“A difference between the terrestrial and open-ocean environment lies in the degree to which animals can control their paths. Caribou migrating across tundra, or insects crawling across the ground, can be reasonably assured of moving in the same direction in which they walk. Even birds, which can be blown off course by winds while migrating, can often mitigate drift by maintaining visual contact with the ground and by landing when conditions are adverse (Richardson, 1991; Erni et al., 2002). Circumstances differ for pelagic migrants. In the open sea, the movements of animals are continuously susceptible to the influence of currents; animals also lack stationary visual references against which drift can be gauged and cannot opt out by grounding themselves. This difference in the ability of terrestrial and pelagic animals to control their paths has significant implications for navigation. On land, some navigational strategies depend on an expectation that the direction and distance traveled approximately reflect the direction and duration of an animal’s attempted movements; examples include the path integration of desert ants (Wehner et al., 1996) and the clock-and-compass orientation that guides many young birds during their first migration (Wiltschko and Wiltschko, 2003). Such strategies are unlikely to be successful for migrants in the open ocean, where swimming movements are permanently uncoupled from solid substrate. For pelagic migrants traveling long distances to specific target areas, navigational systems must therefore accommodate continuous drift and correct for errors that will inevitably arise. Read more: https://jeb.biologists.org/content/211/11/1719

How do you navigate?
“A difference between the terrestrial and open-ocean environment lies in the degree to which animals can control their paths.
Caribou migrating across tundra, or insects crawling across the ground, can be reasonably assured of moving in the same direction in which they walk.
Even birds, which can be blown off course by winds while migrating, can often mitigate drift by maintaining visual contact with the ground and by landing when conditions are adverse (Richardson, 1991; Erni et al., 2002).
Circumstances differ for pelagic migrants. In the open sea, the movements of animals are continuously susceptible to the influence of currents; animals also lack stationary visual references against which drift can be gauged and cannot opt out by grounding themselves.
This difference in the ability of terrestrial and pelagic animals to control their paths has significant implications for navigation.
On land, some navigational strategies depend on an expectation that the direction and distance traveled approximately reflect the direction and duration of an animal’s attempted movements;
examples include the path integration of desert ants (Wehner et al., 1996)
and the clock-and-compass orientation that guides many young birds during their first migration (Wiltschko and Wiltschko, 2003).
Such strategies are unlikely to be successful for migrants in the open ocean, where swimming movements are permanently uncoupled from solid substrate.
For pelagic migrants traveling long distances to specific target areas, navigational systems must therefore accommodate continuous drift and correct for errors that will inevitably arise.

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