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Biota Migration and Dispersal

  • By: Elizabeth R. Congdon
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

In general, migration and dispersal both refer to the movement of plants or animals over distances beyond their regular home range. Migration is typically seasonal, long distance, and repeated annually, such as the movement of birds between breeding and wintering grounds. Dispersal is more permanent, varies in distance, and is only done once or a limited number of times in the life of an organism. The timing, distance, and effects of movement are intrinsically linked to the habitat features being moved from, through, and to.

Animal migration takes an individual from one physical and ecological environment to another, typically, in search of resources or mates or in response to an environmental shift. The most common examples include birds that breed in northern latitudes during the Northern ...

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