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Orientation in bats: from migration to spatial memory


Bats are able to orient and navigate in their environment by a number of means. On a small scale they are able to use echolocation to detect objects and prey, which frees them from the need for vision. Despite this visual cues remain important to bats and are even known to be prefered if available. On a larger scale, in bat species that migrate, little is known about the mechanisms by which they navigate, especially when compared to the wealth of knowledge on bird migration. All that is known is that vision is essential for long distance journeys by bats. This project will investigate the mechanisms by which bats orient and navigate at 2 distinct scales. At the small scale it will investigate the way vision and echolocation interact to form spatial memories that these animals can use to orient in their familar home range. At the large scale it will investigate the mechanisms by which migratory bats navigate, with particular reference to the role of magnetic compass cues. By this it will be possible to constru ct a picture of all the sensory cues that bats use to orient and navigate in their environment.

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Woodhouse Lane
United Kingdom

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