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Henn, M., Nichols, H., Zhang, Y., & Bonner, T. H. (2014). Effect of artificial light on the drift of aquatic insects in urban central Texas streams. Journal of Freshwater Ecology, 29(3), 307–318.
Abstract: Light pollution can reduce night time drift of larval aquatic insects in urban streams by disrupting their circadian rhythms. Previous studies on larval insect drift show that disruption in drift leads to changes in reproduction as well as intraspecific and interspecific interactions. The purpose of this study was to conduct a preliminary investigation into the effects of extreme artificial light on insect drift in urbanized, high clarity spring systems of the karst Edwards Plateau, TX. We quantified taxa richness, diversity, and abundance in aquatic insect night time drift under two treatments (ambient night time light and artificial light addition) and among five streams using a paired design. Richness and diversity of drifting aquatic insects were similar between treatments but abundance was 37% less in the light addition treatment than that of the control. Effects of light addition on mean abundance was more notable in large streams with a 58% decrease in Simuliidae (compared to that of the control) and 51% decrease in Baetidae. Reduced drift from light addition suggests the potential of artificial lighting disrupting insect drift and consequently community structure. Results of this experiment support a growing body of knowledge on how urbanized systems influence stream communities.