Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Researchers find salmon are born with a sense of direction

See also

Pacific salmon that were raised in hatcheries demonstrate the same sense of direction as salmon born in the ocean and adult salmon according to new research conducted by Nathan Putman and colleagues at Oregon State University published in the Feb. 6, 2014, edition of the journal Current Biology.

Salmon that have never been in the ocean were shown to orient themselves in the direction of the native feeding grounds of ocean born salmon based on the Earth’s magnetic field. The salmon are born with a sense of direction that is based on the angle of inclination and magnetic intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field that allows the fish to orient themselves toward the historic feeding grounds that have been used by salmon for thousands of years.

The researchers also found that salmon are sensitive to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field that are undetectable with a compass and could be interfered with by the type of metal used in fish hatcheries.

Putnam and colleagues have previously shown that sea turtles and sockeye salmon also have a directional sense that is based on the Earth’s magnetic field.

The research can be used to predict the behavior of salmon and other species that migrate using the Earth’s magnetic field because the Earth’s magnetic field changes relatively slightly.

Advertisement

News

  • Baseball Hall of Fame
    The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomes six new inductees
    Video
    Video
  • 2012 do-over
    If we were to re-do the 2012 election, a new poll suggests Romney would win
    Politics
  • Boko Haram
    Boko Haram kidnaps the wife of the vice prime minister of Cameroon
    World News
  • Ceasefire breaks
    Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas broke another brief ceasefire
    Gaza
  • Close call with CME
    Scientists tell how Earth survived a giant solar flare back in 2012
    Space
  • Comic-Con
    What's going on at Comic-Con? Get all the latest updates here
    Comic-Con

Related Videos:

  • Buzz Aldrin and the American flag on the moon
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/O4KxesvbiMU?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • Orbital Sciences rocket brings supplies and experiments to space station
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518318477" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518318477&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Liftoff Apollo 11
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zGNryrsT7OI?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>