Hatcheries’ metal can disrupt steelhead magnetic sense

Young trout raised in distorted field flunk first test of which direction to swim

By Susan Milius, 18:28 PM June 4, 2014

Young steelhead trout don’t get off to a good start as navigators if they’re reared in hatchery tanks where iron pipes cause weirdness in magnetic fields.

The trout, like many other animals, sense Earth’s magnetic field and use it when they migrate. Yet young fish raised with magnetic distortions from a pipe and rebar in concrete flooring failed to orient normally in a simulated magnetic field, says marine biologist Nathan Putman, now at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami.

In a rec...

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