Migration Literature Review

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Magnetic Navigation

Papers: Alerstam 2003, Boles & Lohmann 2003, Gould 2008, Johnsen & Lohmann 2005, Klimley et al. 2005, Lohmann et al. 2008, Meyer et al. 2005, Phillips et al. 2002, Wiltschko & Wiltschko 2005

Johnsen & Lohmann (2005) provide a good summary of magnetic field perception abilities in animals: there are 3 hypotheses for how magnetoreception works in animals, electromagnetic induction, magnetic field-dependent chemical reactions and biogenic magnetite, for none of which direct evidence exists. The earth's magnetic field can provide 2 types of information: compass information, which allows an animal to maintain a particular heading (i.e. head north) and geographical position, which allows an animal to navigate complex routes or find home and could be based on inclination angle or field intensity or the animal learning the 'magnetic map' (local anomalies) in their location. Electromagnetic induction is believed to be used by elasmobranch fish by means of detecting the Lorentz force of a charged particle moving though a magnetic field where the electric circuit is formed by the seawater as the conducting medium. The induction mechanism can detect polarity, but is probably not sensitive enough to be used as a magnetic map. The chemical magnetoreception mechanism relies on an electron transfer in a radical pair induced by light absorption. It is believed to be used by birds, newts, and flies, in which changes in magnetic orientation have been observed in response to specific in wavelengths of light. The chemical mechanism cannot detect polarity (merely the poleward direction rather than north or south) and cannot detect very small changes in field intensity necessary for a magnetic map. The biogenic magnetite mechanism comes in 2 types: single-domain magnetite, which are permanently magnetized crystals and will rotate into alignment with the earth's magnetic field, and superparamagnetic magnetite, which are smaller crystals and not permanently magnetized so they won't rotate, but the crystal's magnetic axis tracks the ambient field's axis. There is evidence of single-domain magnetite in fish noses, superparamagnetic magnetite in the upper beak of pigeons and other birds, and magnetite receptions in other animals such as turtles and mole rats. Single-domain magnetite mechanisms could detect polarity, though superparamagnetic magnetite mechanisms could not, though both could detect small changes in intensity to function as a magnetic map sense. Wiltschko & Wiltschko (2005) cover the 3 hypothesized magnetoreception mechanisms as well and also discuss field inclination and/or intensity being used as a 'signpost' in navigation with examples of birds and turtles. Gould (2008) turns to the evolution of magnetic sense stating with certain micro-aerobic bacteria containing chains of magnetite which serve to align them which the earth's magnetic field (and thus swim down away from the oxygen-laden surface). He considers the diversity of map and compass systems, and suggests that the chemical mechanism has evolved at least twice as a (partial) replacement for a magnetite mechanism based on the discovery of a vestigial fixed-direction compass in robins.

Additionally, several papers discuss evidence of magnetic navigational capabilities. Boles & Lohmann (2003) show that spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) move in a homeward direction after being displaced, deprived of visual and magnetic cues during displacement, and having their eyes covered. When tested with magnetic fields replicating the locations ~400 km N and S of the testing site, the lobsters moved in the direction home would have been, had they been at these locations, showing a magnetic map sense. Alerstam (2003) places the work of Boles & Lohmann (2003) is a larger context with the history of considering animals using the earth's magnetic field for navigation on open future questions. Similarly, Phillips et al. (2002) showed evidence of a magnetic map sense in newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) sensitive to small differences in the magnetic field; displaced newts navigated towards home when subjected to a magnetic inclination simulating -0.5° from home, and did not display a significant directional orientation when the magnetic field simulated that of their home pond. Klimley et al. (2005) used telemetry to track bat rays (Myliobatis californica) to show the bat rays moved in a straight-line highly directional manner indicative of a compass or piloting sense. Meyer et al. (2005) showed sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus and Sphyrna lewini) could detect an earth-strength magnetic field using conditioning for a food reward.

