Finding Their Way: How Migratory Creatures Get Where They’re Going

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations

April 19, 2022, 11AM, Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA (Zoom)

Charles Walcott, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Neurobiology and Behavior; and University Ombudsman, Cornell University. Dr. Walcott has made significant contributions to the understanding of sensory mechanisms such as the navigational ability of birds and other migratory creatures, the peculiar "hearing" of spiders, and the unique vocal communication of Loons. In addition to his broad research interests, he has taught courses in animal behavior, human physiology and evolution. He has also served as University Ombudsman for Cornell University.

In this discussion, Dr. Walcott explains how magnetoreception works and the range of creatures that are endowed with this amazing ability to navigate very long distances. There are numerous theories about this feature and he discusses the unknowns and how scientists unravel the biophysics of magnetoreception. In addition, Dr. Walcott discusses some other interesting sensory mechanisms, such as how spiders "hear" with their legs.