On the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources web page about the marine turtle conservation program it says, "When a hatchling sea turtle is attracted away from the ocean towards a direct or indirect source of light, biologists describe this as a disorientation event."

Does something like the disorientation event describing the sea turtle behavior also occur in other species?

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    $\begingroup$ The source you link seems to describe the term as specific to sea turtle biology. Not every biologist studies sea turtles. Are you asking if it is used in other species? Or are you asking if it is used in scientific papers specific to sea turtles? $\endgroup$ – BagiM Jul 1 '19 at 6:25
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    $\begingroup$ Presumably they are just explaining a term that has been used or coined to describe the phenomenon under a more general heading using scientific or formal language, so the reader understands its subsequent use. The idea conveyed to you that biologists mutter it to one another at coffee time is incorrect and, I imagine, unintentional. $\endgroup$ – David Jul 1 '19 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ @BagiM I am asking if it is used in other species. $\endgroup$ – Bob516 Jul 2 '19 at 1:50
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    $\begingroup$ @Bob516 You should edit your question to clarify. As written, there is nothing in your question that implies you are asking if it is used in other species. With that added piece of information, I am also unclear if you are asking if this term is used or whether something like "disorientation events" in sea turtles also occur in other species. It's important to be precise in your questions. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jul 2 '19 at 16:23

As sort of a "teach to fish" answer, let's approach how to answer a question like this:

Google Scholar is a pretty good index of scientific literature: good enough for this purpose. If you search:

"disorientation event" -turtle

you will return all results that use the specific phrase "disorientation event" except those that mention turtles.

You can also do the search:

"disorientation event" turtle

to find the turtle papers. As of today, "disorientation event" returns 57 results; 14 also include the word "turtle", 43 do not.

Among the 43, it looks like the majority of papers are discussing human disorientation, particularly in the context of human pilots but also in the context of cognitively impaired individuals or simply lost pedestrians. There is one paper that uses the term referring to rats in a maze-like task.

Overall, these results lead me to conclude that "disorientation event" is not a common general term used by biologists to refer to non-turtle species losing their way, although I would also say that I would expect a biologist to understand the meaning of the term given sufficient context.

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I'm only familiar with the bird research and it is not a commonly used term in ornithology. Birds use multiple methods for navigation which include the sun, stars and the earth's magnetic field. When biologists talk about birds becoming disoriented (usually by magnetic fields or they could appear to be disoriented after a fallout event, due to a hurricane etc) they don't refer to it as a disorientation event, as far as I know, there isn't a term to describe these events in ornithology.

I feel like I should clarify, since I used a term and then said there isn't a term... "Fallout" or migration fallout is when severe weather prevents birds from reaching it's destination (e.g. breeding grounds or wintering grounds) and instead taking refuge in an unusual place (what we could consider unusual, as it's not their normal path of migration, not their "normal" stopover site). It's not actually referring to birds becoming disoriented, which is why I would say this is not a term to describe a disorientation event.

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