Sea turtle hatchlings suffer high rates of mortality during the first 24 hours of life, so it is important that they make their way from their nests on the beach to the open ocean quickly and efficiently. To do this, hatchlings must be able to sense environmental cues and respond appropriately. Increased environmental pollution from anthropogenic sources is changing environmental cues which affect hatchling ability to locate the sea.
Light and noise pollution, as well as magnetic interference from electrical equipment, may all contribute to disorientation in hatchlings, resulting in decreased survival. As coastal development increases it will be important to develop an understanding to inform future sea turtle conservation efforts. My research project focuses on understanding which cues are used by hatchlings during the various stages of offshore dispersal and how the importance of cues may change as hatchlings age.