Animal-borne sensors as a biologically informed lens on a changing climate

Ellis-Soto, D., Wikelski, M. & Jetz, W. | Nat. Clim. Chang. 13, 1042–1054 (2023) | 2023 | Peer Reviewed | Methodological article |


As climate change transforms the biosphere, more comprehensive and biologically relevant measurements of changing conditions are needed. Traditional climate measurements are often constrained by geographically static, coarse, sparse and biased sampling, and only indirect links to ecological responses. Here we discuss how animal-borne sensors can deliver spatially fine-grain, biologically fine-tuned, relevant sampling of climatic conditions in support of ecological and climatic forecasting. Millions of fine-scale meteorological observations from over a thousand species have already been collected by animal-borne sensors. We highlight the opportunities that these growing data have for the intersection of biodiversity and climate science, particularly in terrestrial environments. Tagged animals worldwide could close critical data gaps, provide insights about changing ecosystems and broadly function as active environmental sentinels.