Yu Chuan Shan, Ben Banet, and I have been working the past couple of years on developing a monthly database of upward radiance from within and buffers around all of the National Park units in the United States. They are presenting the research today at the USC undergraduate research symposium. The results presented only scratch the surface of what we can do to analyze this high-resolution database over space and time.
Shan also put together a website to walk through the project.
The poster can be downloaded here. Please cite as:
Shan, Yu Chuan, Ben Banet, and Travis Longcore. 2017. Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Nighttime Lighting In and Around National Parks. USC Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work (Los Angeles, April 12, 2017).
As a result of the new atlas of of artificial night sky brightness I ended up doing a lot of interviews for national and international outlets, including Science Magazine, Takepart.com, Christian Science Monitor, Scientific American, and USA Today.
Then the American Medical Association released a statement on LED lighting (for which I had provided some background information) and a few more stories came out in Takepart.com and Christian Science Monitor.
A couple of Los Angeles Times stories also happened to include me:
Rare toads (presumably) love him; off-roaders do not
The sunset that takes an hour to go from date palms to to redwoods
Landscape architects, mark your calendars. I’ll be part of a joint presentation on Ecologically Sensitive Lighting Design that was just accepted to the American Society of Landscape Architects annual meeting in New Orleans this fall. I teamed up with lighting designer Linnaea Tillett and lighting engineer Nancy Clanton, two of the top landscape lighting experts in the country on the session proposal. We will use a case study format to explore approaches to landscape lighting (and not lighting…) that incorporate the psychology of place-making, consideration for nature, and technical advances in the field.
Boulder City Hall lighting design by Clanton and Associates.
The message that lights can have environmental consequences becomes more and more mainstream. Optics and Photonics News this month has an article by freelance writer Jeff Hecht, with whom I’ve spoked for other stories before. His article is a multi-page spread and emphasizes both spectrum and intensity and their potential impacts, as well as the potential to mitigate those impacts by customizing both. Here’s my pull quote:
Longcore’s ideal would be very low blue to reduce wildlife impact, with only enough blue added to raise color temperature to 2700 K if necessary for good color rendering.
I actually think that most outdoor lighting can do without blue light and might put an “absolutely” before the “necessary” in the quote. Manufacturers are starting to deliver LEDs that cut out nearly all the blue light, have a reasonable color rendering index, and can be dimmed without an efficiency penalty.
Australian zoologist Kylie Robert and colleagues have published an exciting new paper on the disruption of breeding patterns and melatonin levels in a free-ranging native mammal. I had the chance to comment on the significance of this research for Science News and am delighted that Dr. Robert will also be presenting at the Annual General Meeting of the International Dark-Sky Association on November 15 in Phoenix. To my knowledge, this paper is one of the first showing these kinds of effects, such as lowered blood melatonin levels, in the field and joins recent work by Davide Dominoni, who showed impacts from night lighting on the physiology of wild birds.
John P. Swaddle*, Clinton D. Francis*, Jesse R. Barber, Caren B. Cooper, Christopher C.M. Kyba, Davide M. Dominoni, Graeme Shannon, Erik Aschehoug, Sarah E. Goodwin, Akito Y. Kawahara, David Luther, Kamiel Spoelstra, Margaret Voss, Travis Longcore
- Anthropogenic light and sound are an important component of global change.
- These stimuli often co-occur and may function synergistically.
- The selection pressure of light and noise may drive the rate of evolutionary change.
- We propose a framework to explore the ultimate consequences of noise and light exposure.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution
Human activities have caused a near-ubiquitous and evolutionarily-unprecedented increase in environmental sound levels and artificial night lighting. These stimuli reorganize communities by interfering with species-specific perception of time-cues, habitat features, and auditory and visual signals. Rapid evolutionary changes could occur in response to light and noise, given their magnitude, geographical extent, and degree to which they represent unprecedented environmental conditions. We present a framework for investigating anthropogenic light and noise as agents of selection, and as drivers of other evolutionary processes, to influence a range of behavioral and physiological traits such as phenological characters and sensory and signaling systems. In this context, opportunities abound for understanding contemporary and rapid evolution in response to human-caused environmental change.