Isaiah Thomas

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Aaron Schirmer, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Elyse Bolterstein, Ph.D.


Circadian disruptions can have adverse behavioral and/or physiological effects on organisms, impacting their overall health and reproductive fitness. The circadian biology of Drosophila melanogaster was disrupted through exposure to excessive nighttime light. Locomotor, lifespan, and fecundity/fertility assays were used to quantify the negative effects of artificial-light-at-night (ALAN) in Oregon-R and w1118 wildtype flies. Control flies were kept in a 12:12 hr. light-dark cycle (LD) while the experimental flies were kept in a 12:12 hr. light-dim-light cycle (LDim) of 4 lux to mimic exposure to ALAN, a form of photopollution. The data showed significant behavioral differences in the active-rest phases of wildtype flies, with the LDim group having a longer duration of midday inactivity and reduced lifespan compared to controls. In addition, there were significant sex differences in both locomotion and lifespan as well as preliminary data indicating that LDim conditions affect fecundity. To date, this research supports the potential for ALAN to significantly impact the behavioral patterns and lifespans of D. melanogaster, establishing a more convenient model to explore future questions related to circadian disruption.

Available for download on Friday, September 13, 2024