Hemocyanin as a biological indicator of artificial light at night stress in sandy beach amphipods

K. Devon Lynn, Diego Quintanilla-Ahumada, Cristian Duarte, Pedro A. Quijón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of artificial light at night (ALAN) is becoming evident in marine sandy beaches. These habitats are dominated by species reliant on natural daylight/night regimes, making the identification of biological indicators a priority. We assessed the applicability of hemocyanin, an oxygen-transport protein in the hemolymph of many invertebrates, as an indicator of ALAN-related stress. Unlike total proteins, hemocyanins signal metabolic function and stress, so we expected them to increase in response to ALAN. We adapted spectrophotometry protocols to describe spatial variation in hemocyanins and total proteins in four populations of the talitroid amphipod Americorchestia longicornis. Then, a two-week experiment tested for changes in response to ALAN. Hemocyanin levels increased by 17 % and 40 % with respect to experimental controls after 7 and 14 d, respectively, and were higher than any measurements conducted in the field. These results suggest good prospects for hemocyanin as an indicator of ALAN effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114147
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Amphipods
  • Atlantic Canada
  • Hemocyanin
  • Light pollution
  • Sandy beaches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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