Barriers and benefits: implications of artificial night-lighting for the distribution of common bats in Britain and Ireland

Mathews, Fiona, Roche, Niamh, Aughney, Tina, Jones, Nicholas, Day, Julie, Baker, James and Langton, Steve (2015) Barriers and benefits: implications of artificial night-lighting for the distribution of common bats in Britain and Ireland. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370 (1667). p. 20140124. ISSN 0962-8436

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Abstract

Artificial lighting is a particular problem for animals active at night. Approximately 69% of mammal species are nocturnal, and one-third of these are bats. Due to their extensive movements—both on a nightly basis to exploit ephemeral food supplies, and during migration between roosts—bats have an unusually high probability of encountering artificial light in the landscape. This paper reviews the impacts of lighting on bats and their prey, exploring the direct and indirect consequences of lighting intensity and spectral composition. In addition, new data from large-scale surveys involving more than 265 000 bat calls at more than 600 locations in two countries are presented, showing that prevalent street-lighting types are not generally linked with increased activity of common and widespread bat species. Such bats, which are important to ecosystem function, are generally considered ‘light-attracted’ and likely to benefit from the insect congregations that form at lights. Leisler's bat (Nyctalus leisleri) may be an exception, being more frequent in lit than dark transects. For common pipistrelle bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), lighting is negatively associated with their distribution on a landscape scale, but there may be local increases in habitats with good tree cover. Research is now needed on the impacts of sky glow and glare for bat navigation, and to explore the implications of lighting for habitat matrix permeability.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Depositing User: Fiona Mathews
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 16:33
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78657

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Biodiversity Impacts of Street LightingUnsetDefraUnset