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How animals follow the stars

Foster, James J. LU ; Smolka, Jochen LU ; Nilsson, Dan Eric LU and Dacke, Marie LU (2018) In Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285(1871).
Abstract

Throughout history, the stars have provided humans with ever more information about our world, enabling increasingly accurate systems of navigation in addition to fuelling some of the greatest scientific controversies. What information animals have evolved to extract from a starry sky and how they do so, is a topic of study that combines the practical and theoretical challenges faced by both astronomers and field biologists. While a number of animal species have been demonstrated to use the stars as a source of directional information, the strategies that these animals use to convert this complex and variable pattern of dim-light points into a reliable ‘stellar orientation’ cue have been more difficult to ascertain. In this review, we... (More)

Throughout history, the stars have provided humans with ever more information about our world, enabling increasingly accurate systems of navigation in addition to fuelling some of the greatest scientific controversies. What information animals have evolved to extract from a starry sky and how they do so, is a topic of study that combines the practical and theoretical challenges faced by both astronomers and field biologists. While a number of animal species have been demonstrated to use the stars as a source of directional information, the strategies that these animals use to convert this complex and variable pattern of dim-light points into a reliable ‘stellar orientation’ cue have been more difficult to ascertain. In this review, we assess the stars as a visual stimulus that conveys directional information, and compare the bodies of evidence available for the different stellar orientation strategies proposed to date. In this context, we also introduce new technologies that may aid in the study of stellar orientation, and suggest how field experiments may be used to characterize the mechanisms underlying stellar orientation.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Migration, Navigation, Orientation, Stars, Vision
in
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
volume
285
issue
1871
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:85041523160
ISSN
0962-8452
DOI
10.1098/rspb.2017.2322
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
764b15fa-1b5f-4848-bd09-181badd79f49
date added to LUP
2018-02-21 12:38:34
date last changed
2018-11-21 21:38:11
@article{764b15fa-1b5f-4848-bd09-181badd79f49,
  abstract     = {<p>Throughout history, the stars have provided humans with ever more information about our world, enabling increasingly accurate systems of navigation in addition to fuelling some of the greatest scientific controversies. What information animals have evolved to extract from a starry sky and how they do so, is a topic of study that combines the practical and theoretical challenges faced by both astronomers and field biologists. While a number of animal species have been demonstrated to use the stars as a source of directional information, the strategies that these animals use to convert this complex and variable pattern of dim-light points into a reliable ‘stellar orientation’ cue have been more difficult to ascertain. In this review, we assess the stars as a visual stimulus that conveys directional information, and compare the bodies of evidence available for the different stellar orientation strategies proposed to date. In this context, we also introduce new technologies that may aid in the study of stellar orientation, and suggest how field experiments may be used to characterize the mechanisms underlying stellar orientation.</p>},
  articleno    = {20172322},
  author       = {Foster, James J. and Smolka, Jochen and Nilsson, Dan Eric and Dacke, Marie},
  issn         = {0962-8452},
  keyword      = {Migration,Navigation,Orientation,Stars,Vision},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1871},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences},
  title        = {How animals follow the stars},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.2322},
  volume       = {285},
  year         = {2018},
}