Anthropogenic disturbances are known to cause significant physiological and behavioural changes in animals and, thus, are the critical focus of numerous studies. Light pollution is an increasingly recognised source of disturbance that has the potential to impact animal physiology and behaviour. Here, we investigate the effect of constant light on a personality trait and metabolic rate in the European hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus. We used Bayesian mixed models to estimate average behavioural change (i.e. sample mean level behavioural plasticity) and between- and within-individual variation in boldness in response to laboratory light. Hermit crabs experiencing constant light were consistently less bold and had a higher metabolic rate than those kept under a standard laboratory light regime (12:12 h light/dark). However, there was no effect of light on individual consistency in behaviour. As boldness is associated with coping with risk, hermit crabs exposed to light pollution at night may experience increased perceived predation risk, adjusting their behaviour to compensate for the increased conspicuousness. However, reduced boldness could lead to lower rates of foraging and this, in combination with elevated metabolic rate, has the potential for a reduction in energy balance.



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Environmental Pollution



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School of Biological and Marine Sciences