Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field

Keary N, Bischof H-J (2012)
PLoS ONE 7(6).

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Abstract
Many animals are able to perceive the earth magnetic field and to use it for orientation and navigation within the environment. The mechanisms underlying the perception and processing of magnetic field information within the brain have been thoroughly studied, especially in birds, but are still obscure. Three hypotheses are currently discussed, dealing with ferromagnetic particles in the beak of birds, with the same sort of particles within the lagena organs, or describing magnetically influenced radical-pair processes within retinal photopigments. Each hypothesis is related to a well-known sensory organ and claims parallel processing of magnetic field information with somatosensory, vestibular and visual input, respectively. Changes in activation within nuclei of the respective sensory systems have been shown previously. Most of these previous experiments employed intensity enhanced magnetic stimuli or lesions. We here exposed unrestrained zebra finches to either a stationary or a rotating magnetic field of the local intensity and inclination. C-Fos was used as an activity marker to examine whether the two treatments led to differences in fourteen brain areas including nuclei of the somatosensory, vestibular and visual system. An ANOVA revealed an overall effect of treatment, indicating that the magnetic field change was perceived by the birds. While the differences were too small to be significant in most areas, a significant enhancement of activation by the rotating stimulus was found in a hippocampal subdivision. Part of the hyperpallium showed a strong, nearly significant, increase. Our results are compatible with previous studies demonstrating an involvement of at least three different sensory systems in earth magnetic field perception and suggest that these systems, probably less elaborated, may also be found in nonmigrating birds.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Keary N, Bischof H-J. Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field. PLoS ONE. 2012;7(6).
Keary, N., & Bischof, H. - J. (2012). Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field. PLoS ONE, 7(6).
Keary, N., and Bischof, H. - J. (2012). Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field. PLoS ONE 7.
Keary, N., & Bischof, H.-J., 2012. Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field. PLoS ONE, 7(6).
N. Keary and H.-J. Bischof, “Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field”, PLoS ONE, vol. 7, 2012.
Keary, N., Bischof, H.-J.: Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field. PLoS ONE. 7, (2012).
Keary, Nina, and Bischof, Hans-Joachim. “Activation Changes in Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) Brain Areas Evoked by Alterations of the Earth Magnetic Field”. PLoS ONE 7.6 (2012).
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