A search for magnetosensitive neurons

Many species across the animal kingdom are said to use the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation and navigation. However, the mechanisms by which information about magnetic fields enters the nervous system remain unknown. Only few reports exist of neural activity related to magnetoreception, and they have been difficult to replicate.

To search for neural circuits involved in magnetosensation, we aim to collect recordings of neural activity from as many brain areas and as many species as possible, while the animal is exposed to changing magnetic fields. In this way, we hope to discover neural circuits that respond to magnetic fields, and eventually trace the signal back to the magnetoreceptors.

We need your help! If, in the course of your work, you record neural activity—any brain area, any species, any recording modality—you can join our search. All you need to do is devote a few minutes after the end of your regular experimental session: Continue recording from those same neurons while presenting magnetic stimuli using a device we will send you. Then you send us the results, and we analyze the data, or you can do so yourself. With luck, the collective efforts of the search participants will yield evidence for neuronal traces of magnetoreception, and we can collectively publish an exciting paper. And if not, we will publish our negative results together.

If you are interested, check out the Project Website, read our Collaboration plan, then fill out the Participation form.

Project Author(s)

Markus Meister; Daniel Wagenaar

This post was automatically generated by Markus Meister

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