Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Light at night, melatonin and bird behavior

Date:
October 2, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Low light levels, similar to those found in urban areas at night, can have a significant effect on melatonin production in birds at night. This suggests that melatonin could be mediating changes in bird behaviour at night. Researchers suggest that altered melatonin production may cause birds to interpret increased light during the night as shorter nights.

In birds, light at night has resulted in a range of bird behaviour changes, including earlier activity in the mornings and changes in breeding patterns. It has been suggested that this may be due to an inability to detect how long days are.
Credit: © Jörg Hackemann / Fotolia

Low light levels, similar to those found in urban areas at night, can have a significant effect on melatonin production in birds at night. This suggests that melatonin could be mediating changes in bird behaviour at night. Reporting in BioMed Central's open access journal Frontiers in Zoology, the researchers suggest that altered melatonin production may cause birds to interpret increased light during the night as shorter nights.

Related Articles


Although the use of artificial light at night has had a broad range of positive benefits for human life, it has also shown to have negative impacts on certain behaviours and physiological processes in humans and animals. However, the research into the mechanisms behind the effects that increased light at night can have on wild animal populations remains limited.

In birds, light at night has resulted in a range of bird behaviour changes, including earlier activity in the mornings and changes in breeding patterns. It has been suggested that this may be due to an inability to detect how long days are, but the mechanism behind this is unknown. As melatonin has a significant role in the daily and seasonal cycles of behaviour and physiology, researchers tested how it was affected by artificial light levels in European blackbirds. To this end, the scientists exposed birds to low intensity light-at-night and looked at whether this altered the nocturnal production of melatonin and activity compared to birds that were exposed to near darkness at night.

Daily patterns of melatonin concentrations were decreased by low intensity light-at-night in both summer and winter. Combined with the observations of altered activity during the night, the group suggested that the light-induced decreases in melatonin production could result in an altered perception of day length, resulting in the birds behaving as if they were exposed to longer days when compared to birds kept under dark nights.

"Our findings may have important implications for understanding the control of seasonal processes, such as reproduction, in urbanized birds," said Davide Dominoni of Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and lead author of this paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Davide M Dominoni, Wolfgang Goymann, Barbara Helm, Jesko Partecke. Urban-like night illumination reduces melatonin release in European blackbirds (Turdus merula): implications of city life for biological time-keeping of songbirds. Frontiers in Zoology, 2013; 10 (1): 60 DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-10-60

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Light at night, melatonin and bird behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002212206.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, October 2). Light at night, melatonin and bird behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002212206.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Light at night, melatonin and bird behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002212206.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) — A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) — Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

Dog Flu Spreading in Midwestern States

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) — Dog flu is spreading in several Midwestern states. Dog daycare centers and veterinary offices are taking precautions. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Raw: Rare Whale Spotted in Gulf of Mexico

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) — Researchers from the E/V Nautilus had quite a surprise Tuesday, when a curious sperm whale swam around their remotely operated vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico. Cameras captured the encounter. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins