The magnetic sense and its use in long-distance navigation by animals

  title={The magnetic sense and its use in long-distance navigation by animals},
  author={Michael M Walker and Todd E. Dennis and Joseph L. Kirschvink},
  journal={Current Opinion in Neurobiology},

Figures from this paper

The neural mechanisms of long distance animal navigation

Magnetoreception and its use in bird navigation

Navigation of marine, freshwater and coastal animals: concepts and current problems

A selected series of phenomena of current interest is presented, starting with olfactory beaconing in oceanic birds, which allows the detection of patchily distributed food and productive areas from long distances.

Pigeon Navigation Model Based on a Vector Magnetometer

A model of pigeon navigation is proposed that can explain not only how the birds find their way back home, but also a series of characteristic traits of their navigation, which, in spite of numerous experiments, still remain puzzling.

True Navigation : Sensory Bases of Gradient Maps

The available evidence suggests that true navigation involves a patchwork of mechanisms, the use of which depends on the local environment (e.g., characteristics of local gradients), scale of movement, and individual age/experience.

Neural Correlates of a Magnetic Sense

Neurons responses in the pigeon’s brainstem are described that show how single cells encode magnetic field direction, intensity, and polarity; qualities that are necessary to derive an internal model representing directional heading and geosurface location.

Magnetic Maps in Animals: A Theory Comes of Age?

Appropriate shifts in the direction of orientation, which compensate for the simulated displacements, have been observed in newts, birds, sea turtles, and lobsters, and provide the strongest evidence to date for magnetic map navigation.

Simulations to True Animals’ Long-Distance Geomagnetic Navigation

Simulation results show that animals may be able to complete their long-distance navigation by observing a spatial angle included by the geomagnetic field line and a geographic direction, without necessarily knowing any prior landmark information.

Maps and Compasses

The role of visual landmarks in the avian familiar area map

  • R. Holland
  • Biology
    Journal of Experimental Biology
  • 2003
It is proposed that extending a new technique for research on vision in homing to include manipulation of the compasses used by birds might be able to resolve the issue of whether homing pigeons use visual landmarks for orientation from distant, familiar sites.



Structure and function of the vertebrate magnetic sense

The key components of a magnetic sense underpinning this navigational ability in a single species, the rainbow trout are described and an area in the nose of the trout where candidate magnetoreceptor cells are located is identified.

Magnetic Orientation in Animals

This text details animal orientation with the help of information from the geomagnetic field. It reviews the magnetic effects on spatial behaviour in the various groups of the animal kingdom from

Magnetic position determination by homing pigeons?

Tests indicate that a pigeon would be unlikely to derive useful information from the vector summation model, which is not applicable in a magnetic field generated simply by a geocentric dipole, but requires a field perturbed by higher-order sources.

Magnetic position determination by homing pigeons

Abstract How pigeons return home from unfamiliar release sites is a long-standing puzzle in animal behaviour. Walker (1998, 1999) has described a “vector summation model” which “identifies a novel

On a Wing and a Vector: a Model for Magnetic Navigation by Homing Pigeons.

  • Walker
  • Biology
    Journal of theoretical biology
  • 1998
A vector summation model is proposed which identifies a novel coordinate that pigeons could use with magnetic total intensity to determine position and makes predictions about the accuracy of homing and patterns of home orientation over local and regional scales.

An Experimental Approach to Fish Compass and Map Orientation

A review of field studies indicates that the homeward migrations of maturing Pacific salmon from the open ocean are well timed and oriented. It is hypothesized that salmon can determine their

Anomalies in the Earth’s Magnetic Field Increase the Scatter of Pigeons’ Vanishing Bearings

Homing pigeons were released under sunny conditions at places with large variations in the total intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field. At five out of six such places, pigeons were more scattered

Detection of magnetic field intensity by sea turtles

WHETHER migratory animals can determine their global position by detecting features of the Earth's magnetic field has long been debated1–4. To do this an animal must perceive (at least) two distinct

Long-distance navigation in sea turtles

Adult sea turtles of several species migrate across vast expanses of ocean to arrive at specific nesting areas and feeding sites. Two hypotheses have been proposed to account for this remarkable