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Illuminating the effects of artificial light at night on the behavior of nocturnal salamanders
Date(s) 04/16/2018 - 4:00 p.m.
Location Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center
Presenter Sharon Wise, Ph.D., Dean School of Arts and Sciences of Utica College. Utica College. Utica, New York.
Description Illuminating the effects of artificial light at night on the behavior of nocturnal salamanders

As human development expands, wildlife is increasingly exposed to artificial light at night (light pollution). This light pollution can be lethal to some organisms, such as insects and sea turtles, but for many other organisms, artificial night lighting has more subtle effects as a result of chronic exposure. Nocturnal animals, including many species of salamanders, have sensory systems that allow them to forage and interact with other individuals under low-illumination conditions. Light pollution can disrupt these normal nocturnal activities. We tested the hypothesis that activity of nocturnal salamanders is disrupted by artificial light in the following experiments: (1) the potential for light penetration into leaf litter habitats at different levels of light pollution; (2) the impact of light pollution on nocturnal activity of salamanders under controlled laboratory conditions; and (3) the short-term impact of low levels of light on activity of salamanders in a forested habitat. We found that light is able to penetrate into the leaf litter habitat and that salamanders respond to low levels of light at night by changing the timing of their nocturnal activity. Thus, artificial light at night may disruption foraging and social interactions in salamanders.

The Asa Gray Seminar Series is sponsored by the Asa Gray Biological Society, and is the longest running seminar series at Utica College. Scientists are invited from throughout the region to present seminars on their ongoing research. All lectures are held in Donahue Auditorium, Gordon Science Center, at 4:00 p.m. An informal reception immediately follows. Call (315) 792-3028 for more information.
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