Use of magnetic map cues for short distance navigation

Abstract of our contribution at the RIN13. Bionav -The application of animal navigation techniques in autonomous vehicles.

1st Conference in this Series. 11-13 April 2013.
Royal Holloway College, Egham, UK

Friday, 12 April 2013


Use of magnetic map cues for short distance navigation

John B. Phillips, Francisco Javier Diego-Rasilla, Virginia Tech, USA

Behavioral evidence for the use of spatial variation in the magnetic field to derive geographic position (“magnetic map”) has come from studies of animals that home over very short distances (1-2 km) and require high-resolution map information (newts), as well as animals that home over long distances (> 100 km) and benefit from the use of low resolution map information (migratory birds, sea turtles). This talk will focus on the seemingly insurmountable problems faced by an animal using a high resolution magnetic map, and potential solutions to these problems. The issues to be discussed include: (1) use a specialized magnetoreception mechanism to measure magnetic field components involved in the map for both high resolution and low resolution maps, (2) possible role of alignment behaviors in increasing the accuracy of magnetic field measurements, (3) sampling strategies that may help animals relying on a high resolution map to distinguish the ‘spatial signal’ from both short term and long term temporal variation in the magnetic field, and (4) development of a new experimental approach to help identify specific magnetic field component(s) involved in a high resolution map.


Acerca de Francisco Javier Diego-Rasilla

Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. Enjoy teaching and making science. Ongoing research: reptile and amphibian conservation, behavioural studies of amphibians and reptiles, orientation behaviour, magnetic cues in orientation,...
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