Further investigation:

  • Kalmijn, A. J. 1982 Electric and magnetic field detection in elasmobranch fishes. Science 218, 916–918.
  • Walker, M. M. et al. Structure and function of the vertebrate magnetic sense. Nature 390, 371–376 (1997).
  • Diebel, C. E. et al. Magnetite defines a vertebrate magnetoreceptor. Nature 406, 299–302 (2000).
  • Quinn, T. P. et al. Magnetic field detection in sockeye salmon. J. Exp. Zool. 217, 137–142 (1981).
  • Mann S, Sparks NHC, Walker MM, Kirschvink JL (1988) Ultra-structure, morphology and organization of biogenic magnetite from Sockeyes salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka: implications for magnetoreception. J Exp Biol 140:35–49
  • Quinn TP (1980) Evidence for celestial and magnetic compass orientation in lake migrating sockeye salmon fry. J Comp Physiol 137:243–248291:433–434
  • Quinn TP, Brannon EL (1982) The use of celestial and magnetic cues by orienting sockeye salmon smolts. J Comp Physiol 147:547–552

Navigation / Foraging Behavior

Papers: Humston et al. 2004, Lohmann et al. 2008, Naug & Arathi 2006, Odling-Smee & Braithwaite 2003, Warburton 2003

Odling-Smee & Braithwaite (2003) discuss how learning affects fish orientation. Possible orientation mechanisms include landmarks (most evidence comes from lab studies which doesn't necessarily translate to the wild), compass orientation (including a sun-compass or a magnetic compass, but probably not polarized light), water movements (probably more applicable to fish that live near stationary objects or in rivers), inertial guidance & internal clocks (i.e. paying attention to their own movements & use their internal circadian clock to be at particular locations at particular times of day), and social cues (following other fish). One interesting point is the importance of the fish's ecological environment in what is learned (i.e. landmark use of shallow vs. open-water dwelling fish). The paper includes a section on salmon, mostly focused on homing to find their natal river, but briefly mentioning ocean migration mechanisms of pheromone tracking and celestial and magnetic compasses. Lohmann et al. (2008) address long-distance ocean migration (not confining themselves to fish) with respect the the navigational clues available, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages to various methods of studying ocean migration (lab experiments, ocean experiments, and telemetry data). Salmon are known to possess magnetic compasses and perhaps also magnetic maps. Magnetic anomalies might actually be used as landmarks, rather than being problematic for magnetic navigation (evidence from sharks and whales). Salmon can use chemical/olfactory clues to find their natal river, including from estuary or coastal environments where the salmon can sample the differences between water is stratified in vertical layers; however, ocean navigation most likely involves non-olfactory mechanisms. Other cues involve hydrodynamics such as wave direction and current. Hatchling sea turtles use wave direction to orient offshore and salmon might use waves similarly, though there is currently no evidence of this, and could possibly also use wave direction in the open ocean due to seasonally consistent winds. Currents are used by many animals in shallow water, but probably aren't useful for open ocean navigation. Salmon might also be able to use skylight polarization patterns or a sun compass. Finally, there are interesting similarities between sea turtle and salmon navigation (open ocean followed by natal homing at 2 different spatial scales with probably 2 different mechanisms), where open ocean navigation is better understood in sea turtles and natal homing better understood in salmon.

[also cognition] Warburton (2003) discusses learning from a foraging rather than orientation perspective, looking at factors that affect learning and thus foraging success. Memory windows seemed to vary based on the predictability of food availability with "significant interspecific and interpopulation differences correlated with ecology." Performance can increase due to motivation or learning, example of coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) increasing prey capture ability with experience.

