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Title: Insects and lighting : how green is white light?
Author: Wakefield, Andrew Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 3760
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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Life on Earth has evolved under regular cycles of light and dark. Only in the past two centuries have humans begun altering habitats with electric lighting. The use of artificial light at night (ALAN) is growing annually and broad-spectrum 'white' _ lighting is taking centre stage. Many new-technology 'white' lights are described as 'environmentally friendly' or 'green' due to their reduced energy use relative to traditional technologies. While use of low-energy lighting may help reduce overall carbon emissions and therefore the severity of climate change, little is known about their impact on animal behaviour and ecology. Determining the ecological effects of light pollution has high policy relevance in the UK as it is a potential driver of recent insect declines. Understanding how ALAN affects insects will be key for effective conservation biology. I used experimental approaches to investigate the impact of new technology lighting, specifically 'white' light-emitting diodes (LEOs), on insect behaviour and ecology. LEOs attracted fewer insects and a smaller diversity of insect families than competing 'white' metal halide street lights. LEOs did not attract a greater abundance or diversity of insects than traditional narrow-spectrum high-pressure sodium street lights. Slight alterations to the spectral distribution of domestic LED light bulbs ('cool-white' and 'warm-white') did not result in any significant difference . . in insect .. attraction. Overall LEOs attracted significantly fewer insects than competing (fluorescent) lights which emitted ultraviolet light. I found that moths are less likely to respond to predatory bat calls in the presence of LED lighting, suggesting that white light can have nuance effects on insect behaviour affecting speGies in unforeseen ways. I suggest ways to mitigate for the impacts of ALAN on insects and I recommend legislative action to prevent overuse of lighting. An improved understanding of how insects respond to new white lighting will have far reaching benefits via their roles as pollinators, vectors of disease, nutrient recyclers, decomposers, predators and prey items.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available