Two light pollution research updates

I’m usually one to announce research results and not grant funding, but the funders put out a release and Tweet, so it is officially news that we are starting a new 2-year project: Coast Light: Actionable Science to Manage Coastal Nightscapes. The funding is from USC Sea Grant and includes in-kind contributions from many partners that will make the project possible — including data, labor, and/or time from Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History (collaborating on measuring influence of light on settlement rates of marine invertebrates), The Aerospace Corporation (providing coastal night light measurements by cubesat!), Los Angeles Audubon Society and the many volunteer snowy plover monitors, and Professor Karen Martin at Pepperdine (grunion data).  More about the project as it develops — I’ll be co-advising a Ph.D. student from Biological Sciences who will be the official Sea Grant Trainee on the project.

Our Park Light research efforts are coming to an interim head, as at least three lab members will present at the Los Angeles Geospatial Summit on February 23.  Harrison Knapp and Ben Banet will present a classification of National Park Service units based on the lighting conditions inside the parks and in buffers surrounding them, so that parks can know what other parks face similar issues for light pollution management.  Eliza Gutierrez-Dewar has some very interesting results looking at the spatial and temporal distribution of squid boats off the Pacific Coast, which can be identified using night lights because of the bright lights used by squid fishers to attract the squid up near the surface where they can be caught.  This project builds on data produced by an automated boat detection algorithm developed by Chris Elvidge’s group at NOAA and is of significant interest to land managers looking to protect sensitive seabird nesting sites from excessive light (and associated predation risk) during nesting season. We may have another poster, but I have not reviewed the final program yet.