conservation between "endangered" and "extinct in the wild."

database
Noun

a collection of information for analysis and interpretation.

Noun

organism threatened with extinction.

Endangered Species Act
Noun

(1973) U.S. legislation that protects endangered species when they are threatened by human activity.

experimental population
Noun

group of threatened or endangered species reintroduced to a designated area.

extant
Adjective

living or in existence; prominent or standing out.

least concern
Adjective

lowest level of conservation, used when the population and habitat of a species are healthy.

migration pattern
Noun

predictable movements, in time and space, of a group of animals or people.

migration route
Noun

path followed by birds or other animals that migrate regularly.

near threatened
Noun

level of conservation between "least concern" and "vulnerable."

ornithology
Noun

study of the biology and behavior of birds.

population
Noun

total number of people or organisms in a particular area.

seasonal migration
Noun

movement of animals or other organisms determined by the changing weather or seasons, or in response to labor or climate conditions. For animals, seasonal migration usually refers to movement to a warmer climate during the winter and a cooler climate during the summer. For humans, seasonal migration may happen because of drivers such as crop and livestock management or tourism.

Noun

process by which one or more populations of a species become genetically different enough to form a new species.

threatened species
Noun

organism that may soon become endangered.

tracker
Noun

device, usually attached to an animal, that follows its movements.

wintering
Adjective

migrating to a warm climate in winter and staying until spring.