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Published on Feb 16, 2010
Sea turtles, salmon, and sharks sometimes travel the width of the ocean to return to their, "breeding ground," to reproduce. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Biologist Ken Lohmann at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill studies the role magnetic fields play in these long distance migrations. In his lab he's done behavioral studies, manipulating environmental cues to see how young turtles respond to even small changes in magnetic fields. His findings are already being put to use - wildlife officials from the state of South Carolina switched to using plastic cages to protect turtle eggs from predators after Lohmann's research suggested that wire cages can alter the magnetic cues sensed by the turtles. Lohmann will be releasing some turtles in the next few weeks off the NC coast, and beginning new studies of juveniles in his lab.