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Magnetic orientation by hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from the Gulf of Mexico
Merrill, M.W.; Salmon, M. (2011). Magnetic orientation by hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) from the Gulf of Mexico. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(1): 101-112. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-010-1545-y
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Merrill, M.W.
  • Salmon, M.

Abstract
    Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerge from nests on either the east or west coast of the South Florida peninsula and then migrate offshore in opposite directions. Under laboratory conditions, magnetic cues induce east coast hatchlings to swim in directions that promote their transport by oceanic surface currents, such as the North Atlantic gyre. However, the surface currents used by west coast hatchlings are unknown. We examined the responses of west (Sarasota) hatchlings to magnetic cues in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Straits, and the Gulf Stream to determine their (1) likely migratory routes (2) orientation where currents lead into the Atlantic Ocean, and (3) orientation adjacent to Florida’s east coast. The results suggest that migration inside Gulf waters may be circuitous, that the turtles respond appropriately to enter Atlantic waters, and that orientation along Florida’s east coast probably promotes transport by the Gulf Stream into the North Atlantic gyre.

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