Nav: Home

North Atlantic haddock use magnetic compass to guide them

September 17, 2019

MIAMI--A new study found that the larvae of haddock, a commercially important type of cod, have a magnetic compass to find their way at sea. The findings showed that haddock larvae orient toward the northwest using Earth's magnetic field.

A team of scientists led by the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Institute of Marine Research in Norway used a unique combination of experiments conducted in a magnetoreception test facility, or MagLab, and in a Norwegian fjord, a natural environment of Atlantic haddock larvae, to track their movements.

In the experiment, haddock larvae were first observed in a transparent behavioral chamber, known as a Drifting in situ Chamber and developed by UM Professor Claire Paris, to orient while drifting with the current under the environmental conditions that they would encounter at sea. The larvae were also tested in the MagLab, where the magnetic field to which they were exposed was then rotated such that the North-South and East-West were shifted by 90 degrees for each of the larvae.

They found that the larvae oriented to the magnetic northwest in the in situ chamber, and, although deprived of all other environmental cues, oriented towards the exact same magnetic direction in the MagLab.

"These results tell us that Atlantic haddock possess incredible orientation abilities from the earliest phase of their life, and that they have a sensitive magnetic compass," said Alessandro Cresci, a Ph.D. student at the UM Rosenstiel School and first author of the paper. "The dispersal of haddock larvae could be much less passive than we have assumed in the past."

"These microscopic haddock larvae were born in the hatchery and had never experienced life at sea, which suggests that magnetic orientation is in their DNA," said Claire Paris, professor of ocean sciences at the UM Rosenstiel and senior author of the study. "The next step to understand the consequences of their magnetic guidance will be to measure their swimming speed."

This discovery is an important step in better understanding the early-life stages of this commercially valuable fish, said the authors.
-end-
The study, titled "Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) larvae have a magnetic compass that guides their orientation," was published this month in the Cell Press journal iScience. The study's authors include Alessandro Cresci, Claire Paris, Matthew Foretich and C.J.E. O'Brien from the UM Rosenstiel School; and Caroline Durif, Steven Shema, Frode Vikebø, Anne-Berit Skiftesvik, and Howard Browman from the Institute of Marine Research's Austevoll Research Station.

The study was supported by a grant from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Paris.

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

Related Magnetic Field Articles:

Earth's last magnetic field reversal took far longer than once thought
Every several hundred thousand years or so, Earth's magnetic field dramatically shifts and reverses its polarity.
A new rare metals alloy can change shape in the magnetic field
Scientists developed multifunctional metal alloys that emit and absorb heat at the same time and change their size and volume under the influence of a magnetic field.
Physicists studied the influence of magnetic field on thin film structures
A team of scientists from Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University together with their colleagues from Russia, Japan, and Australia studied the influence of inhomogeneity of magnetic field applied during the fabrication process of thin-film structures made from nickel-iron and iridium-manganese alloys, on their properties.
'Magnetic topological insulator' makes its own magnetic field
A team of U.S. and Korean physicists has found the first evidence of a two-dimensional material that can become a magnetic topological insulator even when it is not placed in a magnetic field.
Scientists develop a new way to remotely measure Earth's magnetic field
By zapping a layer of meteor residue in the atmosphere with ground-based lasers, scientists in the US, Canada and Europe get a new view of Earth's magnetic field.
More Magnetic Field News and Magnetic Field Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...