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Apr 18

Geomagnetic Guidance Mechanisms in Sea Turtles

Gov't research grants on magnetism, guidance, sea turtles, magnetic highways and you tell us - if you find magnets in stars in space, sharks and birds following magnetic pathways, magnetic particles on mars then how can magnets not play a role in our lives?? Basically we just do not understand the effects of magnets on us - we live on the biggest magnet - at least that we can touch - the Earth.. The more you put all of this info in one place the more you see a much bigger picture of magnets and magnetism and how it really might be a part of everything we touch and see as some have postulated

Award Abstract #0344387
Geomagnetic Guidance Mechanisms in Sea Turtles

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Initial Amendment Date:February 26, 2004
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Latest Amendment Date: April 13, 2006
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Award Number:0344387
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Award Instrument: Continuing grant
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Program Manager:Michael D. Beecher
IOS Division of Integrative Organismal Systems
BIO Directorate for Biological Sciences
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Start Date: March 1, 2004
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Expires:February 29, 2008 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $413000
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Investigator(s):Kenneth Lohmann Investigator)
Catherine Lohmann (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
CHAPEL HILL, NC 27599 919/966-3411
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Field Application(s): 0000099 Other Applications NEC
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Program Reference Code(s): OTHR,0000
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Program Element Code(s):1160



PI: Kenneth J. Lohmann
Co-PI: Catherine M. F. Lohmann

The long-distance migrations of sea turtles involve some of the most extraordinary feats of orientation and navigation in the animal kingdom. Hatchling turtles entering the ocean for the first time immediately establish courses toward the open sea and steadfastly maintain them long after swimming beyond sight of land. As the turtles mature, they often follow complex migratory pathways across vast distances that sometimes span entire ocean basins. Older turtles take up residence in feeding grounds but periodically migrate long distances to particular mating and nesting sites, after which many navigate back to the same feeding sites that they inhabited previously. How sea turtles guide themselves across vast expanses of seemingly featureless ocean has remained an enduring mystery of animal behavior.
Although sea turtles, like other animals, exploit multiple cues in orientation and navigation, growing evidence suggests that the Earth's magnetic field provides turtles with an important source of both directional and positional information that can be used in different ways at different life history stages. As hatchlings, turtles may first use the Earth's field as a directional cue that enables them to maintain headings as they migrate out to sea. Later, in the open ocean, regional magnetic fields apparently function as navigational markers that elicit changes in swimming direction at crucial geographic boundaries, thus helping young turtles remain within favorable oceanic regions and progress along the migratory route. Turtles at this life history stage, however, do not navigate to specific geographic locations. In contrast, older juveniles take up residence in coastal feeding grounds, and recent evidence suggests that they acquire a "magnetic map" that enables them to navigate to specific feeding sites. A similar navigational ability may explain how adult turtles locate nesting beaches......More.. More ... More...

Posted by Jay Roberts at 03:50 AM | Permalink


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