Humston et al. (2004) created a spatiotemporally dynamic population model including heterogeneity of biotic and abiotic conditions. They investigate 3 movement behaviors: random-walk, kinesis, and restricted-are search (gradient response). They found restricted-area search very sensitive to initial conditions with grater variability among cohorts as fish tended to get stuck in local maxima and not move much (the model did not include prey depletion or density-dependence), and they recommend minimalistic movement models where there is no empirical evidence for complex behaviors at the appropriate spatiotemporal scale of the model. In a different vein, Naug & Arathi (2006) investigate decision rules used by honey bees (Apis cerana) to optimally forage in patches with multiple dynamic options.

Further investigation:

  • DITTMAN AH, Homing in Pacific salmon: Mechanisms and ecological basis, JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY 199 : 83 1996

Magnetic compass:

  • Quinn, T. P. (1980). Evidence for celestial and magnetic compass orientation in lake migrating sockeye salmon fry. J. Comp. Physiol. 137, 243-248.
  • Quinn, T. P., Merrill, R. T. and Brannon, E. L. (1981). Magnetic field detection in sockeye salmon. J. Exp. Zool. 217, 137-142.

Magnetic maps:

  • Quinn, T. P. (1984). Homing and straying in Pacific salmon. In Mechanisms of Migration in Fish (ed. J. D. McCleave, G. P. Arnold, J. J. Dodson and W. H. Neil), pp. 357-362. New York: Plenum.
  • Walker, M. M., Diebel, C. E., Haugh, C. V., Pankhurst, P. M., Montgomery, J. C. and Green, C. R. (1997). Structure and function of the vertebrate magnetic sense. Nature 390, 371-376.

No magnetic map:

  • Yano, A., Ogura, M., Sato, A., Sakaki, Y., Shimizu, Y., Baba, N. and Nagasawa, K. (1997). Effect of modified magnetic field on the ocean migration of maturing chum salmon, Oncorhynchus keta. Mar. Biol. 129, 523-530.
  • Døving, K. B. and Stabell, O. B. (2003). Trails in open waters: sensory cues in salmon migration. In Sensory Processing in Aquatic Environments (ed. S. P. Collin and N. J. Marshall), pp. 39-52. New York: Springer Verlag.
  • Walker, M. M., Diebel, C. E. and Kirschvink, J. L. (2003). Detection and use of the earth’s magnetic field by aquatic invertebrates. In Sensory Processing in Aquatic Environments (ed. S. P. Collin and N. J. Marshall), pp. 53-74. New York: Springer.

Ocean navigation:

  • Dittman, A. H. and Quinn, T. P. (1996). Homing in Pacific salmon: mechanisms and ecological basis. J. Exp. Biol. 199, 83-91.
  • Quinn, T. P. (1990). Current controversies in the study of salmon homing. Ethol. Ecol. Evol. 2, 49-63.
  • Quinn, T. P. (2005). The Behavior and Ecology of Pacific Salmon and Trout. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Hasler, A. D. (1971). Orientation and fish migration. In Fish Physiology (ed. W. S. Hoar and D. J. Randall), pp. 429-510. New York: Academic.
  • Hinch, S. G., Cooke, S. J., Healey, M. C. and Farrell, A. P. (2006). Behavioral physiology of fish migrations: salmon as a model approach. In Fish Physiology. Vol. 24 (ed. A. P. Farrell and C. J. Brauner), pp. 239-295. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Wave direction:

  • Cook, P. H. (1984). Directional information from surface swell: some possibilities. In Mechanisms of Migration in Fishes (ed. J. D. McLeave, G. P. Arnold, J. J. Dodson and W. H. Neill), pp. 79-101. New York: Plenum Press.

Sun/polarization compass:

  • Quinn, T. P. (1982). A model for salmon navigation on the high seas. In Salmon and Trout Migratory Behavior Symposium (ed. E. L. Brannon and E. O. Salo), pp. 229-337. Seattle: School of Fisheries, University of Washington.
  • see also Quinn 1980 above

Migration Models

Papers: Booker et al. 2008 and more

Ocean conditions

Papers: Carmack 2007, McGowan 1998, Wells 2008, and more

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