Advanced

Magnetic storms disrupt nocturnal migratory activity in songbirds

Bianco, Giuseppe LU ; Ilieva, Mihaela LU and Åkesson, Susanne LU (2019) In Biology letters 15(3).
Abstract

Birds possess a magnetic sense and rely on the Earth's magnetic field for orientation during migration. However, the geomagnetic field can be altered by solar activity at relative unpredictable intervals. How birds cope with the temporal geomagnetic variations caused by solar storms during migration is still unclear. We addressed this question by reproducing the effect of a solar storm on the geomagnetic field and monitoring the activity of three songbird species during autumn migration. We found that only the European robin reduced nocturnal migratory restlessness in response to simulated solar storms. At the same time, robins increased activity during early morning. We suggest that robins reduced activity at night when the perception... (More)

Birds possess a magnetic sense and rely on the Earth's magnetic field for orientation during migration. However, the geomagnetic field can be altered by solar activity at relative unpredictable intervals. How birds cope with the temporal geomagnetic variations caused by solar storms during migration is still unclear. We addressed this question by reproducing the effect of a solar storm on the geomagnetic field and monitoring the activity of three songbird species during autumn migration. We found that only the European robin reduced nocturnal migratory restlessness in response to simulated solar storms. At the same time, robins increased activity during early morning. We suggest that robins reduced activity at night when the perception of magnetic information would be strongly disrupted by temporal variations of the magnetic field, to extend their migration during daytime when several visual cues become available for orientation. The other two species, chiffchaff and dunnock, showing low or no nocturnal migratory activity, did not respond to the solar storm by changing activity.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
animal navigation, bird migration, compass orientation, geomagnetic field, magnetic compass, migratory restlessness
in
Biology letters
volume
15
issue
3
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • pmid:30862307
  • scopus:85062888659
ISSN
1744-9561
DOI
10.1098/rsbl.2018.0918
project
Centre for Animal Movement Research
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
39eac9d8-6974-4ddc-a799-89829083120f
date added to LUP
2019-03-21 09:01:39
date last changed
2020-10-20 01:52:59
@article{39eac9d8-6974-4ddc-a799-89829083120f,
  abstract     = {<p>Birds possess a magnetic sense and rely on the Earth's magnetic field for orientation during migration. However, the geomagnetic field can be altered by solar activity at relative unpredictable intervals. How birds cope with the temporal geomagnetic variations caused by solar storms during migration is still unclear. We addressed this question by reproducing the effect of a solar storm on the geomagnetic field and monitoring the activity of three songbird species during autumn migration. We found that only the European robin reduced nocturnal migratory restlessness in response to simulated solar storms. At the same time, robins increased activity during early morning. We suggest that robins reduced activity at night when the perception of magnetic information would be strongly disrupted by temporal variations of the magnetic field, to extend their migration during daytime when several visual cues become available for orientation. The other two species, chiffchaff and dunnock, showing low or no nocturnal migratory activity, did not respond to the solar storm by changing activity.</p>},
  author       = {Bianco, Giuseppe and Ilieva, Mihaela and Åkesson, Susanne},
  issn         = {1744-9561},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {03},
  number       = {3},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Biology letters},
  title        = {Magnetic storms disrupt nocturnal migratory activity in songbirds},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0918},
  doi          = {10.1098/rsbl.2018.0918},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2019},
}