• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe two research studies into animal navigation.

Extracts from this document...


a) Describe two research studies into animal navigation. Keeton conducted a study regarding the ability of pigeon's to navigate. It was suggested that pigeons are able to detect the earth's magnetic field, and therefore navigate with this aid. An experiment carried out to explore this possibility. Small magnets were attached to the heads of pigeons which were then released in unfamiliar surroundings. The magnets were designed to disrupt any detection of the earth's magnetic field. The pigeon's ability to find it's way back to it's home loft was then observed. It was found that the pigeons had difficulty returning home on overcast days, but had very little difficultly doing so on clear, sunny days. This suggested that there are two main compass systems that pigeons utilise; the sun, and the earths magnetic field. On sunny days pigeons were able to find there way home using the sun as a compass, whereas on overcast days where they would normally use to earths magnetic field, they were unable to do so and hence had difficulty. ...read more.


Their path's were at a 90 degree angle from the path's of the normal butterflies. This suggested that the butterflies headed in a certain direction according to where they believe the sun should be for the time of day they believed it to be. It was also found that the butterflies did not respond to changes in magnetic fields suggesting that their primary compass system is based on the sun. b) Assess what these studies can tell us about homing and/or migration. Both studies suggest that animals do not necessarily use just one method to navigate. Keeton's studies shows pigeon's to use both magnetic field and the sun depending on the weather condition. This demonstrates that animals are able to adapt their navigational strategy accordingly as it is essential for survival. However, in Mouritsen and Frost's experiment, it was suggested that butterflies only utilise one strategy of navigation; the sun. ...read more.


In this case the mature pigeons were more experience at navigating, also suggesting that it doesn't appear to be totally innate. In Mouristen and Frost's study the maturity of the butterflies appeared to be irrelevant to the direction in which the butterflies headed, showing that some animals may be unable to learn new strategies, or that it just isn't necessary. It is difficult to say whether it is in fact the maturity of the pigeons that lead to better navigational skills, or whether it is the amount of experience the pigeon possess. However, these two factors would overlap in a natural environment. Keeton's experiment offers more ecologically valid results than Mouristen and Frost's study as the pigeons were observed in natural situations, whereas the flights of the butterflies were simulated. This suggests that results may differ for butterflies in real life. Both studies suggest that animals have certain techniques to navigate, but it's difficult to say how exactly these techniques are used. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Fields & Forces section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Fields & Forces essays

  1. Rules, Regulations and Scoring Systems of boxing.

    defined at each end of the field: Two lines are drawn at right angles to the goal line, 16.5 m from the inside of each goalpost. These lines extend into the field of play for a distance of 16.5 m and are joined by a line drawn parallel with the goal line.

  2. Aurora- Light of Mystery.

    During magnetic storm, the magnetopause is pushed further towards the earth and this will make the particles from the wind to rush towards the earth's night side in a backlash. This increase in particles inflow into the magnetosphere will increase the aurora activity.

  1. A Personal Experience.

    Suddenly, without any warning, he pulled back, taking the lead rope from my hands, swung his back end round and kicked me with is back leg, catching the edge of my nose. I heard a numbing crack before a bright light took over; I remember a tremendous shock - no pain.

  2. Hockey Skills

    It is important to know that the head of a hockey stick has a rounded side the right side and a flat side the left side. It is only with the flat, left hand side of the stick that you are permitted to play the ball.

  1. Maths Coursework – Artic Research

    The vector diagram coming back will look exactly the same for this degree, so the total time is 2T = 2 ? 0.258 = 0.516 = 31 minutes 36 seconds. The vector diagram for the observation site south (180?) will mirror the one going north.

  2. The history of Magnets and electromagnets.

    deposits of magnetic ore (magnetite) have been discovered at various places one of these being Labrador. Pieces of this material are called natural magnets because they exhibit the properties of magnetism without any special treatment. The earth is considered to be a huge natural magnet because it possesses the same properties as smaller magnets.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work