Impacts of artificial lighting on bats: A review of challenges and solutions

Emma L Stone, Stephen Harris, Gareth Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Light pollution is a major emerging issue in biodiversity conservation, and has important implications for policy development and strategic planning. Although research is now addressing the negative impacts of anthropogenic noise on biota, less attention has been paid to the effects of light pollution. Changes in lighting technology have led to a diverse range of emerging low energy light types and a trend towards the increased use of white light. Light pollution affects ecological interactions across a range of taxa and has adverse effects on behaviours such as foraging, reproduction and communication. Almost a quarter of bat species globally are threatened and the key underlying threat to populations is pressure on resources from increasing human populations. Being nocturnal, bats are among the taxa most likely to be affected by light pollution. In this paper we provide an overview of the current trends in artificial lighting followed by a review of the current evidence of the impacts of lighting on bat behaviour, particularly foraging, commuting, emergence, roosting and hibernation. We discuss taxon-specific effects and potential cumulative ecosystem level impacts. We conclude by summarising some potential strategies to minimise the impacts of lighting on bats and identify key gaps in knowledge and priority areas for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberS1616-5047(15)00023-3
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Early online date15 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2015

Keywords

  • artificial lighting
  • light pollution
  • ecosystem services
  • bio-indicators

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