Multiscale description of avian migration: from chemical compass to behaviour modeling

J. Boiden Pedersen, Claus Nielsen, Ilia A. Solov'yov
Scientific Reports
Despite decades of research the puzzle of the magnetic sense of migratory songbirds has still not beenunveiled. Although the problem really needs a multiscale description, most of the individual research
efforts were focused on single scale investigations. Here we seek to establish a multiscale link between
some of the scales involved, and in particular construct a bridge between electron spin dynamics and
migratory bird behaviour. In order to do that, we first consider a model cyclic reaction scheme that
could form the basis of the avian magnetic compass. This reaction features a fast spin-dependent
process which leads to an unusually precise compass. We then propose how the reaction could be
realized in a realistic molecular environment, and argue that it is consistent with the known facts about
avian magnetoreception. Finally we show how the microscopic dynamics of spins could possibly be
interpreted by a migrating bird and used for the navigational purpose.