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.
For Further Exploration
- National Geographic Education: Encyclopedia—Endangered Species
- National Geographic Education: Encyclopedia—GPS
- BirdLife International
- Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals
- Galapagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme
- Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- IUCN: Red List of Threatened Species
- Movebank—Animal Tracking Data
- NYS DEC Bald Eagle Program
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Endangered Species Program
- USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
- Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry 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.
management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.
Encyclopedic Entry: conservation critically endangered Noun
level of conservation between "endangered" and "extinct in the wild."
a collection of information for analysis and interpretation.
endangered species Noun
organism threatened with extinction.
Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species 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.
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."
study of the biology and behavior of birds.
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.
process by which one or more populations of a species become genetically different enough to form a new species.
Encyclopedic Entry: speciation threatened species Noun
organism that may soon become endangered.
device, usually attached to an animal, that follows its movements.
migrating to a warm climate in winter and staying until spring.