Student Research Projects

Auditory brainstem responses reveal that juvenile loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) hear low frequency sounds

Student Bethany Adomanis
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in the Natural Sciences


Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) inhabit the terrestrial, oceanic, and the neritic zones of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. With increasing anthropogenic activity, their habitat is more heavily used and possibly at a dangerous rate. It isn’t well known if sea turtles use sounds and vibrations in the water column to find food or how they respond behaviorally to sound. For this project, hearing of juvenile loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)was tested using auditory brain response techniques (ABRs). The resulting audigram shows that C. caretta can detect low frequency sound and have the most sensitive hearing at 500 Hz., consistent with typical anthropogenic noises. As more anthropogenic activities enter their waterways, such as the Chesapeake Bay, the possibility of sound altering C. caretta behavior increases.