Navigation Links
Bats use the evening sky's polarization pattern for orientation
Date:7/23/2014

This news release is available in German.

Animals can use varying sensory modalities for orientation, some of which might be very different from ours. Some bird species for example take the polarization pattern produced by sunlight in the atmosphere to calibrate their orientation systems. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany, and Queen's University Belfast have discovered with colleagues from Israel that a night active mammal, the greater mouse-eared bat, has the capability to orient using polarized light. These bats use the polarization pattern of the evening sky to calibrate their inner compass.

In the course of evolution manifold sensory systems developed which allowed animals varying possibilities to perceive their environment. Many insect species for example, but also some fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds can see polarized light. Polarized light forms as a result of sunlight being scattered in the atmosphere. The sky's polarization pattern can be used by animals as a compass, well-known examples being the orientation of honeybees, desert ants or migratory birds. Even humans can perceive polarized light to some degree. Subject to certain conditions we can see a so called Haidinger's brush, a diffuse yellowish form, which however, has no known function. The fact that mammals can also make use of this sensory perception was not known so far.

An international team of bat researchers including Stefan Greif from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, and from the Queen's University Belfast now found exactly that. Their study shows that the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) can use the polarized light of the evening sky to calibrate their orientation system, which is based on the Earth's magnetic field.

The researchers caught 70 female mouse-eared bats in a cave in North-eastern Bulgaria. During dusk they exposed half of the bats to a polarization direction which was shifted 90 degrees from the natural spectrum. The other half of the animals was placed in similar experimental boxes but with a natural polarization direction. Long after nightfall the bats were brought to two different sites some 20 kilometres away from their home roost. There they were released after the scientists equipped them with tiny radio transmitters to follow their flight trajectories on their way back to the cave. Those animals that experienced a 90 degrees shifted polarization pattern at sunset, vanished in a direction which deviated about 90 degrees from the control group. With this simple experiment the researchers showed for the first time that bats can use the polarization pattern of the evening sky to calibrate their inner compass for orientation. The precise mechanism however, is still unknown so far. "Further behavioural and physiological studies are necessary to understand this fascinating new sensory capability", says Stefan Greif, lead author of this study.


'/>"/>

Contact: Stefan Greif
greif@orn.mpg.de
49-815-793-2376
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Public invited to An Evening of Science & Art at ASCB Annual Meeting
2. Estimating earthquake frequency and patterns in the Puget Lowland
3. Birds evolve signature patterns to distinguish cuckoo eggs from their own
4. Scientists control rapid re-wiring of brain circuits using patterned visual stimulation
5. Motor cortex shown to play active role in learning movement patterns
6. Urbanization, higher temperatures can influence butterfly emergence patterns
7. Viral infections: Identifying the tell-tale patterns
8. New statistical models could lead to better predictions of ocean patterns
9. After death, twin brains show similar patterns of neuropathologic changes
10. Scientific review points to supplement users engaging in a pattern of healthy habits
11. Dispersal patterns key to invasive species success
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Bats use the evening sky's polarization pattern for orientation
(Date:4/5/2017)... Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator ... of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified ... architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises ... over 15 million users across the financial services industry, ... product suites and physical access represent a growing portion ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader ... United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued ... linking of an iris image with a face image ... the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com ... Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... will focus on developing health and wellness apps that ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon for ... world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and health ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the three Winners and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for ... Blavatnik Family Foundation and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for ... complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Md. (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... digital pathology, announced today it will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is ... Advanced Pathology Associates , on digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Florida (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 ... for the treatment of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane ...
Breaking Biology Technology: