Image of a migratory map showing locations in Canada and South America with image of Tern

HOME | who we are | current events | projects

Linking Populations through full-life cycle biology

Migratory connectivity is the geographic linking of individuals and populations between one life cycle stage and another. Many different taxa contain migratory species.

  • Each year 5 billion birds worldwide migrate to their breeding or wintering grounds, stopping along the way to eat and rest
  • For mammals we think of whales migrating across hemispheres, or wildebeest migrations on African plains
  • Some species like salmon migrate only once
  • Salamanders and frogs migrate to vernal pools for breeding

Because events within each period of the annual cycle are often inextricably linked, understanding migratory connectivity has important implications for population dynamics and species conservation. Unfortunately, our understanding of migratory connectivity for most species is rudimentary. For migratory animals, especially birds, research has historically been biased towards the breeding period and examined as disjointed seasonal events because, until recently, we lacked the tools to answer the complicated questions regarding seasonal interactions.

What is the Migratory Connectivity Project?

Cownose Ray

The Migratory Connectivity Project Information Sheet

Given the rapid advancement of technology and migratory connectivity data, the Migratory Connectivity Project was created to facilitate development of new technologies and serve as a portal for gathering and disseminating information. Our ultimate goal is to advance the conservation and understanding of animals throughout their full life cycle by promoting the science of migratory connectivity.

Project objectives

  1. Link populations by promoting the study of migratory connectivity and full-life cycle biology at multiple temporal and spatial scales
  2. Advance science by encouraging the development and use of the technology used to track animals
  3. Protect species by working with governmental and non-governmental partners to integrate full-life cycle biology into conservation planning processes
  4. Connect people across cultures by educating local and international communities about the migratory animals that they share