Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Does artificial light influence the activity of vertebrates beneath rural buildings?

Philip Borchard A and David J. Eldridge A B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Office of Environment and Heritage, c/- School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: d.eldridge@unsw.edu.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 61(6) 424-429 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO13063
Submitted: 13 August 2013  Accepted: 5 February 2014   Published: 26 February 2014

Abstract

Interactions between humans and wildlife have increased dramatically over the past century as human populations increase and occupy areas formerly dominated by native animals. In Australia, increases in land clearing and farming close to riparian areas has brought humans into contact with the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), a relatively large-bodied, semifossorial marsupial. The common wombat is regarded as a pest in some agricultural areas due to its habit of burrowing beneath buildings, destroying fences and destabilising stream banks. We examined the effectiveness of artificial lighting to deter wombats from using the subfloor cavity under an historic cottage at ‘Bundanon’ in southern New South Wales, Australia. The response of wombats to artificial light (10 weeks on followed by 10 weeks off) was assessed using heat- and motion-sensing cameras continuously over a period of 58 weeks. While the main focus was on light effects on wombats, the study also allowed us to record non-nuisance animals using the subfloor cavity. Of the total of 1086 animal detections over the 58-week period (2.67 detections day–1), 965 (89%) were of mammals, 106 birds and 15 reptiles. Wombats (622; 57%) and kangaroos (228; 22%) made up 79% of all detections. Nocturnal activity of wombats remained unchanged in response to lighting (on: 266; off: 268), but there were significantly more diurnal detections when the lights were on (58) than off (30). For kangaroos, there were more nocturnal detections when lights were off, but more diurnal detections when lights were on. More antechinus were detected at night (night: 107; day: 8), and with the lights off (99 cf. 8), and insectivorous birds were detected almost entirely during the day, mostly with the lights on (66 cf. 39). Our study showed that, overall, the lighting regime we used was ineffective at reducing wombat activity under the building.

Additional keywords: camera trapping, common wombat, crepuscular, nocturnal, periurban, pest animals.


References

Anderson, M. J., and Gorley, R. N. (2008). PERMANOVA+ for PRIMER: Guide to software and statistical methods (Primer-E: Plymouth)

Barber-Meyer, S (2007). Photopollution impacts on the nocturnal behaviour of the sugar glider (Petaurus breviceps). Pacific Conservation Biology 13, 171–176. open url image1

Beier, P. (1995). Dispersal of juvenile cougars in fragmented habitat. Journal of Wildlife Management 59, 228–237.
Dispersal of juvenile cougars in fragmented habitat.CrossRef | open url image1

Beier, P. (2006). Effects of artificial light on terrestrial mammals. In ‘Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting’. (Eds T. Longcore and C. Rich.) pp. 19–42. (Island Press: Washington, DC.)

Blair, W. F. (1943). Activities of Peromyscus with relation to light intensity. Journal of Wildlife Management 7, 92–97.
Activities of Peromyscus with relation to light intensity.CrossRef | open url image1

Borchard, P., and Collins, D. (2001). Environmental management of the common wombat Vombatus ursinus: a case study in the Shoalhaven Region, southeastern New South Wales, Australia. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 27, 185–190. open url image1

Borchard, P., and Eldridge, D. J. (2011). The geomorphic signature of bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) and cattle (Bos taurus) in an agricultural riparian ecosystem. Geomorphology 130, 365–373.
The geomorphic signature of bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) and cattle (Bos taurus) in an agricultural riparian ecosystem.CrossRef | open url image1

Borchard, P., and Wright, I. A. (2010a). Using camera-trap data to model habitat use by bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) and cattle (Bos taurus) in a southeastern Australian agricultural riparian ecosystem. Australian Mammalogy 32, 16–22.
Using camera-trap data to model habitat use by bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) and cattle (Bos taurus) in a southeastern Australian agricultural riparian ecosystem.CrossRef | open url image1

Borchard, P., and Wright, I. A. (2010b). Bulldozers and blueberries: managing fence damage by bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) at the agricultural–riparian interface. Human Wildlife Interactions 4, 33–42. open url image1

Borchard, P., McIlroy, J. C., and McArthur, C. (2008). Links between riparian characteristics and the abundance of common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) burrows in an agricultural landscape. Wildlife Research 35, 760–767.
Links between riparian characteristics and the abundance of common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) burrows in an agricultural landscape.CrossRef | open url image1

Borchard, P., Eldridge, D. J., and Wright, I. A. (2012). Sarcoptes mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) increases diurnal activity of bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) in an agricultural riparian environment. Mammalian Biology 77, 244–248.
Sarcoptes mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) increases diurnal activity of bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) in an agricultural riparian environment.CrossRef | open url image1

Bruce-White, C., and Shardlow, M. (2011). A review of the impact of artificial light on invertebrates, Buglife. The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, United Kingdom.

