Experimental analysis of navigation and homing in fluid environments

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dc.contributor.advisor M. Walker en
dc.contributor.author Marcotte, Megan M. en
dc.date.accessioned 2010-02-17T22:32:53Z en
dc.date.available 2010-02-17T22:32:53Z en
dc.date.issued 2010 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/5660 en
dc.description.abstract How animals navigate over long distances is not understood despite decades of study. This thesis used lemon sharks as a new experimental model to study navigation because they home reliably after displacement and their responses to the Earth’s magnetic field could be compared with those of homing pigeons. I hypothesised that if movements by homing pigeons, aligned parallel and perpendicular to the intensity contours of the Earth’s magnetic field, are used in navigation, then other species of navigating animals should perform similar movements. Tracks of lemon sharks revealed movements similar to the magnetic alignments made by pigeons during homing. In sharks, this behaviour continued for much of the homeward journey, whereas in pigeons it occurs almost exclusively in the first few kilometres. The effects of magnets and the magnetic characteristics of release sites were examined with pigeons to explore how homing animals overcome magnetic disturbances while navigating over long distances. The magnets did not appear to affect the pigeons’ bearings and alignments, but the field angle variance and the difference between the aspect and home directions at the release sites were associated with the amount of disorientation displayed by the birds. This study was the first to use a multivariate analysis to examine the behaviour of homing pigeons and successfully distinguished magnetic field characteristics that vary at most release sites and that influence the birds’ behaviour from those that do not. This study identified similar responses to the Earth’s magnetic field in two vertebrate classes. The similarity of the behaviours was impressive considering the large differences between the animals, the speeds at which they move, and the fluid media in which they live. The behavioural similarities also suggest that the use of the magnetic field in long distance navigation may be common in vertebrates. The analysis of the effect of release site characteristics on the behaviour of navigating pigeons demonstrated the importance of a multivariate approach in navigational studies. Future research should expand this study with tracks from both pigeons and sharks, and may lead to a model of how navigating sharks and pigeons will react to magnetic fields upon displacement. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA2002097 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title Experimental analysis of navigation and homing in fluid environments en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.date.updated 2010-02-17T22:32:53Z en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en


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