Salmon Somehow Know The Way Home

In the dog days of stay-at-home orders, I was watching Jaws and I found myself rewinding the scene when Martin Brody, Matt Hooper and Capt. Quint, who spent the last hour or so of the film basically hating on each other, had this one special moment together. At least until that damn fish ruined the mood.

“Show me the way to go home.”

So I found this story today in the Sacramento Bee so fascinating. The Bee’s Ryan Sabalow wrote about studies suggested how salmon have figured out where to go to reach their final spawning spots. Here’s more:

The researchers divided the small salmon they wanted to study into groups. 

The control group wasn’t subjected to any pulse; the second was subjected to a typical magnetic field; and the third group was pulsed with a magnetic field whose properties had been tweaked, which the researchers suspected would alter their swimming course.

When placed in the water, the control group and the one pulsed with the regular field oriented in the tank almost identically. But the fish hit with the altered magnetic pulse swam on the same path, while the control group fish zipped around the tank seemingly at random. 

While more study needs to be done to confirm the findings, the research appears to prove the theory that the “magnetoreceptors” in salmon play a critical role in their migration. 

The rest of the story is really good read.