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Holzhauer S.I.J., Franke S., Kyba C.C.M., Manfrin A., Klenke R., Voigt C.C., et al. (2015). Out of the Dark: Establishing a Large-Scale Field Experiment to Assess the Effects of Artificial Light at Night on Species and Food Webs. Sustainability, 7(11), 15593–15616.
Abstract: Artificial light at night (ALAN) is one of the most obvious hallmarks of human presence in an ecosystem. The rapidly increasing use of artificial light has fundamentally transformed nightscapes throughout most of the globe, although little is known about how ALAN impacts the biodiversity and food webs of illuminated ecosystems. We developed a large-scale experimental infrastructure to study the effects of ALAN on a light-naÃ¯ve, natural riparian (i.e., terrestrial-aquatic) ecosystem. Twelve street lights (20 m apart) arranged in three rows parallel to an agricultural drainage ditch were installed on each of two sites located in a grassland ecosystem in northern Germany. A range of biotic, abiotic, and photometric data are collected regularly to study the short- and long-term effects of ALAN on behavior, species interactions, physiology, and species composition of communities. Here we describe the infrastructure setup and data collection methods, and characterize the study area including photometric measurements. None of the measured parameters differed significantly between sites in the period before illumination. Results of one short-term experiment, carried out with one site illuminated and the other acting as a control, demonstrate the attraction of ALAN by the immense and immediate increase of insect catches at the lit street lights. The experimental setup provides a unique platform for carrying out interdisciplinary research on sustainable lighting.