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 been unveiled. 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.