SP08: Effects of light pollution on obligatory nocturnal mammals (bats)
As part of subproject 08 coordinated by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), we investigate the effects of light pollution on the ecology and behaviour of bats. Furthermore, we study to what extent increased predation of insects at street lamps affect food webs.
Temperate bats feed predominantly on insects. Since many insects are attracted to lights, they accumulate around street lamps and thus represent a valuable and easy-to-access food source for bats. However, some bat species seem to avoid foraging in artificial light. Consequently, we expect that the species composition of ecosystems is largely affected by the presence of artificial light. Furthermore, we predict that artificial light reduces the quality of daytime roosts if bats postpone their emerging at sunset because of dim light. However, such adverse effects could be compensated by using innovative light sources and new concepts of illumination.
Artificial light seem to attract certain insect groups and repel others. The increased predation risk of insects due to the presence of e.g. bats and spiders at street lights may largely influence whole food webs. To better understand such patterns, we plan to compare food webs in dark and illuminated landscapes and investigate if potential differences are caused by light-specific predation risk. This project is part of a collaboration between the IZW, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.
Scientist ist Daniel Lewanzik
Leader of subproject ist PD Dr. Christian Voigt