Spatial mapping of sea turtle disorientation due to artificial lighting on the nesting beaches of Broward County Florida

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Marrero, Lauren Taylor
spatial mapping; sea turtle disorientation; artifical lighting; nesting beaches; Broward County; threats to sea turtles; sea turtle species and distribution; Environmental Sciences
report description
This study is important because the impact artificial beachfront lighting has on sea turtle survival. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between hatchling disorientation and artificial light use on the beaches of Broward County during nesting season, March to October, in 2014 and 2015. Spatial analysis will be used to target areas where hatchlings experience the most disorientation, and where they may be most vulnerable to disorientation, due to artificial lighting. Spatial analysis will be completed using data in geographic information systems (ArcGIS 10.4).Sea turtles are of great importance to Florida’s ecosystem and as artificial beachfront lighting contributes to their decline, the need to protect and preserve sea turtle populations becomes imperative. Broward County beaches are essential for sea turtle reproduction and we must strive to protect their critical life stages. It is well known of the effects of introduced light to nesting beaches and we must extend that knowledge for local application in Broward County. This study will target high vulnerability areas so that efforts to alleviate this problem will be most effective. This has implications for keeping our beaches sea turtle friendly and allowing populations to recover and sustain.