Have you spent time pondering how birds, butterflies and salmon know how to get back home after they’ve traveled far far away? Scientists at Oregon State University have, and M. Renee Bellinger completed her Ph.D in fisheries science with a study on how they used the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate. Her paper was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It focuses on nanoscopic magnetic material found within cells in the noses of salmon. They’re called magnetite and it’s something that was created by bacteria more than two billion years ago, and passed on to animals.
There are several articles on Bellinger’s research, including this one from Oregon State.