Science April 2014 – ‘Migratory Animals Couple Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Worldwide’ by Silke Bauer and Bethany Hoye

Bewick’s swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii)Silke Bauer (on sabbatical at Deakin, Waurn Ponds) and Bethany Hoye just got a paper out in Science (Migratory Animals Couple Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Worldwide) highlighting that seasonal migrations move large numbers of animals across often vast distances.

Such movement shifts large amounts of biomass from one region to another, but, perhaps more importantly, moves animals that eat, excrete, and sometimes die in multiple remote systems. Such movements impact the communities, trophic structure, and function of these ecosystems in often underappreciated ways. Bauer and Hoye review migrations across taxa to identify the key ecological roles these long-distance movements play, and the unique threats the animals face in our increasingly modified world.