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Light Pollution Threatens Species Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Light Pollution Threatens Species

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


As artificial light increases in volume and geogra­phical coverage around the world, a variety of animals are suffering ill effects.

Some of the conseq­uences of light pollution are immediate and obviou­s—for example, a moth that flies into a streetlamp may die on impact. But there are also less visible, possibly more damaging effects, such as changes to predat­or-prey and plant-­pol­linator relati­onships that can reverb­erate through ecosystems

1. Fatal attraction

Illumi­nated skyscr­apers and spotlights can lure migrating birds. Animals may become disori­ented and end up in deadly collisions or perish from exhaustion

2. Dining by street­light

Street­lamps, floodl­ights, and other luminous objects attract a wide range of insects at night. Predators home in on light-­loving swarms to take advantage of the congre­gated prey.

3. Lonely nights

Nighttime lighting drives away some nocturnal pollin­ators, reducing the ability of plants in lit areas to bear fruit

4. Shifting commun­ities

Artificial illumi­nation at night can increase the proportion of microo­rga­nisms in freshwater sediments that are able to photos­ynt­hesize under low light levels.

5. Desync­hro­nized

Artifi­cially lit nights can perturb an animal’s circadian rhythms, altering the timing of activi­ties, such as sleep, foraging, mating, and migration, that are tightly controlled by the body’s internal clocks.

Light Pollutiuon