Magnetic body alignment in migratory songbirds: a computer vision approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Several invertebrate and vertebrate species have been shown to align their body relative to the geomagnetic field. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the adaptive significance of magnetic body alignment outside the context of navigation. However, experimental evidence to investigate alternative hypotheses is still limited. We present a new setup to track the preferential body alignment relative to the geomagnetic field in captive animals using computer vision. We tested our method on three species of migratory songbirds and provide evidence that they align their body with the geomagnetic field. We suggest that this behaviour is involved in the underlying mechanism for compass orientation and calibration, which may occur near to sunrise and sunset periods. Our method could easily be extended to other species and used to test a large set of hypotheses to explain the mechanisms behind the magnetic body alignment and the magnetic sense in general.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Evolutionary Biology

Keywords

  • Behavioural experiments, Geomagnetic field, Magnetic compass, Magnetic sense, Movement patterns
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
Volume222
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 11
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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