Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 147, Issue 4, pp 547–552 | Cite as

The use of celestial and magnetic cues by orienting sockeye salmon smolts

  • Thomas P. Quinn
  • Ernest L. Brannon


  1. 1.

    Yearling sockeye salmon (smolts),Oncorhynchus nerka, trapped at the outlet of Babine Lake, Canada, on their way from the lake downstream to the ocean were tested in round orientation tanks. With a view of the sky, the smolts oriented towards the lake's outlet in the normal magnetic field (Fig. 3) and in a field rotated 90 ° counterclockwise (Fig. 4).

  2. 2.

    Under opaque covers, the smolts displayed a bimodal distribution. In the normal magnetic field, they oriented towards or away from the lake's outlet (Fig. 5). In the altered field, the axis of the distribution was rotated 56 ° away from the axis in the normal field (Fig. 6).



Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Batschelet E (1965) Statistical methods for the analysis of problems in animal orientation and certain biological rhythms. Am Inst Biol Sci, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Batschelet E (1978) Second-order statistical analysis of directions. In: Schmidt-Koenig K, Keeton WT (eds) Animal migration, navigation, and homing. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 3–24Google Scholar
  3. Bingman VP (1981) Savannah sparrows have a magnetic compass. Anim Behav 29:962–963Google Scholar
  4. Bingman VP, Able KP (1979) The sun as a cue in the orientation of the white-throated sparrow, a nocturnal migrant. Anim Behav 27:621–622Google Scholar
  5. Bodznick D (1978a) Water source preference and lakeward migration of sockeye salmon fry (Oncorhynchus nerka). J Comp Physiol 127:139–146Google Scholar
  6. Bodznick D (1978b) Characterization of olfactory bulb units of sockeye salmon with behaviorally relevant stimuli. J Comp Physiol 127:147–155Google Scholar
  7. Brannon EL (1967) Genetic control of migrating behavior of newly emerged sockeye salmon fry. Int Pac Salmon Fish Comm Prog Rep 16:31Google Scholar
  8. Brannon EL (1972) Mechanisms controlling migration of sockeye salmon fry. Int Pac Salmon Fish Comm Bull 21:86Google Scholar
  9. Brannon EL, Quinn TP, Lucchetti GL, Ross BD (1981) Compass orientation of sockeye salmon fry from a complex river system. Can J Zool 59:1548–1553Google Scholar
  10. Dill PA (1971) Perception of polarized light by yearling sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). J Fish Res Board Can 28:1319–1322Google Scholar
  11. Groot C (1965) On the orientation of young salmon (Oncorhynchus nerkd) during their seaward migration out of lakes. Behaviour (Suppl) 14:198Google Scholar
  12. Groot C (1972) Migration of yearling sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerkd) as determined by time-lapse photography of sonar observations. J Fish Res Board Can 29:1431–1444Google Scholar
  13. Groot C, Wiley WL (1965) Time-lapse photography of an ASDIC echosounder P. P. I.-scope as a technique for recording fish movements. J Fish Res Board Can 22:1025–1034Google Scholar
  14. Johnson WE, Groot C (1963) Observations on the migration of young sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerkd) through a large, complex lake system. J Fish Res Board Can 20:919–938Google Scholar
  15. Moore FR (1978) Sunset and the orientation of a nocturnal migrant bird. Nature 274:154–156Google Scholar
  16. Quinn TP (1980) Evidence for celestial and magnetic compass orientation in lake migrating sockeye salmon fry. J Comp Physiol 137:243–248Google Scholar
  17. Quinn TP (1981) Compass orientation of juvenile sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerkd). Ph D dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  18. Quinn TP, Merrill RT, Brannon EL (1981) Magnetic field detection in sockeye salmon. J Exp Zool 137–142Google Scholar
  19. Raleigh RF (1967) Genetic control in the lakeward migrations of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerkd) fry. J Fish Res Board Can 24:2613–2622Google Scholar
  20. Raleigh RF (1971) Innate control of migrations of salmon and trout from natal gravels to rearing areas. Ecology 52:291–297Google Scholar
  21. Royce WF, Smith LS, Hartt AC (1968) Models of oceanic migrations of Pacific salmon and comments on guidance mechanisms. Fish Bull US 66:441–462Google Scholar
  22. Rubens SM (1945) Cube-surface coil for producing a uniform magnetic field. Rev Sci Instrum 16:243–245Google Scholar
  23. Schmidt-Koenig K (1975) Migration and homing in animals. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Simpson KS (1979) Orientation differences between populations of juvenile sockeye salmon. Fish Mar Serv Can Tech Rep 717:114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas P. Quinn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ernest L. Brannon
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Fisheries WH-10University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Fisheries and OceansPacific Biological StationNanaimoCanada

Personalised recommendations