Long-term exposure to experimental light affects the ground-dwelling invertebrate community, independent of light spectra

Kamiel Spoelstra, Sven Teurlincx, Matthijs Courbois, Zoë M. Hopkins, Marcel E. Visser, Therésa M. Jones, Gareth R. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Our planet endures a progressive increase in artificial light at night (ALAN), which affects virtually all species, and thereby biodiversity. Mitigation strategies include reducing its intensity and duration, and the adjustment of light spectrum using modern light emitting diode (LED) light sources. Here, we studied ground-dwelling invertebrate (predominantly insects, arachnids, molluscs, millipedes, woodlice and worms) diversity and community composition after 3 or 4 years of continued nightly exposure (every night from sunset to sunrise) to experimental ALAN with three different spectra (white-, and green- and red-dominated light), as well as for a dark control, in natural forest-edge habitat. Diversity of pitfall-trapped ground-dwelling invertebrates, and the local contribution to beta diversity, did not differ between the dark control and illuminated sites, or between the different spectra. The invertebrate community composition, however, was significantly affected by the presence of light. Keeping lights off during single nights did show an immediate effect on the composition of trapped invertebrates compared to illuminated nights. These effects of light on species composition may impact ecosystems by cascading effects across the food web. This article is part of the theme issue 'Light pollution in complex ecological systems'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20220364
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Issue number1892
Early online date30 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2023


  • community composition
  • ground-dwelling arthropods
  • light pollution
  • species diversity

Research theme

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable water and land use


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