Navigation Links
Displaced songbirds navigate in the high Arctic

By experimentally relocating migratory white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii) from their breeding area in the Canadian Northwest Territories to regions at and around the magnetic North Pole, researchers have gained new insight into how birds navigate in the high Arctic. In particular, the findings aid our understanding of how birds might determine longitudinal information--a challenging task, especially at the earth's poles.

The work is reported in Current Biology by Susanne kesson and colleagues at Lund University in Sweden.

Migratory birds navigating over long distances can determine their latitude on the basis of geomagnetic and celestial information, but longitudinal position is much more difficult to determine. In the new work, researchers investigated whether birds can define their longitude after physical displacements in the high Arctic, where the geomagnetic field lines are steep and the midnight sun makes star navigation impossible for much of the summer.

White-crowned sparrows are nocturnally migrating birds that breed in northern Canada and perform long migrations covering a few thousand kilometers to winter in the southern United States. In the study, young and adult white-crowned sparrows were captured with mistnets near Inuvik, NW Territories, Canada, during mid-July to mid-August--the end of the breeding period and shortly before migration--and transported by a Canadian icebreaker along a northeasterly route to nine sites on the tundra, among them the magnetic North Pole (located on Ellef Ringnes Island). The researchers then recorded the birds' directional orientation in cage experiments.

The scientists found that both adult and juvenile birds abruptly shifted their orientation from the migratory direction to a direction leading back to the breeding area or the normal migratory route, suggesting that the birds began compensating for the west-to-east displacement by using geomagnetic cues alone or i n combination with solar cues. The experiments suggest that, in contrast to what would be predicted by a simple genetic-migration program, both adult and juvenile white-crowned sparrows possess a navigation system based on a combination of celestial and geomagnetic information to correct for longitudinal displacements. The results of the study suggest that the birds may in fact use declination--the angle formed between the magnetic North Pole and geographic north--to obtain longitudinal information. Geographic north can be determined by star positions late in the summer, as night returns to the high Arctic.


'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. Migratory songbirds have a specialized night-vision brain area
2. Bats prey on nocturnally migrating songbirds
3. Personality-gene makes songbirds curious
4. Lands surface change on Alaska tundra creating longer, warmer summers in Arctic
5. Record air pollution above the Arctic
6. Pollutant haze heats the Arctic
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/9/2016)... 2016 Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ), a leading ... its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2015.  ... quarter of 2015 was $6.9 million, an increase of 61% compared ... in the fourth quarter of 2015 was $2.6 million compared to ... --> --> Higher revenue and operating income ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... Feb. 5, 2016 ... the "Global Facial Recognition Market 2016-2020" ... http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5kvw8m/global_facial ) has announced the addition ... 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... ) has announced the addition of the ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... PUNE, India , February 3, 2016 ... to the new market research report "Automated Fingerprint Identification ... (Tenprint Search, Latent Search), Application (Banking & Finance, Government, ... 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to ... estimated CAGR of 21.0% between 2015 and 2020. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)...  Vermillion, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRML ), a bio-analytical ... formation of the Steering Committee for its Pelvic Mass ... Pelvic masses can present physicians and healthcare professionals ... is ruled out, pelvic masses may include cancers of ... ovarian tumors and gastrointestinal and urinary tract masses. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... YORK , Feb. 11, 2016  Bioethics International, a ... medicines are researched, developed, marketed and made accessible to patients ... BMJ Open had named the publication of the ... 2015. The publication is also featured as one of ... in the last year that are most frequently read. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today ... Portland, Oregon -based community care ... provide population health analytics, quality reporting and care ... FamilyCare strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts ... to the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... CRUZ, Calif. , Feb. 11, 2016  Dovetail ... applications to its beta program for a planned metagenomic ... will present the company,s metagenomic genome assembly method in ... Advances in Genome Biology & Technology conference in ... assembly of these highly complex datasets is difficult. Using ...
Breaking Biology Technology: