The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Part-night exposure to artificial light at night has more detrimental effects on aphid colonies than fully lit nights"

Posted on 2023-09-15 - 15:16
Artificial light at night (ALAN) threatens natural ecosystems globally. While ALAN research is increasing, little is known about how ALAN affects plants and interactions with other organisms. We explored the effects of ALAN on plant defence and plant–insect interactions using barley (Hordeum vulgare) and the English grain aphid (Sitobion avenae). Plants were exposed to ‘full’ or ‘part’ nights of 15–20 lux ALAN, or no ALAN ‘control’ nights, to test the effects of ALAN on plant growth and defence. Although plant growth was only minimally affected by ALAN, aphid colony growth and aphid maturation were reduced significantly by ALAN treatments. Importantly, we found strong differences between full-night and part-night ALAN treatments. Contrary to our expectations, part ALAN had stronger negative effects on aphid colony growth than full ALAN. Defence-associated gene expression was affected in some cases by ALAN, but also positively correlated with aphid colony size, suggesting that the effects of ALAN on plant defences are indirect, and regulated via direct disruption of aphid colonies, rather than via ALAN-induced upregulation of defences. Mitigating ecological side effects of ALAN is a complex problem, as reducing exposure to ALAN increased its negative impact on insect herbivores.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Light pollution in complex ecological systems’.


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Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Robin Heinen
Oriana Sanchez-Mahecha
T. Martijn Bezemer
Davide M. Dominoni
Claudia Knappe
Johannes Kollmann
Anton Kopatsch
Zoë A. Pfeiffer
Michael Schloter
Sarah Sturm
Jörg-Peter Schnitzler
A. Corina Vlot
Wolfgang W. Weisser
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