From biomass and regularity, the vertical migration of small marine animals is the most critical migration on our planet. And thanks to satellite data, researchers now know a little more.

The most crucial animal migration unveiled by a laser from space.
The most crucial animal migration unveiled by a laser from space.


When we talk about animal migrations, we usually think of the monarch butterfly, the emperor penguin, the leatherback turtle, or the humpback whale.

Vertical migration as researchers calls it.

Today it is the Calipso satellite  - an acronym for  Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations.

A satellite of NASA and the French National Center for Space Studies (Cnes) reveals some details. Thanks to observations made every sixteen days for no less than ten years and thus proving the capacity of lidars to provide new and useful data to science from space.

Refine climate models
Thus, migratory species appear less numerous, but proportionally larger in tropical and subtropical regions where the waters are less nutrient-rich and clearer. Without a doubt, the result of a protective behavior against predators who hunt on sight. The opposite is exact in regions with turbid, nutrient-rich waters.

In response to climatic variations, the populations have evolved. Either upwards or downwards, according to the regions.

These data are expected to refine climate models, as small migratory marine animals are fond of surface phytoplankton that absorb atmospheric CO 2. They are the ones who carry the greenhouse gas to the bottom of the ocean, where it gets trapped.

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