Habitat-Range

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Map Of Narwhal Migration Patterns

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Narwhals are known to have evolved from Greenland roughly 500,000 years ago. Narwhals are distributed in the Canadian High Arctic, West and East Greenland and occasionally as far east as Svalbard. However, the largest population of narwhals lies to the west of Greenland. Narwhals are known as “arctic specialists,” making them highly dependent on specific climates. Narwhals also require very particular habitats in both summer and winter, and have very specific migratory patterns, making them highly susceptible to climate change.

Narwhal Migration Patterns

Narwhals In Their Arctic Habitat

The Narwhal lives in the Arctic biome. Baffin Bay, located on the western side of Greenland, near which narwhals are commonly found, receives nearly 24 inches of precipitation per year. This is slightly more than the average for the Arctic biome, which receives only 20 inches of precipitation per year. The Arctic region ranges from -58 °F in the harsh winters to 86 °F in the summer. 

narwhal_range_map

An Additional Map Of The Population Of Narwhals Throughout The Year

Studies have shown that the annual sea ice freeze-up that takes place during the fall has been occurring progressively later with each passing year. Recently, this freeze-up has occurred approximately 3-4 weeks later than it did in the 1980s. This trend is a symptom of a rapidly warming Arctic region—the gradual loss in sea ice observed over the last few decades allows the water to stay open longer and absorb more heat, which prolongs the melting season. Due to these findings, it is understood that the Narwhal’s limited habitat may be quickly diminishing. 

Baffin Bay

Baffin Bay, home to 90% of the Narwhal population, is located just west of Greenland. Baffin Bay provides habitat for 116 species of fish, as well as 27 species of coral. Baffin Bay stretches over 425,000 square miles, and connects to the Arctic Ocean.

Stunning Deep-Water Coral Found In Baffin Bay

Stunning Deep-Water Coral Found In Baffin Bay

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3 responses to “Habitat-Range

  1. Hey Jacob, the video link on this page is not working, and your map is unreadable. Please fix this as soon as possible. Also, you do have some typos and grammatical errors as well, so double check the text. I do like your photos of the biome, but make sure that all photos have a caption. Also, bold section titles like “Narwhal Range”and increase the font size.

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  2. Hi Jacob. Thanks for the article. I visited because I am trying to assess the veracity of a claim my brother made about seeing narwhals off the mid-Atlantic (New Jersey) coast of the U.S. I am a former U.S. Coast Guard aircrewman, with significant time gazing at the ocean from above, and this claim seems highly unlikely to me. What are your thoughts?

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    • Wow. Fascinating! I’d be doubtful that any narwhals would venture that far South (their natural habitat is far colder than the waters around New Jersey)… That said, I wasn’t there! My thoughts are that it is highly unlikely, as you’ve noted, especially with receding ice coverage of our oceans. Thanks for your interest! Keep in touch if you have any more questions!

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