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Magnetic compass orientation in European robins is dependent on both wavelength and intensity of light

Muheim, Rachel LU ; Bäckman, Johan LU and Åkesson, Susanne LU (2002) In Journal of Experimental Biology 205(24). p.3845-3856
Abstract
Magnetic compass orientation in birds has been shown to be light dependent. Results from behavioural studies indicate that magnetoreception capabilities are disrupted under light of peak wavelengths longer than 565 nm, and shifts in orientation have been observed at higher light intensities (43-44x1015 quanta s-1 m-2). To investigate further the function of the avian magnetic compass with respect to wavelength and intensity of light, we carried out orientation cage experiments with juvenile European robins, caught during their first autumn migration, exposed to light of 560.5 nm (green), 567.5 nm (green-yellow) and 617 nm (red) wavelengths at three different intensities (1 mW m-2, 5 mW m-2 and 10 mW m-2). We used monochromatic light of a... (More)
Magnetic compass orientation in birds has been shown to be light dependent. Results from behavioural studies indicate that magnetoreception capabilities are disrupted under light of peak wavelengths longer than 565 nm, and shifts in orientation have been observed at higher light intensities (43-44x1015 quanta s-1 m-2). To investigate further the function of the avian magnetic compass with respect to wavelength and intensity of light, we carried out orientation cage experiments with juvenile European robins, caught during their first autumn migration, exposed to light of 560.5 nm (green), 567.5 nm (green-yellow) and 617 nm (red) wavelengths at three different intensities (1 mW m-2, 5 mW m-2 and 10 mW m-2). We used monochromatic light of a narrow wavelength range (half bandwidth of 9-11 nm, compared with half bandwidths ranging between 30 nm and 70 nm used in other studies) and were thereby able to examine the magnetoreception mechanism in the expected transition zone between oriented and disoriented behaviour around 565 nm in more detail. We show (1) that European robins show seasonally appropriate migratory directions under 560.5 nm light, (2) that they are completely disoriented under 567.5 nm light under a broad range of intensities, (3) that they are able to orient under 617 nm light of lower intensities, although into a direction shifted relative to the expected migratory one, and (4) that magnetoreception is intensity dependent, leading to disorientation under higher intensities. Our results support the hypothesis that birds possess a light-dependent magnetoreception system based on magnetically sensitive, antagonistically interacting spectral mechanisms, with at least one high-sensitive short-wavelength mechanism and one low-sensitive long-wavelength mechanism. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
205
issue
24
pages
3845 - 3856
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000180206200010
  • pmid:12432008
  • scopus:0036923032
ISSN
1477-9145
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8b9cf149-b1ea-452a-abfa-aa1172a8101e (old id 131279)
alternative location
http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/abstract/205/24/3845
date added to LUP
2007-06-25 10:36:44
date last changed
2017-11-19 03:27:33
@article{8b9cf149-b1ea-452a-abfa-aa1172a8101e,
  abstract     = {Magnetic compass orientation in birds has been shown to be light dependent. Results from behavioural studies indicate that magnetoreception capabilities are disrupted under light of peak wavelengths longer than 565 nm, and shifts in orientation have been observed at higher light intensities (43-44x1015 quanta s-1 m-2). To investigate further the function of the avian magnetic compass with respect to wavelength and intensity of light, we carried out orientation cage experiments with juvenile European robins, caught during their first autumn migration, exposed to light of 560.5 nm (green), 567.5 nm (green-yellow) and 617 nm (red) wavelengths at three different intensities (1 mW m-2, 5 mW m-2 and 10 mW m-2). We used monochromatic light of a narrow wavelength range (half bandwidth of 9-11 nm, compared with half bandwidths ranging between 30 nm and 70 nm used in other studies) and were thereby able to examine the magnetoreception mechanism in the expected transition zone between oriented and disoriented behaviour around 565 nm in more detail. We show (1) that European robins show seasonally appropriate migratory directions under 560.5 nm light, (2) that they are completely disoriented under 567.5 nm light under a broad range of intensities, (3) that they are able to orient under 617 nm light of lower intensities, although into a direction shifted relative to the expected migratory one, and (4) that magnetoreception is intensity dependent, leading to disorientation under higher intensities. Our results support the hypothesis that birds possess a light-dependent magnetoreception system based on magnetically sensitive, antagonistically interacting spectral mechanisms, with at least one high-sensitive short-wavelength mechanism and one low-sensitive long-wavelength mechanism.},
  author       = {Muheim, Rachel and Bäckman, Johan and Åkesson, Susanne},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {24},
  pages        = {3845--3856},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {Magnetic compass orientation in European robins is dependent on both wavelength and intensity of light},
  volume       = {205},
  year         = {2002},
}