The Switch from Low-Pressure Sodium to Light Emitting Diodes Does Not Affect Bat Activity at Street Lights

E G Rowse, Stephen Harris, Gareth Jones

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

15 Citations (Scopus)
405 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We used a before-after-control-impact paired design to examine the effects of a switch from low-pressure sodium (LPS) to light emitting diode (LED) street lights on bat activity at twelve sites across southern England. LED lights produce broad spectrum ‘white’ light compared to LPS street lights that emit narrow spectrum, orange light. These spectral differences could influence the abundance of insects at street lights and thereby the activity of the bats that prey on them. Most of the bats flying around the LPS lights were aerial-hawking species, and the species composition of bats remained the same after the switch-over to LED. We found that the switch-over from LPS to LED street lights did not affect the activity (number of bat passes), or the proportion of passes containing feeding buzzes, of those bat species typically found in close proximity to street lights in suburban environments in Britain. This is encouraging from a conservation perspective as many existing street lights are being, or have been, switched to LED before the ecological consequences have been assessed. However, lighting of all spectra studied to date generally has a negative impact on several slow-flying bat species, and LED lights are rarely frequented by these ‘light-intolerant’ bat species.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150884
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016

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