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Gewählte Publikation:

Mittmannsgruber, M; Kavassilas, Z; Spangl, B; Gruber, E; Jagg, E; Zaller, JG.
(2024): Artificial light at night reduces earthworm activity but increases growth of invasive ragweed
BMC ECOL EVOL. 2024; 24(1), 10 FullText FullText_BOKU

Background Artificial light at night, also referred to as light pollution (LP), has been shown to affect many organisms. However, little is known about the extent to which ecological interactions between earthworms and plants are altered by LP. We investigated the effects of LP on anecic earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) that come to the surface at night to forage and mate, and on the germination and growth of the invasive and allergenic ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia). In a full factorial pot experiment in the greenhouse, we tested four factors and their interactions: LP (5 lux vs. 0 lux at night), earthworms (two individuals vs. none), plant species (seeding of ragweed only vs. mixed with Phacelia seeds) and sowing depth (seed placed at the surface vs. in 5 cm depth). Data were analysed using Generalized Linear (Mixed) Models and multifactorial ANOVAs with soil parameters as covariates.Results Light pollution reduced earthworm surface activity by 76% as measured by casting activity and toothpick index; 85% of mating earthworms were observed in the absence of LP. Light pollution in interaction with earthworms reduced ragweed germination by 33%. However, LP increased ragweed height growth by 104%. Earthworms reduced ragweed germination especially when seeds were placed on the soil surface, suggesting seed consumption by earthworms.Conclusions Our data suggest that anecic earthworms are negatively affected by LP because reduced surface activity limits their ability to forage and mate. The extent to which earthworm-induced ecosystem services or community interactions are also affected by LP remains to be investigated. If the increased height growth of ragweed leads to increased pollen and seed production, it is likely that the competition of ragweed with field crops and the risks to human health will also increase under LP.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Gruber Edith
Jagg Elias
Mittmannsgruber Marion
Spangl Bernhard
Zaller Johann

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Light pollution
Lumbricus terrestris
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Plant-animal interactions
Artificial light at night

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