Olfactory-cued navigation in shearwaters: linking movement patterns to mechanisms

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Abolaffio, M., Reynolds, A. M., Cecere, J. G., Paiva, V. H. and Focardi, S. 2018. Olfactory-cued navigation in shearwaters: linking movement patterns to mechanisms. Scientific Reports. 8 (11590). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-29919-0

AuthorsAbolaffio, M., Reynolds, A. M., Cecere, J. G., Paiva, V. H. and Focardi, S.

After foraging in the open ocean pelagic birds can pinpoint their breeding colonies, located on remote islands in visually featureless seascapes. This remarkable ability to navigate over vast distances has been attributed to the birds being able to learn an olfactory map on the basis of wind-borne odors. Odor-cued navigation has been linked mechanistically to displacements with exponentially-truncated
power-law distributions. Such distributions were previously identified in three species of Atlantic and Mediterranean shearwaters but crucially it has not been demonstrated that these distributions are wind-speed dependent, as expected if navigation was olfactory-cued. Here we show that the
distributions are wind-speed dependent, in accordance with theoretical expectations. We thereby link movement patterns to underlying generative mechanisms. Our novel analysis is consistent with the results of more traditional, non-mathematical, invasive methods and thereby provides independent evidence for olfactory-cued navigation in wild birds. Our non-invasive diagnostic tool can be applied
across taxa, potentially allowing for the assessment of its pervasiveness.

KeywordsOlfaction; Navigation
Year of Publication2018
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation8 (11590)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-29919-0
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeMovement and spatial ecology in agricultural landscapes
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Aug 2018
Publication process dates
Accepted09 May 2018
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Copyright licenseCC BY

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