Geomagnetism - 5 of 21

Geomagnetism FAQs - 21 Found

Do animals use the magnetic field for orientation?

A sea turtle.Yes. There is evidence that some animals, probably most notably sea turtles, have the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field (although probably not consciously) and to use this sense along with their several other senses for purposes of navigation. However, the issue of magnetic orientation by animals is really more a matter of biophysics rather than geophysics and we will therefore refer the curious reader to the following authoritative articles:


  • Lohmann, K. J., Hester, J. T., and Lohmann, C. M. F., 1999, Long distance navigation in sea turtles: Ethology Ecology & Evolution, v. 11, pp. 1-23.
  • Skiles, D. D., 1985, The geomagnetic field -- Its nature, history and biological relevance, in Kirschvink, J. L., Jones, D. S., and MacFadden, B. J., eds., Magnetite Biomineralization and Magnetoreception by Living Organisms -- A New Biomagnetism: New York, Plenum Publishing Corporation.
  • Walker, M. M., Dennis, T. E., and Kirschvink, J. L., 2002, The magnetic sense and its use in long-distance navigation by animals: Current Opinion in Neurobiology, v. 12, pp. 735-744.
  • Wiltschko, R., and Wiltschko, W., 1995, Magnetic orientation in animals: Zoophysiology, v. 33.

Tags: Geomagnetism, Magnetic Field, Monitoring, Sun, Core, Declination, Polarity