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A little movement orientated to the geomagnetic field makes a big difference in strong flows
Scott, R.; Marsh, R.; Hays, G.C. (2012). A little movement orientated to the geomagnetic field makes a big difference in strong flows. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(3): 481-488. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1825-1
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Scott, R.
  • Marsh, R.
  • Hays, G.C.

Abstract
    Whilst a range of animals have been shown to respond behaviourally to components of the Earth’s magnetic field, evidence of the value of this sensory perception for small animals advected by strong flows (wind/ocean currents) is equivocal. We added geomagnetic directional swimming behaviour for North Atlantic loggerhead turtle hatchlings (Caretta caretta) into a high-resolution (1/4°) global general circulation ocean model to simulate 2,925-year-long hatchling trajectories comprising 355,875 locations. A little directional swimming (1–3 h per day) had a major impact on trajectories; simulated hatchlings travelled further south into warmer water. As a result, thermal elevation of hatchling metabolic rates was estimated to be between 63.3 and 114.5% after 220 days. We show that even small animals in strong flows can benefit from geomagnetic orientation and thus the potential implications of directional swimming for other taxa may be broad.

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