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Where to live?. BIOL 3100. Sometimes you really want to get away…. Migration involves breeding site selection, stopover site selection, and non-breeding site selection. How did migration evolve in the first place?. Monarch Migration.

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Where to live

Where to live?

BIOL 3100

Sometimes you really want to get away

Sometimes you really want to get away….

Migration involves breeding site selection, stopover site selection, and non-breeding site selection

Where to live

How did migration evolve in the first place?

Monarch migration

Monarch Migration

Monarchs have an annual migration that takes them from Canada to Mexico – however, no single individual makes a complete journey.

Most live for only 2 months; however, the last generation of summer enters diapause and may live for 7 months, flying to an overwintering site to deposit eggs.

The over-wintering generation doesn’t reproduce until it leaves the winter site in Feb/Mar

Over-wintering pops east of the Rockies may reach as far north as Texas/Oklahoma during spring migration.

It is the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations that actually end up in the Northern US and Canada

How do the monarchs know where to go

How do the monarchs know where to go?

Use the position of the sun in the sky to calculate where to go, but also use a 24-hour circadian clock in their antennae to compensate for movement of the sun across the sky

Use the earth’s magnetic field (much like birds) as a backup to their sun compass

Heritability of migratory behaviour that is functional between multiple generations

For conservation why might it be important to track animals

For conservation, why might it be important to track animals?

Where to live

The strength of migratory connectivity may shape our conservation priorities.

Where to live

Tracking the spread of avian-borne diseases, such as bird flu, is critical for stopping the spread of infectious disease

How do we limit the spread of bird flu if we don’t know where birds are going?

What about bird strikes

What about bird strikes?

How do we track migrating animals

How do we track migrating animals?

1 mark and recapture

1) Mark and Recapture

Unique numbers/markers can be attached to individuals at one location and, when they are recovered, we can link locations and make migratory connections.



  • Radar tracking can provide us with information on the timing of migration and the size of flocks

  • Very effective with birds, insects, and bats

Satellite tracking

Satellite Tracking

Satellite tracking provides extremely high resolution, but is limited to large animals and can be prohibitively expensive

Cell phone tracking

Cell phone tracking



Hydrogen hydrologic cycle

Stable Isotopes and Trace Elements

Carbon – plant photosynthesis

Nitrogen – trophic level

Hydrogen – hydrologic cycle

Trace Elements – geology, contaminants

Where to live

Hydrogen varies latitudinally across North America

Where to live

Migratory decisions can be condition-dependent.

Birds with low fat reserves head west and fly overland toward Mexico.

Birds with high energy reserves fly straight across the Gulf of Mexico

Where to live

If flying over water is risky, why fly non-stop 50-90 hours from Nova Scotia to Venezuela?

Faster, few predators, also wait for west-to-east winds to begin the journey

But, upon their return, blackpolls fly up across land. Why?

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