Bruleigh, R. H., and Vandruff, L. W. (1998). Characterization of woodchuck burrows within seven sensitive areas at Antietam National Battlefield. Urban Ecosystems 2, 153–162.
Characterization of woodchuck burrows within seven sensitive areas at Antietam National Battlefield.CrossRef | open url image1

Cowan, P. E., and Tyndale-Biscoe, C. H. (1997). Australia and New Zealand mammal species considered to be pests or problems. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 9, 27–36.
Australia and New Zealand mammal species considered to be pests or problems.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK2s3mt12rtg%3D%3D&md5=9b3166252f10cc6dc01aac54e959b16dCAS | open url image1

Dawson, T. J., Blaney, C. E., Munn, A. J., Krockenberger, A., and Maloney, S. K. (2000). Thermoregulation by kangaroos from mesic and arid habitats: influence of temperature on routes of heat loss in eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) and red kangaroos (Macropus rufus). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 73, 374–381.
Thermoregulation by kangaroos from mesic and arid habitats: influence of temperature on routes of heat loss in eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus) and red kangaroos (Macropus rufus).CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3cvntFSmug%3D%3D&md5=0b9c3d6a433a546d899dc3733211c83fCAS | 10893177PubMed | open url image1

DeCoursey, P. J. (1986). Light sampling behaviour in photoentrainment of a rodent circadian rhythm. Journal of Comparative Physiology 159, 161–169.
Light sampling behaviour in photoentrainment of a rodent circadian rhythm.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaL2s%2FhtFCmug%3D%3D&md5=f60e969073fc13ffc7810ae38e0a2213CAS | 3761222PubMed | open url image1

Dwyer, R. G., Bearhop, S., Campbell, H. A., and Bryant, D. M. (2013). Shedding light on light: benefits of anthropogenic illumination to a nocturnally foraging shorebird. Journal of Animal Ecology 82, 478–485.
Shedding light on light: benefits of anthropogenic illumination to a nocturnally foraging shorebird.CrossRef | 23190422PubMed | open url image1

Evans, M., Green, B., and Newgrain, K. (2003). The field energetic and water fluxes of free-living wombats (Marsupalia: Vombatidae). Oecologia 137, 171–180.
The field energetic and water fluxes of free-living wombats (Marsupalia: Vombatidae).CrossRef | 12883985PubMed | open url image1

Foster, R. G., and Provencio, I. (1999). The regulation of vertebrate biological clocks by light. In ‘Adaptive Mechanisms in the Ecology of Vision’. (Eds S. N. Archer, M. B. A. Djamgoz, E. R. Loew, J. C. Partridge and S. Vallerga.) pp. 223–243. (Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, the Netherlands.)

Garden, J. (2006). Conserving and restoring wildlife in fragmented urban landscapes: a case study from Brisbane Australia. B.Sc.(Honours) Thesis, The University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Gilsdorf, J. M., Hygnstrom, S. E., and ver Cauteren, K. C. (2002). Use of frightening devices in wildlife damage management. Integrated Pest Management Reviews 7, 29–45.
Use of frightening devices in wildlife damage management.CrossRef | open url image1

Herr, J., Schley, S., Engel, E., and Roper, T. J. (2010). Den preferences and denning behaviour in urban stone martens. Mammalian Biology 75, 138–145.
Den preferences and denning behaviour in urban stone martens.CrossRef | open url image1

Horvath, G., Kriska, G., Malik, P., and Robertson, B. (2009). Polarised light pollution: a new kind of ecological photopollution. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7, 317–325.
Polarised light pollution: a new kind of ecological photopollution.CrossRef | open url image1

Jones, D.N. and Goth, A. (2008). ‘Mound-builders: Mallee Fowl, Brush Turkeys and Scrubfowl.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)

Kavanau, J. L. (1968). Activity and orientational responses of white-footed mice to light. Nature 218, 245–252.
Activity and orientational responses of white-footed mice to light.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaF1c3jt12luw%3D%3D&md5=7319ef28ac24e0c946271a970c3713a6CAS | 5648222PubMed | open url image1

Keith, D. (2004). ‘Ocean Shores to Desert Dunes. The Native Vegetation of New South Wales and the ACT.’ (Department of Environment and Conservation: Sydney.)

