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Cope, K. L., Schook, M. W., & Benard, M. F. (2020). Exposure to artificial light at night during the larval stage has delayed effects on juvenile corticosterone concentration in American toads, Anaxyrus americanus. Gen Comp Endocrinol, in press, 113508.
Abstract: Artificial Light At Night (ALAN) is an environmental stressor that can disrupt individual physiology and ecological interactions. Hormones such as corticosterone are often responsible for mediating an organism's response to environmental stressors. We investigated whether ALAN was associated with a corticosterone response and whether it exacerbated the effects of another common stressor, predation. We tested for consumptive, non-consumptive, and physiological effects of ALAN and predator presence (dragonfly larvae) on a widespread amphibian, the American toad (Anaxyrus americanus). We found predators had consumptive (decreased survival) and non-consumptive (decreased growth) effects on larval toads. ALAN did not affect larval toads nor did it interact with the predator treatment to increase larval toad predation. Despite the consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators, neither predators nor ALAN affected corticosterone concentration in the larval and metamorph life-stages. In contrast to studies in other organisms, we did not find any evidence that suggested ALAN alters predator-prey interactions between dragonfly larvae and toads. However, there was an inverse relationship between corticosterone and survival that was exacerbated by exposure to ALAN when predators were absent. Additionally, larval-stage exposure to ALAN increased corticosterone concentration in juvenile toads. Our results suggest the physiological effects of ALAN may not be demonstrated until later life-stages.