Advanced

A behavioral perspective on the biophysics of the light-dependent magnetic compass: a link between directional and spatial perception?

Phillips, John B.; Muheim, Rachel LU and Jorge, Paulo E. (2010) In Journal of Experimental Biology 213(19). p.3247-3255
Abstract
In terrestrial organisms, sensitivity to the Earth's magnetic field is mediated by at least two different magnetoreception mechanisms, one involving biogenic ferromagnetic crystals (magnetite/maghemite) and the second involving a photo-induced biochemical reaction that forms long-lasting, spin-coordinated, radical pair intermediates. In some vertebrate groups (amphibians and birds), both mechanisms are present; a light-dependent mechanism provides a directional sense or 'compass', and a non-light-dependent mechanism underlies a geographical-position sense or 'map'. Evidence that both magnetite-and radical pair-based mechanisms are present in the same organisms raises a number of interesting questions. Why has natural selection produced... (More)
In terrestrial organisms, sensitivity to the Earth's magnetic field is mediated by at least two different magnetoreception mechanisms, one involving biogenic ferromagnetic crystals (magnetite/maghemite) and the second involving a photo-induced biochemical reaction that forms long-lasting, spin-coordinated, radical pair intermediates. In some vertebrate groups (amphibians and birds), both mechanisms are present; a light-dependent mechanism provides a directional sense or 'compass', and a non-light-dependent mechanism underlies a geographical-position sense or 'map'. Evidence that both magnetite-and radical pair-based mechanisms are present in the same organisms raises a number of interesting questions. Why has natural selection produced magnetic sensors utilizing two distinct biophysical mechanisms? And, in particular, why has natural selection produced a compass mechanism based on a light-dependent radical pair mechanism (RPM) when a magnetite-based receptor is well suited to perform this function? Answers to these questions depend, to a large degree, on how the properties of the RPM, viewed from a neuroethological rather than a biophysical perspective, differ from those of a magnetite-based magnetic compass. The RPM is expected to produce a light-dependent, 3-D pattern of response that is axially symmetrical and, in some groups of animals, may be perceived as a pattern of light intensity and/or color superimposed on the visual surroundings. We suggest that the light-dependent magnetic compass may serve not only as a source of directional information but also provide a spherical coordinate system that helps to interface metrics of distance, direction and spatial position. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
place cells, subicular, spatial cognition, magnetic compass, radical pair mechanism
in
Journal of Experimental Biology
volume
213
issue
19
pages
3247 - 3255
publisher
The Company of Biologists Ltd
external identifiers
  • wos:000281746100008
  • scopus:77956858243
ISSN
1477-9145
DOI
10.1242/jeb.020792
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
432652f0-0dbf-4259-9584-cf7ac3b9319f (old id 1697368)
date added to LUP
2010-10-25 10:37:18
date last changed
2018-06-10 03:16:40
@article{432652f0-0dbf-4259-9584-cf7ac3b9319f,
  abstract     = {In terrestrial organisms, sensitivity to the Earth's magnetic field is mediated by at least two different magnetoreception mechanisms, one involving biogenic ferromagnetic crystals (magnetite/maghemite) and the second involving a photo-induced biochemical reaction that forms long-lasting, spin-coordinated, radical pair intermediates. In some vertebrate groups (amphibians and birds), both mechanisms are present; a light-dependent mechanism provides a directional sense or 'compass', and a non-light-dependent mechanism underlies a geographical-position sense or 'map'. Evidence that both magnetite-and radical pair-based mechanisms are present in the same organisms raises a number of interesting questions. Why has natural selection produced magnetic sensors utilizing two distinct biophysical mechanisms? And, in particular, why has natural selection produced a compass mechanism based on a light-dependent radical pair mechanism (RPM) when a magnetite-based receptor is well suited to perform this function? Answers to these questions depend, to a large degree, on how the properties of the RPM, viewed from a neuroethological rather than a biophysical perspective, differ from those of a magnetite-based magnetic compass. The RPM is expected to produce a light-dependent, 3-D pattern of response that is axially symmetrical and, in some groups of animals, may be perceived as a pattern of light intensity and/or color superimposed on the visual surroundings. We suggest that the light-dependent magnetic compass may serve not only as a source of directional information but also provide a spherical coordinate system that helps to interface metrics of distance, direction and spatial position.},
  author       = {Phillips, John B. and Muheim, Rachel and Jorge, Paulo E.},
  issn         = {1477-9145},
  keyword      = {place cells,subicular,spatial cognition,magnetic compass,radical pair mechanism},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {19},
  pages        = {3247--3255},
  publisher    = {The Company of Biologists Ltd},
  series       = {Journal of Experimental Biology},
  title        = {A behavioral perspective on the biophysics of the light-dependent magnetic compass: a link between directional and spatial perception?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.020792},
  volume       = {213},
  year         = {2010},
}