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Sustainability 2015, 7(11), 15593-15616; doi:10.3390/su71115593

Out of the Dark: Establishing a Large-Scale Field Experiment to Assess the Effects of Artificial Light at Night on Species and Food Webs

1
Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Müggelseedamm 301/310, 12587 Berlin, Germany
2
Senckenberg German Entomological Institute, Eberswalder Straße 90, 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
3
Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, Felix-Hausdorff-Str. 2, 17489 Greifswald, Germany
4
Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
5
Institute for Space Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Carl-Heinrich-Becker Weg 6-10, 12165 Berlin, Germany
6
Department of Biology-Chemistry-Pharmacy, Freie Universität Berlin, Takustraβe 3, 14195 Berlin, Germany
7
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Department of Conservation Biology, Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
8
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Alfred-Kowalke-Straße 17, 10315 Berlin, Germany
9
Acoustic and Functional Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Eberhard-Gwinner-Str. 11, 82319 Seewiesen, Germany
10
Technische Universität Berlin, Energy and Automation Technology, Lighting Technology, Einsteinufer 19, 10587 Berlin, Germany
11
LUP GmbH, Große Weinmeisterstraße 3a, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 17 August 2015 / Revised: 9 November 2015 / Accepted: 12 November 2015 / Published: 20 November 2015
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Abstract

Artificial light at night (ALAN) is one of the most obvious hallmarks of human presence in an ecosystem. The rapidly increasing use of artificial light has fundamentally transformed nightscapes throughout most of the globe, although little is known about how ALAN impacts the biodiversity and food webs of illuminated ecosystems. We developed a large-scale experimental infrastructure to study the effects of ALAN on a light-naïve, natural riparian (i.e., terrestrial-aquatic) ecosystem. Twelve street lights (20 m apart) arranged in three rows parallel to an agricultural drainage ditch were installed on each of two sites located in a grassland ecosystem in northern Germany. A range of biotic, abiotic, and photometric data are collected regularly to study the short- and long-term effects of ALAN on behavior, species interactions, physiology, and species composition of communities. Here we describe the infrastructure setup and data collection methods, and characterize the study area including photometric measurements. None of the measured parameters differed significantly between sites in the period before illumination. Results of one short-term experiment, carried out with one site illuminated and the other acting as a control, demonstrate the attraction of ALAN by the immense and immediate increase of insect catches at the lit street lights. The experimental setup provides a unique platform for carrying out interdisciplinary research on sustainable lighting. View Full-Text
Keywords: ALAN; artificial light at night; ecosystem; freshwater; light pollution; loss of the night; photometric characterization; riparian; Verlust der Nacht ALAN; artificial light at night; ecosystem; freshwater; light pollution; loss of the night; photometric characterization; riparian; Verlust der Nacht
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Holzhauer, S.I.J.; Franke, S.; Kyba, C.C.M.; Manfrin, A.; Klenke, R.; Voigt, C.C.; Lewanzik, D.; Oehlert, M.; Monaghan, M.T.; Schneider, S.; Heller, S.; Kuechly, H.; Brüning, A.; Honnen, A.-C.; Hölker, F. Out of the Dark: Establishing a Large-Scale Field Experiment to Assess the Effects of Artificial Light at Night on Species and Food Webs. Sustainability 2015, 7, 15593-15616.

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