We all know that light pollution hinders our observation of stars.
Tom Davis said, "Not many people will appreciate what we do at our feet. You're studying the effects of street lights on animals on the ground. Tell us more.
We know that aerial invertebrates, such as moths, are attracted by street lights and experience increased mortality due to increased predation by animals such as flying into lights, exhaustion or bats.
We don't know if this will have a lasting impact on population.
What did you find?
Because air invertebrates are difficult to study in terms of community composition, we observed ground-dwelling invertebrates, including beetles, spiders and ants, to determine whether their communities were affected by neighboring street lighting.
We find evidence that these lights have a lasting effect on their distribution.
Are these impacts harmful?
Damage is a somewhat extreme word.
It constitutes a change in the environment, but is it an important change that needs to be investigated?
In general, how does this light affect animals?
In various ways.
We need to study in more detail how artificial light affects the circadian rhythm of animals.
Light helps regulate many seasonal and daily cycles - when you hibernate, when you come out of hibernation, when you mate, when you come out hunting.
What about plants?
This is one of the things we want to study in more detail, especially the effects of artificial lighting on plant phenology, that is, their flowering time, seed collection time, autumn senescence - the speed of leaf discoloration, deciduous leaves and so on.
Artificial light may affect some of these processes.
Will concerns about rising light pollution mitigate these problems?
This is a form of pollution that we are just beginning to recognize, so anything that allows people to talk about it -- including aesthetic reasons, such as the glow of the sky, to prevent you from seeing the stars -- is good.
Why is the new generation of street lights worrying?
Society began to try new types of lighting, especially whiter lighting.
For example, if a whiter street light allows me to better identify pedestrians on the road while driving, it allows ground beetles to identify their prey against a complex color background.
We need to know how this affects the ability of animals to perform tasks.
If this proves harmful, what should we do?
There are a series of strategies.
One is to turn off the lights, but I don't want to advocate this because there is a big human factor.
Dimming the light and reducing the amount of light scattered into the environment are possible ways.
Of course, will it only get worse?
It seems so.
In our paper, we quote the global annual growth of artificial lighting by 6%.
Developing countries will see the biggest growth.
Journal Reference & colon;
Biology Letter, DOI & colon; 10. 1098/rsbl. 2012.