Highways and hubs: Helping freshwater wildlife keep up with climate change

by Ian McCullough, Michigan State University
December 15, 2022

Like many others, perhaps you took a vacation this summer. If you drove, chances are that you traveled along major highways. If you flew, you likely traveled through a large airport, quite possibly a hub for a major airline. This is because highways and hubs typically comprise the most efficient long-distance routes to popular destinations.

As it turns out, the same is largely true for wildlife. Under a changing climate, wildlife are generally trying to move to cooler locations further north or to higher elevations, known as “range shifts.” Many species also migrate long distances to breed, such as many backyard birds and fishes such as salmon.

One of the greatest challenges for wildlife, however, is actually getting to their destinations given how heavily humans have modified landscapes and waterways. Perhaps ironically, the infrastructure that humans use to get around such as roads, railways and airports, as well as cities, fences and other human-made structures, effectively create obstacles for wildlife.

Keep reading: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/highways-and-hubs-helping-freshwater-wildlife-keep-up-with-climate-change

Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.4326