Light pollution and the sandhopper

Discuss the greatest threat to amateur astronomy today

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brian livesey
Posts: 5838
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
Location: Lancashire

Light pollution and the sandhopper

Post by brian livesey »

We skywatchers are acutely aware of the devastating effects of light pollution, not only in respect of having the night stolen from us in many areas, including in a surprising number of rural areas, but on light pollution's effects on nature.
Earth's amazing biosphere has, over millions of years, been atuned to our planet's diurnal and nocturnal rhythm of rotation. Mess with this and organisms can lose there orientation. The latest victim to experience the effects of light pollution is the lowly sandhopper. It normally slips into its pyjama, metaphorically speaking, during daylight hours, then feeds and breeds at night.
The sandhopper navigates it's way along shorelines using the light and brightness of the moon, but sky glow from coastal cities is disrupting its nightly excursions. Dr. Thomas Davies, a lecturer in marine conservation at Plymouth University, said: "When sky glow appears, sandhoppers move in all directions randomly. They scatter." He and his team are concerned that the sky glow is disrupting the crustaceans' feeding and reproduction behaviour.
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