Smith, T. (2020). Discovering the daily activity pattern of Zygiella x-notata and its relationship to light. University of Groningen, Groningen,Netherlands.
As global urbanization is on the rise, unintended consequences of this modern advancement continue to plague our ecosystems. One of these consequences is artificial light at night (ALAN). Up to 18.7% of landmass experiences ALAN currently, and that figure is only expected to grow. ALAN can threaten biodiversity in urban locations by altering life histories and disrupting the functioning of ecosystems. Many organisms living under ALAN exposure alter their daily rhythm patterns in response to ALAN. This study aimed to investigate the baseline daily activity levels and rhythmic patterns of a common nocturnal urban species, the Silver Sided Sector Spider (Zygiella x-notata). Using the Zantiks AD unit, individuals were tested in-lab for 48-hours by monitoring their activity responses to a 12- hours light/12-hours dark (with ramping transitions) light treatment. Zygiella x-notata was confirmed to be a nocturnal species that displayed clear daily activity patterns under a baseline 12-hours light/12-hours dark treatment. Future studies can now look at the effect of ALAN on Zygiella x-notata and determine how strongly ALAN causes deviation from the activity pattern baseline.