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Researcher Shares Protocol for Hatchling Orientation Index Data

July 14, 2021

Disorientation events occur when artificial lighting on sea turtle nesting beaches disrupts the ability of nesting females and hatchlings to find the sea as they leave their nests. Hatchling disorientation due to skyglow is a significant issue on certain sections of our beaches.

Tomo Hirama, a marine turtle researcher at Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, has developed a project evaluating orientation response to physical cues on nesting beaches. Last week, Hirama visited Sanibel to explain the protocol to staff monitoring the beaches in problem areas.  Hirama will be investigating relationships between Hatchling Orientation Index (HOI) and beach setting. “This information will contribute to statewide datasets that will help us better understand disorientations. Hopefully, we will ultimately be able to prevent these events,” SCCF Coastal Wildlife Director Kelly Sloan said.



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