Effects of coastal lighting on foraging behavior of beach mice

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  • Miller D
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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.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Artificial illumination
  • Foraging behavior
  • Light pollution
  • Peromyscus polionotus leucocephalus
  • Santa Rosa beach mice

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