Time and time again

Gaston, K.J., Davies, T.W., Nedelec, S.L. & Holt, L.A. 2017. Impacts of artificial light at night on biological timings. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 48, 49-68.

The use of artificial lighting to illuminate the night has provided substantial benefits to humankind. It has also disrupted natural daily, seasonal, and lunar light cycles as experienced by a diversity of organisms, and hence it has also altered cues for the timings of many biological activities. Here we review the evidence for impacts of artificial nighttime lighting on these timings. Although the examples are scattered, concerning a wide variety of species and environments, the breadth of such impacts is compelling. Indeed, it seems reasonable to conclude that the vast majority of impacts of artificial nighttime lighting stem from effects on biological timings. This adds support to arguments that artificial nighttime lighting has a quite pervasive and marked impact on ecological systems, that the rapid expansion in the global extent of both direct illuminance and skyglow is thus of significant concern, and that a widespread implementation of mitigation measures is required.