Infographic: Light Pollution Threatens Species
Infographic: Light Pollution Threatens Species

Infographic: Light Pollution Threatens Species

As artificial light increases in volume and geographical coverage around the world, a variety of animals are suffering ill effects.

Diana Kwon
Diana Kwon

Diana is a freelance science journalist who covers the life sciences, health, and academic life.

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Oct 1, 2018

Some of the consequences of light pollution are immediate and obvious—for example, a moth that flies into a streetlamp may die on impact. But there are also less visible, possibly more damaging effects, such as changes to predator-prey and plant-pollinator relationships that can reverberate through ecosystems.

© lucy conklin
1
Fatal attraction
Illuminated skyscrapers and spotlights can lure migrating birds. Animals may become disoriented and end up in deadly collisions or perish from exhaustion.
2
Dining by streetlight
Streetlamps, floodlights, and other luminous objects attract a wide range of insects at night. Predators home in on light-loving swarms to take advantage of the congregated prey.
3
Lonely nights
Nighttime lighting drives away some nocturnal pollinators, reducing the ability of plants in lit areas to bear fruit.
4
Shifting communities
Artificial illumination at night can increase the proportion of microorganisms in freshwater sediments that are able to photosynthesize under low light...

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