Advanced

Route simulations, compass mechanisms and long-distance migration flights in birds

Åkesson, Susanne LU and Bianco, Giuseppe LU (2017) In Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Abstract

Bird migration has fascinated humans for centuries and routes crossing the globe are now starting to be revealed by advanced tracking technology. A central question is what compass mechanism, celestial or geomagnetic, is activated during these long flights. Different approaches based on the geometry of flight routes across the globe and route simulations based on predictions from compass mechanisms with or without including the effect of winds have been used to try to answer this question with varying results. A major focus has been use of orthodromic (great circle) and loxodromic (rhumbline) routes using celestial information, while geomagnetic information has been proposed for both a magnetic loxodromic route and a magnetoclinic... (More)

Bird migration has fascinated humans for centuries and routes crossing the globe are now starting to be revealed by advanced tracking technology. A central question is what compass mechanism, celestial or geomagnetic, is activated during these long flights. Different approaches based on the geometry of flight routes across the globe and route simulations based on predictions from compass mechanisms with or without including the effect of winds have been used to try to answer this question with varying results. A major focus has been use of orthodromic (great circle) and loxodromic (rhumbline) routes using celestial information, while geomagnetic information has been proposed for both a magnetic loxodromic route and a magnetoclinic route. Here, we review previous results and evaluate if one or several alternative compass mechanisms can explain migration routes in birds. We found that most cases could be explained by magnetoclinic routes (up to 73% of the cases), while the sun compass could explain only 50%. Both magnetic and geographic loxodromes could explain <25% of the routes. The magnetoclinic route functioned across latitudes (1°S–74°N), while the sun compass only worked in the high Arctic (61–69°N). We discuss the results with respect to orientation challenges and availability of orientation cues.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Geographic loxodrome, Magnetc loxodrome, Magnetoclinic route, Route simulations, Sun compass route
in
Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
pages
16 pages
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:85019229105
  • wos:000406794100010
ISSN
0340-7594
DOI
10.1007/s00359-017-1171-y
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
083b7cf5-01c2-4861-8be4-cbce54e84b75
date added to LUP
2017-05-30 08:35:18
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:37:59
@article{083b7cf5-01c2-4861-8be4-cbce54e84b75,
  abstract     = {<p>Bird migration has fascinated humans for centuries and routes crossing the globe are now starting to be revealed by advanced tracking technology. A central question is what compass mechanism, celestial or geomagnetic, is activated during these long flights. Different approaches based on the geometry of flight routes across the globe and route simulations based on predictions from compass mechanisms with or without including the effect of winds have been used to try to answer this question with varying results. A major focus has been use of orthodromic (great circle) and loxodromic (rhumbline) routes using celestial information, while geomagnetic information has been proposed for both a magnetic loxodromic route and a magnetoclinic route. Here, we review previous results and evaluate if one or several alternative compass mechanisms can explain migration routes in birds. We found that most cases could be explained by magnetoclinic routes (up to 73% of the cases), while the sun compass could explain only 50%. Both magnetic and geographic loxodromes could explain &lt;25% of the routes. The magnetoclinic route functioned across latitudes (1°S–74°N), while the sun compass only worked in the high Arctic (61–69°N). We discuss the results with respect to orientation challenges and availability of orientation cues.</p>},
  author       = {Åkesson, Susanne and Bianco, Giuseppe},
  issn         = {0340-7594},
  keyword      = {Geographic loxodrome,Magnetc loxodrome,Magnetoclinic route,Route simulations,Sun compass route},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {05},
  pages        = {16},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology},
  title        = {Route simulations, compass mechanisms and long-distance migration flights in birds},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00359-017-1171-y},
  year         = {2017},
}