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Impacts of artificial lighting on bats: A review of challenges and solutions

Stone, Emma Louise; Harris, Stephen; Jones, Gareth


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Dr Emma Stone
Senior Lecturer Environmental Biology

Stephen Harris

Gareth Jones


© 2015 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde. Light pollution is a major emerging issue in biodiversity conservation, and has important implications for policy development and strategic planning. Although research is now addressing the negative impacts of anthropogenic noise on biota, less attention has been paid to the effects of light pollution. Changes in lighting technology have led to a diverse range of emerging low energy light types and a trend towards the increased use of white light. Light pollution affects ecological interactions across a range of taxa and has adverse effects on behaviours such as foraging, reproduction and communication. Almost a quarter of bat species globally are threatened and the key underlying threat to populations is pressure on resources from increasing human populations. Being nocturnal, bats are among the taxa most likely to be affected by light pollution. In this paper we provide an overview of the current trends in artificial lighting followed by a review of the current evidence of the impacts of lighting on bat behaviour, particularly foraging, commuting, emergence, roosting and hibernation. We discuss taxon-specific effects and potential cumulative ecosystem level impacts. We conclude by summarising some potential strategies to minimise the impacts of lighting on bats and identify key gaps in knowledge and priority areas for future research.


Stone, E. L., Harris, S., & Jones, G. (2015). Impacts of artificial lighting on bats: A review of challenges and solutions. Mammalian Biology, 80(3), 213-219.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Feb 17, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 24, 2015
Publication Date May 1, 2015
Journal Mammalian Biology
Print ISSN 1616-5047
Electronic ISSN 1618-1476
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 80
Issue 3
Pages 213-219
Keywords artificial lighting, light pollution, bats, ecosystem services, bio-indicators
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