Magnetite-Based Magnetoreception in Higher Organisms

  • Michael WinklhoferEmail author
Part of the Microbiology Monographs book series (MICROMONO, volume 3)


This chapter gives an introduction to one of the last unresolved issues in sensory biology, the physical and neurophysiological basis of geomagnetic-field sensitivity in higher organisms. Two plausible biophysical hypotheses for the magnetoreception mechanism and experimental evidence to support either or both of them will be discussed. The emphasis is on the magnetite hypothesis, according to which biogenic magnetite forms the core of a magnetic field receptor. The structural candidates for a vertebrate magnetoreceptor that have been identified already under the magnetite hypothesis in homing pigeons and rainbow trout will be described. A final discussion concerns the problem of magnetite biomineralization in vertebrates.


Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Sockeye Salmon Magnetite Particle Homing Pigeon Free Nerve Ending 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental ScienceLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMünchenGermany

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