Since its beginning, life has evolved under the influence of the geomagnetic field (GMF). A plethora of physiological and behavioural effects of disturbances of the GMF by electromagnetic noise produced by anthropogenic radio waves, electric devices and natural causes such as sun storms have been shown but they are little understood. Ecological consequences of such effects have been suggested but never systematically studied. Environmental pollution through electromagnetic radiation thus represents a serious ecological factor, investigation of which is a challenge for biological, medical and ecological research of the near future. At the same time, and from the other hand side, study of effects of disturbances of GMF upon sensory and vegetative physiology is an important research tool to get insight into sensory principles of magnetoreception.
In our project we want to study effects of natural and artificial disturbances of the GMF upon a) spatial orientation and navigation of animals, b) sensory perception and vegetative physiology, and c) interactions between organisms. All the methods of the study involving monitoring of behavioural patterns and physiological parameters of captive and free-roaming animals (mainly wildlife and dogs) and disturbance of the local GMF surrounding them by electromagnetic coils, magnets and specific radio frequencies are well established in our laboratory.
While bioelectromagnetic research has been exponentially growing in the last few decades (measured in number of research institutions going in for it, number of papers published, scientific meetings being organized, and interest of media and community covering this topic), most research focused on only few model species. Our approach involving wild and domestic mammals and other free-roaming animals and studying their magnetoreception not only in the context of homing and migration but in the context of "everyday life" is globally unique, pioneering, and of a large heuristic potential.
The results might have a practical impact on animal husbandry, game management, species protection and conservation, and even health sciences. We expect that our approach of studying effects of GMF disturbances will also help to elucidate the enigma of the principle of magnetoreception, which remains one of the biggest mysteries in biology today. We are convinced that although our project aims might sound ambitious, reaching those goals is fully realistic and warranted by our hitherto experience and achievements.