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Sea Turtles and Geomagnetic Navigation

Part of SciCafe

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Sea turtles swimming Credit: ©
How do turtles find their way around the ocean?

Ken Lohmann might have the answer. Following sea turtle migration patterns to study the species’ geomagnetic navigation system, Lohmann’s research involves putting sensors on baby sea turtles to understand how they use these magnetic fields to navigate long distances. The study of these movements, however, becomes a challenge as factors like human intervention and climate change affect the turtles' navigation systems, complicating the patterns and potentially jeopardizing the species' migration schedule.

Meet the Speaker

Headshot of speaker Ken Lohmann

Kenneth Lohmann, Ph.D. is broadly interested in the behavior, sensory biology, physiology, and conservation of marine animals. His areas of current interest and research include: how animals such as sea turtles, salmon, and lobsters use Earth’s magnetic field to navigate during long-distance migrations; geomagnetic imprinting and natal homing in sea turtles and salmon; the physics and neurobiology of magnetic field detection by animals; applications of sensory ecology and movement ecology to conservation biology; neuroethology and behavior of marine invertebrates; synchronization of behavior in mass-nesting sea turtles; behavior, migratory movements, and conservation physiology of Galápagos megafauna.