The Marine Life Information Network

Information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles



Periodic movement of organisms between alternative habitats e.g. between areas for reproduction and one or more areas of non-reproductive activity, or between areas of foraging and areas used for other activities. Most migrations occur at predictable intervals triggered by stimuli e.g. unfavourable conditions. Note, movements that do not include an obligatory return journey are classified as dispersal (Baretta-Bekker et al., 1992).

Trait Definition
Non migratory / resident Remaining within the same area (from Lincoln et al.,1998).
Diel Daily, pertaining to a 24 hour period.
Seasonal (feeding) A seasonal migration for the purpose of following or moving to suitable feeding grounds.
Seasonal (reproduction) A seasonal migration in order to reproduce.
Seasonal (environment) A seasonal migration in order to remain within suitable environmental conditions.
Ontogenetic migration Different life stages migrate into different habitats, or part of habitat (e.g. copepods, Arenicola etc) (Lincoln et al., 1998). 


Baretta-Bekker, J.G., Duursma, E.K. & Kuipers, B.R. (ed.), 1992. Encyclopedia of Marine Sciences. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Lincoln, R., Boxshall, G. & Clark, P., 1998. A dictionary of ecology, evolution and systematics (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University of Press.