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Artificial light at night alters trophic interactions of intertidal invertebrates

Artificial light at night alters trophic interactions of intertidal invertebrates
Artificial light at night alters trophic interactions of intertidal invertebrates
Despite being globally widespread in coastal regions, the impacts of light pollution on intertidal ecosystems has received little attention. Intertidal species exhibit many night-time-dependent ecological strategies, including feeding, reproduction, orientation and predator avoidance, which are likely negatively affected by shifting light regimes, as has been observed in terrestrial and aquatic taxa. Coastal lighting may shape intertidal communities through its influence on the nocturnal foraging activity of dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus), a widespread predatory mollusc that structures biodiversity in temperate rocky shores. In the laboratory, we investigated whether the basal and foraging activity of this predator was affected by exposure to night-time lighting both in the presence and absence of olfactory predator cues (Carcinus maenas, common shore crab). Assessments of dogwhelks' behavioural responses to night-time white LED lighting were performed on individuals that had been acclimated to night-time white LED lighting conditions for 16 days and individuals that had not previously been exposed to artificial light at night. Dogwhelks acclimated to night-time lighting exhibited natural refuge-seeking behaviour less often compared to control animals, but were more likely to respond to and handle prey irrespective of whether olfactory predator cues were present. These responses suggest night-time lighting likely increased the energetic demand of dogwhelks through stress, encouraging foraging whenever food was available, regardless of potential danger. Contrastingly, whelks not acclimated under night-time lighting were more likely to respond to the presence of prey under artificial light at night when olfactory predator cues were present, indicating an opportunistic shift towards the use of visual instead of olfactory cues in risk evaluation. These results demonstrate that artificial night-time lighting influences the behaviour of intertidal fauna such that the balance of interspecific interactions involved in community structuring may be affected.
0021-8790
781-789
Underwood, Charlotte
eb786a85-742e-4aa6-9c84-8248305a9e08
Davies, Thomas
fda3341e-a14f-45bc-8755-c811f9a1f79f
Queirós, Ana
266e4645-0241-435a-81a7-3641599ffbfb
Underwood, Charlotte
eb786a85-742e-4aa6-9c84-8248305a9e08
Davies, Thomas
fda3341e-a14f-45bc-8755-c811f9a1f79f
Queirós, Ana
266e4645-0241-435a-81a7-3641599ffbfb

Underwood, Charlotte, Davies, Thomas and Queirós, Ana (2017) Artificial light at night alters trophic interactions of intertidal invertebrates. Journal of Animal Ecology, 86 (4), 781-789. (doi:10.1111/1365-2656.12670).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Despite being globally widespread in coastal regions, the impacts of light pollution on intertidal ecosystems has received little attention. Intertidal species exhibit many night-time-dependent ecological strategies, including feeding, reproduction, orientation and predator avoidance, which are likely negatively affected by shifting light regimes, as has been observed in terrestrial and aquatic taxa. Coastal lighting may shape intertidal communities through its influence on the nocturnal foraging activity of dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus), a widespread predatory mollusc that structures biodiversity in temperate rocky shores. In the laboratory, we investigated whether the basal and foraging activity of this predator was affected by exposure to night-time lighting both in the presence and absence of olfactory predator cues (Carcinus maenas, common shore crab). Assessments of dogwhelks' behavioural responses to night-time white LED lighting were performed on individuals that had been acclimated to night-time white LED lighting conditions for 16 days and individuals that had not previously been exposed to artificial light at night. Dogwhelks acclimated to night-time lighting exhibited natural refuge-seeking behaviour less often compared to control animals, but were more likely to respond to and handle prey irrespective of whether olfactory predator cues were present. These responses suggest night-time lighting likely increased the energetic demand of dogwhelks through stress, encouraging foraging whenever food was available, regardless of potential danger. Contrastingly, whelks not acclimated under night-time lighting were more likely to respond to the presence of prey under artificial light at night when olfactory predator cues were present, indicating an opportunistic shift towards the use of visual instead of olfactory cues in risk evaluation. These results demonstrate that artificial night-time lighting influences the behaviour of intertidal fauna such that the balance of interspecific interactions involved in community structuring may be affected.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 27 April 2017
Published date: 1 July 2017
Additional Information: ©2017 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology ©2017 British Ecological Society

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 470639
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/470639
ISSN: 0021-8790
PURE UUID: b7bf634d-09f6-4670-af35-3a04ac78da94

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Date deposited: 17 Oct 2022 16:37
Last modified: 21 Oct 2022 16:53

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Author: Thomas Davies
Author: Ana Queirós

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