Aug 2, 2017

Street lamps may negatively impact pollination

A.M. Ahad / AP

Researchers in Switzerland found that pollination is negatively affected by artificial lighting, furthering the belief that the "human footprint can reverberate throughout an ecosystem," according to Nature.

A new study looked at how artificial lighting at night is affecting insects like moths, beetles, and others that spread pollen after dark. To test it, the scientists exposed a plot of cabbage thistle to street lamps, and found that those plots "had 62% fewer visitations from insects than plots situated in darkness." Essentially, lights could be driving away night-time pollinators, which "could lead to less fruit and fewer plants."

On the other hand, Jon Sadler, ecologist and biogeographer at the University of Birmingham, UK, said night-time pollinators being pushed into darker areas due to the lights "might actually enhance pollination in those places."

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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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