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Light pollution affects space use and interaction of two small mammal species irrespective of personality

Hoffmann, Julia, Schirmer, Annika, Eccard, Jana Anja
BMC ecology 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 26
Apodemus agrarius, Clethrionomys glareolus, home range, lamps, mice, outdoor enclosures, personality, photoperiod, pollution, small mammals, solar radiation, urbanization
BACKGROUND: Artificial light at night (ALAN) is one form of human-induced rapid environmental changes (HIREC) and is strongly interfering with natural dark–light cycles. Some personality types within a species might be better suited to cope with environmental change and therefore might be selected upon under ongoing urbanization. RESULTS: We used LED street lamps in a large outdoor enclosure to experimentally investigate the effects of ALAN on activity patterns, movement and interaction of individuals of two species, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus) and the striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius). We analyzed effects combined with individual boldness score. Both species reduced their activity budget during daylight hours. While under natural light conditions home ranges were larger during daylight than during nighttime, this difference vanished under ALAN. Conspecifics showed reduced home range overlap, proximity and activity synchrony when subjected to nighttime illumination. Changes in movement patterns in reaction to ALAN were not associated with differences in boldness score of individuals. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that light pollution can lead to changes in movement patterns and individual interactions in small mammals. This could lead to fitness consequences on the population level.