Human growth has caused an unprecedented increase in artificial light at night (ALAN). In coastal habitats, many species rely on day/night cycles to regulate various aspects of their life history and these cycles can be altered by this stressor. This study assessed the influence of ALAN on the early (cyprid) and late (spat) settlement stages of the acorn barnacle Semibalanus balanoides, a species widely distributed in natural and man-made coastal habitats of the North Atlantic. A newly designed settlement plate, originally for studies in rocky intertidal habitats in the southeast Pacific, was adapted to measure settlement rates on man-made habitats -wharf seawalls- located in Atlantic Canada. Plates equipped with a small LED diode powered by an internal battery (ALAN plates) were used to quantify settlement rates in comparison to plates lacking a light source (controls). These plates were deployed for 6 d in the mid-intertidal levels, where adult barnacles were readily visible. ALAN and control plates collected large number of settlers and showed to be suitable for this type of man-made habitats. The number of early settlers (cyprids) did not differ between plates but the number of late settlers (spat) was significantly lower in ALAN plates than in controls. These results suggest that light pollution has little influence on the early stages of the acorn barnacle settlement but is clearly detrimental to its late stages. As barnacles dominate in many natural and man-made hard substrates, it is likely that ALAN also has indirect effects on community structure.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Ciencias acuáticas