Chemical reaction in birds provides sense of direction during migratory flights

Irvine, Calif., May 12, 2004 Migrating birds stay on track because of chemical reactions in their bodies that are influenced by the Earths magnetic field, a UC Irvine-led team of researchers has found.

The birds are sensitive even to rapidly fluctuating artificial magnetic fields. These fields had no effect on magnetic materials such as magnetite, indicating that the birds do not rely on simple chunks of magnetic material in their beaks or brains to determine direction, as experts had previously suggested.

The results are reported in the May 13 issue of Nature. The study is the first to reveal the mechanism underlying magnetoreception the ability to detect fluctuations in magnetic fields in migratory birds.

In the study, Thorsten Ritz, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, and colleagues exposed 12 European robins to artificial, oscillating magnetic fields and monitored the orientation chosen by these birds. The stimuli were specially designed to allow for responses that could differ depending on whether birds used small magnetic particles on their bodies or a magnetically sensitive photochemical reaction to detect the magnetic field.

We found that the birds faced in the usual direction for their migration when the artificial field was parallel to the Earths natural magnetic field, but were confused when the artificial field was applied in a different direction, said Ritz, the lead author of the paper. Since the artificial fields oscillations were too rapid to influence magnetic materials like magnetite, it suggests that the most likely mechanism for magnetic orientation in these birds involves tiny changes to magnetically sensitive chemical reactions, possibly occurring in the eyes of the birds we are not sure.

In the experiments, the robins could walk and flutter in their cages but could not fly. The birds oriented well in the Earths magnetic field alone, but were disoriented in the presence of a broad-band (

Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Irvine

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Chemical engineering grad students will take notable national awards
2. Chemical derived from vitamin-E shows early promise as cancer drug
3. Chemical genetics identifies SARS inhibitors
4. Chemical signals health of brain cells Symposium
5. Highlights of American Chemical Society national meeting in Philadelphia, Aug. 22-26
6. Chemical engineers discover filtration system to help biotech industry
7. NIH roadmap for biomedical research focus of chemists at American Chemical Society meeting
8. American Chemical Society media registration
9. Chemical Society announces EPA awards for environmentally friendly technology
10. NIH launches first center in Nationwide Chemical Genomics Network
11. Annual Chemical Biology Symposium at Yale May 14, 2004

Post Your Comments:

(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... -- Janice Kephart , former 9/11 Commission ... LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following statement: ... 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the Nation ... instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation of ... are suspended by until at least July 2017). ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ... of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April ... ... in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at ... at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to analyze and interpret ... Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the discovery of the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back ... 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former ... CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and ... lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities ... Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, ... ... development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed ... targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration with ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: