person holding compass

Path integration

Adelaide Sibeaux 1 , Cait Newport1, Jonathan P. Green1, Cecilia Karlsson 2, Jacob Engelmann 3 & Theresa Burt de Perera1 have recently published a paper showing that fishes as well as other animals use path integration to find their way home.  

I believe this is very important and probably the main way we navigate. Path integration maybe the way Salmon find the way home to their home rivers.

Richard Nissen 


This is their introduction:

“Path integration is a powerful navigational mechanism whereby individuals continuously update their distance and angular vector of movement to calculate their position in relation to their departure location, allowing them to return along the most direct route even across unfamiliar terrain. While path integration has been investigated in several terrestrial animals, it has never been demonstrated in aquatic vertebrates, where movement occurs through volumetric space and sensory cues available for navigation are likely to differ substantially from those in terrestrial environments. By performing displacement experiments with Lamprologus ocellatus, we show evidence consistent with fish using path integration to navigate alongside other mechanisms (allothetic place cues and route recapitulation). These results indicate that the use of path integration is likely to be deeply rooted within the vertebrate phylogeny irrespective of the environment, and suggests that fish may possess a spatial encoding system that parallels that of mammals.

Path integration, sometimes called vector-based navigation, is a computa- tional strategy whereby individuals continuously monitor their outbound distance and direction travel vectors, and integrate this information to produce a single “home” vector that takes them directly back to their point of origin1. Path integration allows animals to take the most direct route when homing, making it an energy-efficient method of navigating through any environment, whether novel or familiar”.

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