Title

How do ecological light pollution and heat waves affect egg-laying?

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Lead Author Status

Senior

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Zachary Stahlschmidt

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) caused by urban light pollution disturbs the natural light patterns fundamental to all levels of biological organization. Recent studies have found strong effects of ALAN on physiology, reproduction, and behavior across animal taxa. In addition to ALAN, animals increasingly experience other environmental stressors associated with climate change, such as heatwaves. Yet, the combined effects of ALAN and heat waves on fitness-related processes are poorly understood. For example, egg-laying is the predominant parental behavior in animals, and it can influence the fitness of mothers (e.g., by increasing predation risk) and offspring (e.g., environmental conditions chosen during egg-laying influence embryonic survival). In my study, field crickets (Gryllus lineaticeps) spent early adulthood exposed to either control temperature or stimulated heat wave treatments, and in either control (dark nights) or ALAN treatments. Egg-laying over 24 hours was then observed to determine the total number of eggs laid (realized fitness) and oviposition specialization (i.e., the clumping of eggs into fewer egg-laying sites sensu putting all of one’s eggs into one basket) in response to thermal and light conditions. My preliminary findings suggest egg-laying is strongly affected by temperature (but not light) conditions where stimulated heatwave conditions promoted egg-laying. Therefore, some features of human-induced environmental change may result in either no cost (e.g., ALAN) or even benefits (e.g., warming) to important traits in widespread animal taxa.

Location

University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, CA 95211

Start Date

24-4-2021 3:00 PM

End Date

24-4-2021 3:15 PM

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Apr 24th, 3:00 PM Apr 24th, 3:15 PM

How do ecological light pollution and heat waves affect egg-laying?

University of the Pacific, 3601 Pacific Ave., Stockton, CA 95211

Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) caused by urban light pollution disturbs the natural light patterns fundamental to all levels of biological organization. Recent studies have found strong effects of ALAN on physiology, reproduction, and behavior across animal taxa. In addition to ALAN, animals increasingly experience other environmental stressors associated with climate change, such as heatwaves. Yet, the combined effects of ALAN and heat waves on fitness-related processes are poorly understood. For example, egg-laying is the predominant parental behavior in animals, and it can influence the fitness of mothers (e.g., by increasing predation risk) and offspring (e.g., environmental conditions chosen during egg-laying influence embryonic survival). In my study, field crickets (Gryllus lineaticeps) spent early adulthood exposed to either control temperature or stimulated heat wave treatments, and in either control (dark nights) or ALAN treatments. Egg-laying over 24 hours was then observed to determine the total number of eggs laid (realized fitness) and oviposition specialization (i.e., the clumping of eggs into fewer egg-laying sites sensu putting all of one’s eggs into one basket) in response to thermal and light conditions. My preliminary findings suggest egg-laying is strongly affected by temperature (but not light) conditions where stimulated heatwave conditions promoted egg-laying. Therefore, some features of human-induced environmental change may result in either no cost (e.g., ALAN) or even benefits (e.g., warming) to important traits in widespread animal taxa.