Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Plant Sciences, Zoology & Evolution => Topic started by: FredL on 11/05/2009 03:03:53

Title: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: FredL on 11/05/2009 03:03:53
See turtles (logger head) return to the same beach they were born on to lay their eggs.  Apparently they refuse to lay eggs on any other beach.  They use the earth's magnetic field for navigation. 

How do such species survive a reversal of the earth's magnetic field?
Title: Re: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: Karen W. on 11/05/2009 06:01:58

Welcome to the forum FredL!

I don't really know the answer to your question, but it is a sad thought that they may not suvive in those circumstances!

I wonder if they can be slowly coaxed to change their directions and breed on another island?
Title: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: Don_1 on 12/05/2009 10:13:23
It is true that sea turtles do return to the beach where they were hatched to lay their eggs, just as salmon return to the river in which they were spawned, to mate. But the Loggerhead is unique in that tagged individuals have been known to lay eggs on different beaches.

It has been suggested that we are heading toward a polar flip in 2012: Doomed, we're all doomed it tell you! Run for the hills (https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fbestsmileys.com%2Fparanoid%2F2.gif&hash=b6c89a93fcdc26f07540419a36cc278d)
Title: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: Bored chemist on 12/05/2009 20:59:25
Is the answer to the thread title "the same as they did last time"?
Title: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: chris on 13/05/2009 00:00:45
Very good BC!

The answer is that animals must be able to combat the effect of magnetic polar reversal since this occurs, on average, every 200,000 years or thereabouts. Since many species are millions of years old, this suggests that there have been several pole-flips over this time, arguing that they are capable of adapting.

The most likely answer is that since the flip is actually a more gradual reversal - over several thousand years rather than an abrupt phenomenon - there is sufficient time for magnetically-sensitive animals to respond and adapt their behaviour. It's also the case that the internal compasses in species like this are not fixed but can be recalibrated, usually with reference to the Sun's setting position, which is always west. This means that regardless of the position of magnetic north the animal always knows a fixed bearing.

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/news/news/1322/

Chris
Title: Re: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: syhprum on 14/12/2018 09:52:10
With a black body temperature of well below freezing is the Earth in the Goldilocks zone ?
Title: Re: How do magnetically-sensitive animals react to a reversal in Earth's field?
Post by: chris on 14/12/2018 17:17:25
Relevant to the title of this thread - we recently made a programme about animals and geomagnetism:

https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/interviews/can-birds-see-earths-magnetic-field