Paulo Jorge

 Paulo Jorge

Post-doctoral fellow 



Phone: + 351 21 881 17 00 (ext. 311)


:: Research interests

The navigational system of vertebrates

Neuronal networks involved in the navigational process

Sources of positioning information


Differential migration


:: Current project

We focus our research on the vertebrate’s sense of direction and positioning. Following a transversal approach we integrate ecological, behavioural and neurological data to provide answers on the functioning of the vertebrate’s navigational system. The animal models used are: homing pigeons, Columba livia; the intertidal fish, Lipophrys pholis; and the sea gull, Larus fuscus. Pigeons provide a useful model to understand the role of olfactory cues in the homing process of vertebrates. Previous findings showed that although the primary role of odors is not navigational, odors affect the homing behavior. Therefore, we are now investigating how olfactory neuronal networks interact with navigational neuronal networks. Preliminary findings, using inducible transcription factors for labeling the neuronal activity, suggest that odors activate areas of the hippocampal formation that are known to be responsible by processing navigational information.


In a different approach we investigate the effect of ecological constraints on the development of the navigational system of vertebrates.  Near and far spaces problematic are analyzed. Lypophris pholis a non migrant intertidal fish but with a well developed sense of positioning, provides a useful model to test site/nest fidelity hypotheses. Ongoing experiments will provide new insights on the development of near space maps in vertebrates. Complementary to L. pholis, Larus fuscus provides an excellent model to investigate the development of far space maps. Findings showed that ecological constraints during migration affect the migratory routes of two contiguous populations with implications on the development of the navigational map and distribution in the winter quarters.


:: Selected publications


Marques PAM, Jorge PE 2013. Winter latitudinal population age-structure of a migratory seagull (Larus fuscus) differs between its two major migratory flyways. International Journal of Ecology 2013: Article ID 737616, 7 pages


Jorge PE, Almada F, Gonçalves A, Coelho P, Almada V 2012. Homing in rocky intertidal fish. Are Lipophrys pholis L., able to perform true navigation? Animal Cognition, 15, 1173-1181


Jorge PE 2011. Odors in the contexct of animal navigation. In: The biology of odors: Sources, Olfaction and Response (Weiss LE, Atwood JM eds). Nova Science Publishers Inc. USA, 207-226 pp.


Phillips JB, Jorge PE 2009. What can homing pigeons tell us about navigational impairments in Alzheimer's patients? Activational effect of odors. Communicative Integrative Biology, 2, 494-496


Jorge PE, Marques AE, Phillips JB 2009. Activational rather than navigational effects of odors on young pigeon homing. Current Biology 19, 650-654.

Horários e Contactos

Dias da semana

das 09:00h às 13:00h

tel +351 218 811 740