Research

Is Light Pollution Contributing to Insect Decline?

A 2017 German study found an alarming reduction in flying insect populations, attributing it partially to changes of climate and habitat. More recently, scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) have discovered that regions that have experienced a sharp decline in flying insects also have high levels of light pollution.

The researchers analyzed recent studies on the effects of artificial light at night on insects, and found that there is strong evidence to suggest a credible link between light pollution and declines in insect populations.

“Our overview study shows that artificial light at night is widely present and can have complex impacts in agricultural areas, with unknown consequences for the biodiversity in agroecosystems. Thus, light pollution should be generally considered as a potential ecosystem disturbance in future studies to identify ways in which practical steps can be taken to reduce environmental concerns“, summarises Dr. Franz Hölker, Head of the Light Pollution and Ecophysiology research group at IGB.

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Craig DiLouie

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