Beach Orientation in Hatchlings

Lab Note #6
Jul 25, 2015

Hatchlings undergo a rapid shift in important stimuli regarding their sea finding and ocean navigation abilities (see figure). To find the ocean after emergence from the nest visual stimuli (light) is used. Hatchlings strongly orient towards light, which in an undeveloped coastline would be the light reflecting off the shallow ocean and the breakers. In developed coastal areas light coming from the opposite direction may cause hatchlings to move away from the ocean. Once in the swash and breaker zone hatchlings switch to a mechanical energy detection mode, and finally switch to a geomagnetic detection mode which serves them for the rest of their lives.

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