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Ecology. 2017 May;98(5):1290-1299. doi: 10.1002/ecy.1770. Epub 2017 Mar 29.

Light and noise pollution interact to disrupt interspecific interactions.

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Department of Biology, University of Tampa, 401 W. Kennedy Avenue, Tampa, Florida, 33606, USA.
Integrative Biology Department, University of South Florida, SCA 110, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, Florida, 33620, USA.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado 0843-03092, Balboa, Ancón, Panamá City, Panamá.
Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907, USA.


Studies on the consequences of urbanization often examine the effects of light, noise, and heat pollution independently on isolated species providing a limited understanding of how these combined stressors affect species interactions. Here, we investigate how these factors interact to affect parasitic frog-biting midges (Corethrella spp.) and their túngara frog (Engystomops pustulosus) hosts. A survey of túngara frog calling sites revealed that frog abundance was not significantly correlated with urbanization, light, noise, or temperature. In contrast, frog-biting midges were sensitive to light pollution and noise pollution. Increased light intensity significantly reduced midge abundance at low noise levels. At high noise intensity, there were no midges regardless of light level. Two field experiments controlling light and noise levels to examine attraction of the midges to their host and their feeding behavior confirmed the causality of these field patterns. These findings demonstrate that both light and noise pollution disrupt this host-parasite interaction and highlight the importance of considering interactions among species and types of pollutants to accurately assess the impacts of urbanization on ecological communities.


Corethrella ; Physalaemus pustulosus ; Túngara frogs; anthropogenic pollution; eavesdropper; ectoparasite; urbanization

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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