Koehler, A. E., Marsh, R. E., and Salmon, T. (1990). Frightening methods and devices/stimuli to prevent mammal damage – a review. In ‘Proceedings of the 14th Vertebrate Pest Conference’. (Eds L. R. Davis and R. E. Marsh.) pp. 168–173. (Paper 50). (University of California: Davis.)

Kramer, K. M., and Birney, E. C. (2001). Effect of light intensity on activity patterns of Patagonian leaf- eared mice (Phyllotis xanthopygus). Journal of Mammalogy 82, 535–544.
Effect of light intensity on activity patterns of Patagonian leaf- eared mice (Phyllotis xanthopygus).CrossRef | open url image1

Lariviere, S., Walton, L. R., and Messier, F. (1999). Selection by striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) of farmsteads and buildings as denning sites. American Midland Naturalist 142, 96–101.
Selection by striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) of farmsteads and buildings as denning sites.CrossRef | open url image1

Long, C. V., Flint, J. A., and Lepper, P. A. (2011). Insect attraction to wind turbines: does colour play a role? European Journal of Wildlife Research 57, 323–331.
Insect attraction to wind turbines: does colour play a role?CrossRef | open url image1

Longcore, T., and Rich, C. (2004). Ecological light pollution. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2, 191–198.
Ecological light pollution.CrossRef | open url image1

Longcore, T., and Rich, C. (Eds) (2006). ‘Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting.’ (Island Press: Washington, DC.)

Madden, F. (2004). Creating coexistence between humans and wildlife: global perspectives on local efforts to address human–wildlife conflict. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9, 247–257.
Creating coexistence between humans and wildlife: global perspectives on local efforts to address human–wildlife conflict.CrossRef | open url image1

McKinney, M. L. (2006). Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biological Conservation 127, 247–260.
Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization.CrossRef | open url image1

Minitab. (2007). ‘Reference Manual. Version 15.’ (Minitab Inc., State College: Pennsylvania.)

O’Donnell, M. A., and DeNicola, A. J. (2006). Den site selection of lactating female raccoons following removal and exclusion from suburban residences. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34, 366–370.
Den site selection of lactating female raccoons following removal and exclusion from suburban residences.CrossRef | open url image1

Pavlaèik, L., Literak, I., Klimes, J., and Bojkova, M. (2004). Use of human buildings by Eurasian badgers in the Moravskoslezske Beskydy Mountains, Czech Republic. Acta Theriologica 49, 567–570.
Use of human buildings by Eurasian badgers in the Moravskoslezske Beskydy Mountains, Czech Republic.CrossRef | open url image1

Peterson, M. N., Birchhead, J. L., Leong, K., Peterson, M. J., and Peterson, T. R. (2010). Rearticulating the myth of human–wildlife conflict. Conservation Letters 3, 74–82.
Rearticulating the myth of human–wildlife conflict.CrossRef | open url image1

Roetman, P. E. J., and Daniels, C. B. (2009). ‘The Possum-Tail Tree: Understanding Possums through Citizen Science.’ (Barbara Hardy Centre for Sustainable Urban Environments, University of South Australia: Adelaide.)

Schodde, R., and Tidemann, S. C. (Eds) (1986). ‘Complete Book of Australian Birds.’ (Readers Digest: Sydney.)

Sharma, V. K., Chandrashekaran, M. K., and Nongkynrih, P. (1997). Daylight and artificial light phase response curves for the circadian rhythm in locomotor activity in the field mouse (Mus booduga). Biological Rhythm Research 28, 39–49.
Daylight and artificial light phase response curves for the circadian rhythm in locomotor activity in the field mouse (Mus booduga).CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaK2sXot1aqtQ%3D%3D&md5=b8bb176021ad551186885b86ba8be142CAS | open url image1

Statham, M., and Statham, H. L. (1997). Movements and habits of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr) in an urban area. Wildlife Research 24, 715–726.
Movements and habits of brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula Kerr) in an urban area.CrossRef | open url image1

Strahan, R. (ed) (1988). ‘Complete Book of Australian Mammals.’ (Angus and Robertson: Sydney.)

Thompson, P. H. (1984). Horsing around with roof rats in rural outbuildings. Pest Control 52, 36–38, 40. open url image1

Triggs, B. (2009) ‘Wombats.’ 2nd edn. (CSIRO: Australia.)

Van Someren, E. J. W., Kessler, A., Mirmiran, M., and Swaab, D. F. (1997). Indirect bright light improves circadian rest–activity rhythm disturbances in demented patients. Biological Psychiatry 41, 955–963.
Indirect bright light improves circadian rest–activity rhythm disturbances in demented patients.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DyaK2s3msVagsg%3D%3D&md5=01a89c1cdd20dad32065ac756704f9b5CAS | open url image1



Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation