Effects of Coastal Lighting on Foraging Behaviorof Beach Mice

Authors

  • BRITTANY L. BIRD,

    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Newins-Ziegler 303, Box 110430, University of Florida, Gainesville,FL 32611-0430 U.S.A.
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  • LYN C. BRANCH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Newins-Ziegler 303, Box 110430, University of Florida, Gainesville,FL 32611-0430 U.S.A.
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  • DEBORAH L. MILLER

    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Newins-Ziegler 303, Box 110430, University of Florida, Gainesville,FL 32611-0430 U.S.A.
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*Address correspondence to L. Branch, email branchl@wec.ufl.edu

Abstract

Abstract: Introduction of artificial light into wildlife habitat represents a rapidly expanding form of human encroachment, particularly in coastal systems. Light pollution alters the behavior of sea turtles during nesting; therefore, long-wavelength lights—low-pressure sodium vapor and bug lights—that minimize impacts on turtles are required for beach lighting in Florida (U.S.A.). We investigated the effects of these two kinds of lights on the foraging behavior of Santa Rosa beach mice ( Peromyscus polionotus leucocephalus). We compared patch use and giving-up densities of mice for experimental food patches established along a gradient of artificial light in the field. Mice exploited fewer food patches near both types of artificial light than in areas with little light and harvested fewer seeds within patches near bug lights. Our results show that artificial light affects the behavior of terrestrial species in coastal areas and that light pollution deserves greater consideration in conservation planning.

Abstract

Resumen: La introducción de luz artificial al hábitat de vida silvestre representa una forma de intrusión humana que se expande rápidamente, particularmente en sistemas costeros. Durante la anidación, la polución por luz altera el comportamiento de tortugas marinas; por tanto, para la iluminación de playas en Florida (E. U. A) se requieren luces de longitud de onda larga – luces de vapor de sodio de baja presión y contra insectos – que minimizan impactos sobre las tortugas. Investigamos los efectos de estos dos tipos de luces sobre el comportamiento de forrajeo de ratones de playa de Santa Rosa ( Peromyscus polionotus leucocephalus). Comparamos el uso de parches y las densidades de rendición de ratones en parches alimenticios experimentales establecidos a lo largo de un gradiente de luz artificial en el campo. Los ratones utilizaron menos parches de forrajeo cercanos a ambos tipos de luz artificial que en áreas con poca iluminación y cosecharon menos semillas en parches cercanos a luces contra insectos. Nuestros resultados muestran que la luz artificial afecta el comportamiento de especies terrestres en áreas costeras y que la polución por luz merece mayor consideración en la planificación de la conservación.

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