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Dramatic orientation shift of white-crowned sparrows displaced across longitudes in the high arctic

Åkesson, Susanne LU ; Morin, J; Muheim, Rachel LU and Ottosson, Ulf LU (2005) In Current Biology 15(17). p.1591-1597
Abstract
Advanced spatial-learning adaptations have been shown for migratory songbirds (1], but it is not well known how the simple genetic program encoding migratory distance and direction in young birds [2-4] translates to a navigation mechanism used by adults [2, 4-6]. A number of convenient cues are available to define latitude on the basis of geomagnetic and celestial information [7-15], but very few are useful to defining longitude [12-15]. To investigate the effects of displacements across longitudes on orientation, we recorded orientation of adult and juvenile migratory white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, after passive longitudinal displacements, by ship, of 266-2862 km across high-arctic North America. After eastward... (More)
Advanced spatial-learning adaptations have been shown for migratory songbirds (1], but it is not well known how the simple genetic program encoding migratory distance and direction in young birds [2-4] translates to a navigation mechanism used by adults [2, 4-6]. A number of convenient cues are available to define latitude on the basis of geomagnetic and celestial information [7-15], but very few are useful to defining longitude [12-15]. To investigate the effects of displacements across longitudes on orientation, we recorded orientation of adult and juvenile migratory white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, after passive longitudinal displacements, by ship, of 266-2862 km across high-arctic North America. After eastward displacement to the magnetic North Pole and then across the 0 degrees declination line, adults and juveniles abruptly shifted their orientation from the migratory direction to a direction that would lead back to the breeding area or to the normal migratory route, suggesting that the birds began compensating for the displacement by using geomagnetic cues alone or together with solar cues. In contrast to predictions by a simple genetic migration program, our experiments suggest that both adults and juveniles possess a navigation system based on a combination of celestial and geomagnetic information, possibly declination, to correct for eastward longitudinal displacements. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Current Biology
volume
15
issue
17
pages
1591 - 1597
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • pmid:16139216
  • wos:000231865700031
  • scopus:24044540366
ISSN
1879-0445
DOI
10.1016/j.cub.2005.07.027
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
49a23e45-8638-48b0-b06a-35431406c4e3 (old id 145137)
date added to LUP
2007-06-25 15:54:59
date last changed
2017-08-06 04:57:35
@article{49a23e45-8638-48b0-b06a-35431406c4e3,
  abstract     = {Advanced spatial-learning adaptations have been shown for migratory songbirds (1], but it is not well known how the simple genetic program encoding migratory distance and direction in young birds [2-4] translates to a navigation mechanism used by adults [2, 4-6]. A number of convenient cues are available to define latitude on the basis of geomagnetic and celestial information [7-15], but very few are useful to defining longitude [12-15]. To investigate the effects of displacements across longitudes on orientation, we recorded orientation of adult and juvenile migratory white-crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii, after passive longitudinal displacements, by ship, of 266-2862 km across high-arctic North America. After eastward displacement to the magnetic North Pole and then across the 0 degrees declination line, adults and juveniles abruptly shifted their orientation from the migratory direction to a direction that would lead back to the breeding area or to the normal migratory route, suggesting that the birds began compensating for the displacement by using geomagnetic cues alone or together with solar cues. In contrast to predictions by a simple genetic migration program, our experiments suggest that both adults and juveniles possess a navigation system based on a combination of celestial and geomagnetic information, possibly declination, to correct for eastward longitudinal displacements.},
  author       = {Åkesson, Susanne and Morin, J and Muheim, Rachel and Ottosson, Ulf},
  issn         = {1879-0445},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {17},
  pages        = {1591--1597},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Current Biology},
  title        = {Dramatic orientation shift of white-crowned sparrows displaced across longitudes in the high arctic},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2005.07.027},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2005},
}