Many different organisms are extremely sensitive to environmental changes, and this includes some amphibians. Because certain amphibians, such as the wood frog, are within this category they position themselves as an exceptionally good model for studying the impacts that light pollution could have on various amphibians and other organisms as well.
Research into the effects of light pollution has momentously increased over the last few decades and has shed some light (no pun intended) on how artificial night lighting can alter the lives of amphibians. For instance, biologists and ecologists have recently discovered that light pollution has influenced the mating calls of many frog species that reside in areas that are highly lit (Wise, 2007). There, frogs cease or reduce the rate at which they execute their mating calls, which in turn decreased their rate of reproduction. Another example involves not only wood frogs, but also blue-spotted salamanders and how light pollution caused by artificial night lighting has drawn them away from their ideal habitats in moisture-filled leaf litters and has also caused them to be immobile in some circumstances causing their risk of predation to increase (Feuka, 2016).
Our work mainly focuses on analyzing skin color variation and crypsis selection in isolated populations of wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) in response to light pollution and how this could affect their chances of predation. Specifically, we are interested in understanding whether the skin color of wood frogs in high light polluted ponds are being altered due to their responses to light pollution. To begin to understand these potential effects, we have been collecting wood frogs from a suite of ponds in southern Connecticut.
Wood frogs from ponds that have been shown to possess low and high rates of surrounding light pollution have been collected and measured in order to see the types of color that their skin reflects. So far, we have seen skin color variation when comparing these two individual groups. However, more work is needed to better describe this potential consequence of light pollution.
Gaston, K. J., Bennie, J., Davies, T. W., & Hopkins, J. (2013). The ecological impacts of nighttime light pollution: a mechanistic appraisal. Biological Reviews, 88(4), 912–927.
Wise, Sharon. (2007). Studying the Ecological Impacts of Light Pollution on Wildlife: Amphibians as Models. Pp. 107-116.
Gallaway, T., Olsen, R. N., & Mitchell, D. M. (2010). The economics of global light pollution. Ecological Economics, 69(3), 658–665.
Feuka, Abigail B., "Effects of Light Pollution on Habitat Selection in Post-Metamorphic Wood Frogs and Unisexual Blue-Spotted Salamanders" (2016). Honors College. 379.