Dr. Davide M. Dominoni
artificial light at night on daily and seasonal organization of
European blackbirds (Turdus merula)
Urban areas are growing faster than any other land cover types. Associated with increasing urbanization, artificial light at night is now recognized as a public health issue and in recent years new interest has risen around the ecological effects of light pollution. Given that light through its diel and seasonal (daylength) changes is one of most important factors regulating daily and annual cycles of virtually all organisms, I hypothesized that modifications of the environment by means of artificial light at night could strongly affect important biological cycles of wild animals. In my doctoral dissertation I experimentally demonstrate the effects of light at night on the daily and seasonal cycles of an urbanized songbird, the European blackbird (Turdus merula), and describe the physiological mechanisms that may underlie such effects. My results provide insights on the physiological consequences of light at night, and call for an urgent understanding of the fitness consequences of light pollution.