• A study revealed that animals are migrating to Earth's poles
  • Researchers created a database that tracks the animals' habitat shifts
  • Marine animals migrate much faster than their terrestrial counterparts

A comprehensive study conducted by researchers revealed a pattern of migration among animals. According to the study, different animal species are migrating toward Earth’s poles as global temperatures continue to rise.

For the study, the researchers created a database on habitat shifts known as BioShifts. Details of the study were presented in a new study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

BioShifts features data from 258 peer-reviewed studies. It showcases more than 30,000 recorded habitat shifts among more than 12,000 different species of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria.

The database keeps track of the movement of animals and other living organisms as they leave their natural habitats. According to the researchers, the mass migration is being driven by rising temperatures caused by global warming.

It seems the current environmental issues are forcing the living organisms to travel to colder regions.

BioShifts shows the travel rate of the animals per year. For instance, amphibians are moving towards Earth’s poles at an average speed of 12 meters a year, while reptiles are moving at a rate of 6.5 meters a year. Land animals move at a slow pace of 1.8 meters a year.

Marine animals, on the other hand, are moving at a much faster rate of 6 kilometers a year. The researchers believe that since water is a better conductor of heat than air, marine animals are more susceptible to the effects of warming climate than their land-based counterparts. Also, migrating in the water is easier than on land since it is not affected by various factors such as human activities.

“Our results suggest that terrestrial species are lagging behind shifting isotherms more than marine species, which is probably related to the interplay between the wider thermal safety margin of terrestrial versus marine species and the more constrained physical environment for dispersal in terrestrial versus marine habitats,” the researchers explained.

The mass migration to Earth’s poles can have serious implications for both humans and animals. The loss of animals in their natural habitats can have a huge effect on the food supply of humans. Also, as the animals settle in the polar regions, overpopulation in the areas could lead to a lack of oxygen and food sources.

Last year, the first UN "state of Nature" report in two decades found that one millions species of plants and animals face extinction
Last year, the first UN "state of Nature" report in two decades found that one millions species of plants and animals face extinction AFP / JEFF PACHOUD