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Title: Bird Navigation: what type of information does the magnetite-based receptor provide?
Contributor(s): Wiltschko, W (author); Munro, U (author); Ford, HA (author); Wiltschko, R (author)
Publication Date: 2006
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3651
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Abstract: Previous experiments have shown that a short, strong magnetic pulse caused migratory birds to change their headings from their normal migratory direction to an easterly direction in both spring and autumn. In order to analyse the nature of this pulse effect, we subjected migratory Australian silvereyes, Zosterops lateralis, to a magnetic pulse and tested their subsequent response under different magnetic conditions. In the local geomagnetic field, the birds preferred easterly headings as before, and when the horizontal component of the magnetic field was shifted 90° anticlockwise, they altered their headings accordingly northwards. In a field with the vertical component inverted, the birds reversed their headings to westwards, indicating that their directional orientation was controlled by the normal inclination compass. These findings show that although the pulse strongly affects the magnetite particles, it leaves the functional mechanism of the magnetic compass intact. Thus, magnetite-based receptors seem to mediate magnetic 'map'-information used to determine position, and when affected by a pulse, they provide birds with false positional information that causes them to change their course.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 273(1603), p. 2815-2820
Publisher: The Royal Society of London
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0962-8452
Field of Research (FOR): 060805 Animal Neurobiology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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