Australian Mammalogy Australian Mammalogy Society
Journal of the Australian Mammal Society
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The impact of artificial lighting on bats along native coastal vegetation

Grant D. Linley
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Ecological Insights, Black Rock, Vic., Australia. Email: grant.linley@gmail.com

Australian Mammalogy - https://doi.org/10.1071/AM15047
Submitted: 10 November 2015  Accepted: 31 August 2016   Published online: 7 October 2016

Abstract

Anthropogenic light pollution is increasing rapidly within urban areas around the world, causing a raft of ecological issues, including species loss. I used echolocation detectors to uncover the impact of artificial lighting on insectivorous bat (Chiroptera) species in Melbourne’s south-east. Surveys were undertaken in native vegetation at a lit treatment, which was illuminated by a street light, and an unlit treatment, which was dark. Bat activity and species richness at unlit treatments was significantly higher when compared with lit treatments. The temperature at which the greatest activity occurred was ~2°C higher at unlit treatments than lit treatments. Bat activity at both the lit and unlit treatments increased rapidly after sunset. Bat activity moderately decreased during the night at lit treatments until sunrise, whilst activity at unlit treatments remained steady throughout the night before rapidly decreasing two hours before sunrise. The negative effect of artificial lighting on bat activity and species in urban areas may have major long-term implications on the ecology of urban areas.

Additional keywords: echolocation, insectivorous bats, lighting, urban ecology.


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