how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Anyone can post and discuss breaking science news or science-related public policy, that interests them (please respect posting guidelines and be sure to reference properly).
Forum rules
Please be sure to check our forum's Rules & Guidelines

how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2018, 2:42 pm 

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586- ... 04568646=1

The most lethal effects are perhaps on insects — vital food sources and pollinators in many ecosystems. An estimate of the effects of street lamps in Germany suggested that the light could wipe out more than 60 billion insects over a single summer4. Some insects fly straight into lamps and sizzle; some collapse after circling them for hours.


In a study in the United Kingdom5, scientists took a 13-year record of the timing of bud opening in trees, and matched it up with satellite imagery of night-time lighting. After controlling for urban heat, they found that artificial lighting was linked with trees bursting their buds more than a week earlier — a magnitude similar to that predicted for 2 °C of global warming. A study of soya-bean farms in Illinois6 found that the light from adjacent roads and passing cars could be delaying the maturation of crops by up to seven weeks, as well as reducing yield.


Now, the results of some ambitious experiments are coming in. One of the largest is a field experiment in the Netherlands, where eight locations in nature reserves and dark places host several rows of street lamps. The rows are different colours — green, red, white and a control row turned off — and run from a grassland or heath field into a forest7. For six years now, scientists and volunteers have used camera traps to monitor the activity of small mammals; automatic bat detectors to record echolocation calls; mist nets for trapping birds; and nest boxes to assess the timing and success of breeding. Botanists are studying the vegetation underneath the lamps.


...

In its latest, unpublished, work, the team reveals further effects, cascading onto the predators in the systems.effect.


Artificial light can also have impacts on ecosystem services — the benefits that ecosystems provide to humans. A study published in Nature last year found that illuminating a set of Swiss meadows stopped nocturnal insects pollinating plants13. A team led by Eva Knop of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Berne, found that insect visits to the plants dropped by nearly two-thirds under artificial light and that daytime pollination couldn’t compensate: the plants produced 13% less fruit. Knop’s team forecast that these changes had the potential to cascade to the daytime pollinator community by reducing the amount of food available. “This is a very important study, which clearly demonstrates that artificial light at night is a threat to pollination,” says Hölker.
User avatar
zetreque
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 3767
Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Location: Paradise being lost to humanity
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Postby Serpent on December 26th, 2018, 2:58 pm 

Thanks, I hadn't considered harm to insects, other than the moth holocaust.
This on top of all the bird migration deaths and navigation problems cities cause.
When you consider, too, how few of those lights are actually needed by people to carry on their own lives, the harm we do is immensely out of proportion to simple self-interest: all that night-lighting disrupts our sleeping and eating patterns, too.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3594
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2018, 3:20 pm 

Yeah there is growing research in the area of human health. Apps that dim the screens on cellphones, tablets, computers and tvs, and change the screen's color spectrum are growing in popularity. Along with blue blocker glasses. I can speak for anecdotal evidence myself that they help me get more tired and sleep better at night.

With all that research on human health, it shouldn't be surprising at all about wildlife. That idea of solar roadways scared me because so little research and awareness has been done about light pollution and they were making them with built in lighting. I also fear things like fusion power that will give human kind massive amounts of electricity they will no doubt light up every corner of the world. Hopefully the research will be there and we will be smarter by then.
User avatar
zetreque
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 3767
Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Location: Paradise being lost to humanity
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2018, 3:23 pm 

The soybean study seems astonishing. It's going to take some time to actually go through it.
https://apps.ict.illinois.edu/projects/ ... sp?id=5252

just browsing it looks like one of the biggest correlations is moisture vs illumination. That makes sense if the stomata are staying open longer/shorter thinking it's daytime as to make the most of sunlight and co2 updtake.
User avatar
zetreque
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 3767
Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Location: Paradise being lost to humanity
Blog: View Blog (3)


Re: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Postby Serpent on December 26th, 2018, 7:22 pm 

That's impressive.
I've only had a brief glance at the paper, but they seems very thorough, indeed.

We rush into all these projects based on what seem like good ideas (lighted roads, lighted yards, lighted fields so you can get the most work out of the migrants...) without asking whether they really are good ideas.
But as far as I'm concerned, the worst crime is all that frenetic advertising that can't even possibly sell product, since it's lost in the jumble of other frenetic advertising. That's just insane.
Serpent
Resident Member
 
Posts: 3594
Joined: 24 Dec 2011


Re: how artificial lighting is harming the natural world

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2018, 7:49 pm 

oh don't even get me started on these LED billboards now. They are blinding. I have to put down the car visor at night time to block them out like the sun.
User avatar
zetreque
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 3767
Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Location: Paradise being lost to humanity
Blog: View Blog (3)



Return to Science News Discussion Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 20 guests