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Special session on animal migration at the Arctic Change 2014 conference

David Gremillet, September 1, 2014

Dear colleagues,

Grant Gilchrist (Env. Canada) and myself will be steering a special session on animal migration at the forthcoming Arctic Change Conference (

I am copying the outline of the session here below; it will obviously include seabird work conducted in the Arctic.

The deadline for abstract submission is the 3rd of Oct.

Kind regards

David Grémillet CEFE-CNRS 1919 Route de Mende F-34293 Montpellier Cedex 05 Email: Tel. 04-67-61-32-10 Fax. 04-67-61-33-36

T32. Linking the Arctic to the World: Arctic Animal Migrations in a Global Context Co-chairs David Grémillet (CNRS, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Montpellier, France) Grant Gilchrist (Environment Canada, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carlton University, Ottawa, Canada) We tend to view arctic wildlife as a suite of endemic species living isolated from the rest of the world. This is largely incorrect. Notably, animal migrations connect this polar region to many other areas of the planet. These mass movements have a profound impact on arctic ecology, and on the capacity of arctic ecosystems to deal with global change. Migration is most visible in birds, and millions of them which breed in the Arctic spend the winter further South, sometimes on the other side of the earth. However, dramatic seasonal movements are also recorded in arctic marine and terrestrial mammals, and in marine fish. Such animal migrations have always been a fascinating feature for people of the Arctic, especially since wildlife movements determined the timing and the success of hunting activities, and acted as a natural calendar across the year cycle. Migrations also mean that many arctic animals critically depend upon habitats and resources outside of the Arctic, which largely condition their winter survival and population dynamics. Further, arctic animals are also exposed to foreign parasites, pathogens and pollutants at their wintering sites and all along their migratory pathways, which they might import into the Arctic upon their return. As we observe it today, the migratory behaviour of artic animals is shaped by current environmental conditions, and it is also a legacy of past conditions, notably those of the last ice-ages. Yet, migratory routes and timing are also liable to changes. For instance, it is predicted that global warming will affect the migratory behaviour of many arctic animals, with important consequences for species distributions, population dynamics, genetic structure, trophic interactions, as well as for the flow of parasites, pathogens and pollutants into arctic ecosystems. Ultimately, those changes are bound to impact the lives of people across the Arctic, notably through modified hunting conditions. Studying arctic animal migrations in a changing world is therefore a major research objective, which should be addressed on a global scale through observations, analyses and forecasts. Our session will welcome contributions concerning the largest-possible range of arctic taxa, as well as those addressing the impact of changing animal migrations on human societies. Empirical approaches using e.g. biotelemetry, stable isotopic analyses, genetics, or pathology will be considered, as well as theoretical work on e.g. future evolution of migratory behaviour, species spatial ecology, or emerging infectious diseases.