Sharks have been hypothesized for years to navigate in water with magnetic fields, but a recent study has shown that electromagnetic fields have connected with these marine animals.
In the latest issue of the journal Current Biology published on May 6, the study reveals that sharks can read the Earth’s field like a map and use it to navigate through their long sea journeys.
Dr. Bryan Keller, a lead project officer at Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory and Project Manager for Save Our Seas Foundation, told Forbes that sharks are trained to react to unique geomagnetic signatures, thus detecting and reacting to variations in magnetic fields.
Despite the speculation that hedges, such as other birds, sea turtles, long-distance swimming lobsters exhibit a mysterious magnetic sense, an act known as’ site fidelity ‘led researchers to ask questions. In 2005, scientists saw a white shark swimming from South Africa to Australia in a straight line, making it suspected of detecting magnetic fields. However, it was harder than expected to prove this.
Keller and his colleagues conducted investigations to find the missing evidence of the long speculated theory. Speaking with SciTechDaily, Keller said the study supported the theory that sharks used “the magnetic field of the earth to help them find their way, the GPS of their nature.”
The Sharks Methodology
They conducted magnetic displacement experiments in which they tested 20 juvenile hat-head-sharks by exposing them from hundreds of kilometres from different magnetic fields, representing the natural field of the Earth where it was taken, while some represented a field of 600 km north and 600 kilometres south of their homes.
It is known that Bonnetheads (Sphyrna tiburo) “return to the same estuary every year,” so that they know where ‘home’ is and they return from long distances to it.
It was found that sharks changed while moving in a random direction when they were submitted to the same magnetic field as from homes, when they swam north to return home.
Keller told Forbes that the study focused on caps and would also conduct the experiment on other hedgehog species.