A framework to assess evolutionary responses to anthropogenic light and sound

John P. Swaddle, Clinton D. Francis, Jesse R. Barber, Caren B. Cooper, Christopher C.M. Kyba, Davide Dominoni, Graeme Shannon, Erik Aschehoug, Sarah E. Goodwin, Akito Y. Kawahara, David Luther, Kamiel Spoelstra, Margaret Voss, Travis Longcore

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

234 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Human activities have caused a near-ubiquitous and evolutionarily-unprecedented increase in environmental sound levels and artificial night lighting. These stimuli reorganize communities by interfering with species-specific perception of time-cues, habitat features, and auditory and visual signals. Rapid evolutionary changes could occur in response to light and noise, given their magnitude, geographical extent, and degree to which they represent unprecedented environmental conditions. We present a framework for investigating anthropogenic light and noise as agents of selection, and as drivers of other evolutionary processes, to influence a range of behavioral and physiological traits such as phenological characters and sensory and signaling systems. In this context, opportunities abound for understanding contemporary and rapid evolution in response to human-caused environmental change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-560
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • light at night
  • anthropogenic noise
  • signaling
  • circadian rhythms
  • phenology
  • masking
  • international


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