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Artificial light at night can change the behaviour of all animals, not just humans

(With thanks to the Conversation)

Written by Dr Theresa Jones and Dr Kathryn McNamara


As the Moon rises on a warm evening in early summer, thousands of baby turtles emerge and begin their precarious journey towards the ocean, while millions of moths and fireflies take to the air to begin the complex process of finding a mate.

These nocturnal behaviours, and many others like it, evolved to take advantage of the darkness of night. Yet today, they are under a increasing threat from the presence of artificial lighting.

At its core, artificial light at night (such as from street lights) masks natural light cycles. Its presence blurs the transition from day to night and can dampen the natural cycle of the Moon. Increasingly, we are realising this has dramatic physiological and behavioural consequences, including altering hormones associated with day-night cycles of some species

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