Press Release

New research group on magnetoreception in animals

19 Nov 2019 at 18:21

November 19. 2019. At the turn of the year, a new research group at caesar will commence its work: "Neurobiology of the Magnetic Sense" by Dr. Pascal Malkemper. His studies focus on a a sense that may seem almost like magic to most people: the sense of magnetoreception. In his work, the scientist searches for an yet undiscovered organ that enables certain mammals to perceive the earth's magnetic field.

To address this question, he is using a particularly exotic animal, Ansell's mole rat (Fukomys anselli) at caesar. This eusocial mammal (i.e. it lives like bees in a colony, organised on the basis of the division of labour) can only be found in the Lusaka region of Zambia. Only in 1999, it was scientifically described - on a golf course. The mole rats inhabit extensive underground labyrinths that can extend for miles. In this habitat, the animals find their way in complete darkness. How such a feat is possible - and which senses of the animal are involved - will be the core of Dr. Malkemper's work.

About research center caesar

caesar is a neuroethology institute located in Bonn that studies how the collective activity of the vast numbers of interconnected neurons in the brain gives rise to the plethora of animal behaviors. Our research spans a large range of scales from the nano-scale imaging of brain circuitry, to large-scale functional imaging of brain circuitry during behavior, to the quantification of natural animal behaviors.

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