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dc.contributor.authorLandler, Lukasen_US
dc.date.accessioned2016-10-27T06:00:23Z
dc.date.available2016-10-27T06:00:23Z
dc.date.issued2015-05-05en_US
dc.identifier.othervt_gsexam:4672en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/73328
dc.description.abstractThe focus of this research was the spontaneous magnetic alignment responses of animals. We show that snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) and crayfish (Cambarus sciotensis) spontaneously align their body axes relative to the magnetic field. In snapping turtles, this response is sensitive to low-level radio frequency fields, consistent with a mechanism involving a light-dependent radical pair mechanism. Findings from the turtle experiments also suggest that the Earth's magnetic field plays an important role in encoding spatial information in novel surroundings, and may help to organize multiple locales into a 'mental map' of familiar space. Given the importance of magnetic input in many aspects of spatial behavior, another important finding was that magnetic alignment of yearling turtles was disrupted by high levels of maternally transferred mercury, an industrial waste product found at high levels in some fresh water ecosystems. In crayfish, we investigated the effects of ectosymbionts (Annelida: Branchiobdellida) on magnetic alignment responses. Interestingly, the response of crayfish to magnetic cues parallels the complex symbiotic interaction between crayfish and their ectosymbiotic worms, which changes from mutualistic to parasitic with increasing worm density. Our working hypothesis was that these changes in spatial behavior may increase or decrease contact to other crayfish, and therefore increase or decrease transmission rates. Next, to address the ontogeny of the SMA, we attempted to replicate an earlier study showing a possible magnetic alignment response in chicken embryos. Although chicken embryos did show non-random alignment, we were not able to find a magnetic effect. Alignment is also an important feature of animal constructions and is very likely to have fitness consequences, which we explored in woodpecker cavity alignments in a meta-analysis of available global data. The latitudinal and continental pattern in 23 species of woodpeckers suggests that an alignment response can have the proximate function to regulate microclimate in the cavity and therefore, presumably, optimize incubation temperatures and increase hatching success. Overall, the presented findings show how experimental and observational studies of spontaneous alignment behavior can provide insight into the ecology and sensory biology of a wide range of animals.en_US
dc.format.mediumETDen_US
dc.publisherVirginia Techen_US
dc.rightsThis Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. Some uses of this Item may be deemed fair and permitted by law even without permission from the rights holder(s), or the rights holder(s) may have licensed the work for use under certain conditions. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights holder(s).en_US
dc.subjectSnapping turtlesen_US
dc.subjectChelydra serpentinaen_US
dc.subjectCambarus sciotensisen_US
dc.subjectGallus domesticusen_US
dc.subjectchicken embryosen_US
dc.subjectwoodpeckeren_US
dc.subjectspontaneous magnetic alignmenten_US
dc.subjectradio frequencyen_US
dc.subjectradical pair mechanismen_US
dc.subjectmagnetoreceptionen_US
dc.subjectmagnetic orientationen_US
dc.subjectcavity alignmenten_US
dc.titleSpontaneous directional preferences in taxonomically and ecologically distinct organisms: examining cues and underlying mechanismsen_US
dc.typeDissertationen_US
dc.contributor.departmentBiological Sciencesen_US
dc.description.degreePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh. D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.grantorVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineBiological Sciencesen_US
dc.contributor.committeechairPhillips, John B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberOpell, Brent D.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSiegel, Paul B.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHopkins, William A.en_US


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