Orientation in coral-reef fish larvae
Even though it’s been observed that coral-reef fish larvae have remarkably consistent orientation behaviour while swimming offshore, not much is known about the mechanisms underlying this behaviour. In this study, published in Journal of Experimental Biology, Muheim and O’Connor used magnetic field manipulatons to examine the orientation behaviour of coral-reef fish during the pelagic larval phase.
The finding that information from the Earth’s magnetic field plays an important role in orientation of larval fishes has ecological implications for the anthropogenic development of marine areas. Electromagnetic field disturbance has the potential to disrupt the orientation of animals that use a magnetic sense for orientation For individuals that move across large spatial scales, such as coral-reef fish during the pelagic larval phase, changes to the local geomagnetic field could significantly influence spatial patterns of dispersal.