Dr. Dave Ernst

Former UNC Biology Ph.D. Graduate Student (received Ph.D. in May, 2018)


University of North Carolina; Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Sensory Ecology International Postgraduate Course
– Lund University; Lund, Sweden
– Fall 2012

B.S. in Animal Sciences (Science, Biotechnology, and Pre-Veterinary Medicine concentration) and minor in Chemistry
– University of Illinois; Urbana-Champaign, IL
– 2009

Research Interests

  • Neural Mechanisms Underlying Magnetic Field Detection in Animals
  • Animal Navigation and Homing Behavior
  • Sensory Ecology
  • Behavior and Physiology of Marine Animals
  • Transcriptomics


Ernst, D. A. and K. J. Lohmann. 2018. Size-dependent avoidance of a strong magnetic anomaly by Caribbean spiny lobsters.  Journal of Experimental Biology  221, jeb172205. doi:10.1242/jeb.172205

Fitak, R. R., Schweikert, L. E., Wheeler, B. R., Ernst, D. A., Lohmann, K. J., and S. Johnsen.  2018.  Near absence of differential gene expression in the retina of rainbow trout after exposure to a magnetic pulse: implications for magnetoreception.  Biology Letters 14: 20180209  http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0209

Fitak, R. R., Wheeler, B. R., Ernst, D. A., Lohmann, K. J., and S. Johnsen.  2017.  Candidate genes mediating magnetoreception in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).  Biology Letters 13: 20170142.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2017.0142  [Download pdf]   [Daily Mail]

Ernst, D. A. and K. J. Lohmann. 2016. Effect of magnetic pulses on Caribbean spiny lobsters: Implications for magnetoreception. Journal of Experimental Biology. 219: 1827-1832 doi:10.1242/jeb.136036   [Download pdf]

Endres, C. S., Putman, N. F., Ernst, D. A., Kurth, J. A., Lohmann, C. M. and K. J. Lohmann. 2016. Multi-modal homing in sea turtles: Modeling dual use of geomagnetic and chemical cues in island-finding. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.  Vol. 10, article 19.  doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00019   [Download pdf]

Lohmann, K. J. and D. A. Ernst.  2014.  The geomagnetic sense of crustaceans and its use in orientation and navigation.  In: Crustacean Nervous Systems and their Control of Behavior (editors: C. D. Derby and M. Thiel), pp. 321-336.  Oxford University Press: New York, New York.  [Download pdf]

Personal Website

Last edited 09.01.2018