Marine artificial light

Davies, T. W., Duffy, J. P., Bennie, J. & Gaston, K. J. (2014) The nature, extent and ecological consequences of marine light pollution. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(6), 347–355.

IMG_0272Despite centuries of use, artificial light at night has only recently been recognized as a cause for environmental concern. Its global extent and ongoing encroachment into naturally lit ecosystems has sparked scientific interest into the many ways in which it may negatively affect human health, societal attitudes, scientific endeavors, and biological processes. Yet, perhaps because sources of artificial light are largely land based, the potential for artificial light pollution to interfere with the biology of the ocean has not been explored in any detail. There is little information on how light pollution affects those species, behaviors, and interactions that are informed by the intensity, spectra, and periodicity of natural nighttime light in marine ecosystems. Here, we provide an overview of the extent of marine light pollution, discuss how it changes the physical environment, and explore its potential role in shaping marine ecosystems.

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