artificial lights and the environment

From GeoCommunity

Lights enable humans to use the outside environment at night, but what does artificial illumination mean to wildlife? Artificial night lighting may affect behavior of wildlife in complex ways, and may even contribute to declines in some reptile species, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Texas Tech University published in a chapter in a new book by Island Press.

In the book, experts worldwide explore the ecological effects of artificial night lighting across animal groups and plants. In their book chapter, Dr. Robert N. Fisher, a USGS scientist in San Diego, Calif., and Dr. Gad Perry, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, reviewed the knowledge base from published and unpublished accounts and reported that scientists know relatively little about the effects of night lighting on reptiles, other than young sea turtles. They noted that little is known about the natural history of most herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians), although decline rates in reptiles are believed by some scientists to be similar to those reported in amphibians.

In rapidly urbanizing southern California, Perry and Fisher noted that declines appear to be occurring in populations of many local reptile species for a variety of causes, but significant local declines of two nocturnal snakes – from coastal sand dunes and marine terraces — may have links to light pollution.

Hmm. Using one technology (GIS) to understand the negative impact of another technology (outside lighting).

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