Category Archives: literature database

BMP Interview #5: Rod E. Mc Connell

Rod E. Mc Connell, Canadian, President of the Alberta Dark Sky Association, tells us about his experience, starting from the Edmonton area, and gradually reaching wider horizons.

Q: How did your involvement with the light pollution issue start?
A: My involvement with light pollution began over fifty years ago when I entered university.
At home in the country my beloved night skies were studded with brilliant stars but, in the city of Edmonton, their numbers were dramatically reduced. In 1963 or ’64, I wrote to city council complaining of the light pollution which blocked my view of the heavens.
However, 1960’s society was not ready for lessons in energy conservation or light waste,
trespass and pollution (Light-WTP). The curt letter I received emphasized the City knew
what it was doing and did not need the recommendations of some kid from the country.
There were even derogatory comments in the local newspaper regarding my concerns.
In November 2009, at my nature preserve 150 km northeast of Edmonton, I really
became aware of how light pollution from Edmonton and area had increased over the years.

An Edmonton taxpayer, I decided to take on the city. Determined to save my dark skies, reduce this waste and cut light pollution, I gathered information on light waste, its costs and its effects. I also formed a group and invited other interested people from
different backgrounds to join the “Alberta Dark Sky Association,” a loose association of
professionals who had similar objectives.
Realizing that we would never win the battle with the City over “light pollution,” I
strongly recommended that we create a program which would emphasize reduced
light/energy waste while reducing costs, improving city lighting, citizen and
environmental health, all items city council should find attractive. I proposed that we call
the initiative the “Light-Efficient Community” program (copyrighted.) This phrase
describing our goal could then be quickly, easily and positively understood by all and
greeted with approval rather than fear or anger.
A Light-Efficient Community (LEC) is one that uses lighting intelligently and
responsibly. It uses the most effective, efficient artificial lighting available to minimize
energy waste, glare, light trespass and light pollution. A Light-Efficient Community
employs sound planning, designs, measures, legislation, fixtures, technologies and
good lighting practices to reduce its energy costs and carbon footprint while preserving
the natural environment and ensuring health, safety, security and a high quality of life
for all.
Prime Principle:
Light only what needs to be lit only when it needs to be lit with the most efficient light
source of appropriate intensity and colour without creating direct light trespass on
neighboring properties and the night sky. Keep your light to yourself!
This initiative eventually met with council approval and the Edmonton “Light-Efficient Community Policy” was adopted August 21st, 2013. We are in the process of making changes to streetlighting and will shortly begin work on “Phase 2 – Exterior Community Lighting” and a “LEC Educational Program.”
We have and continue to consult with other communities in creating and adopting the
LEC program throughout Alberta and elsewhere. Our work extends far beyond Edmonton
and encompasses communications and efforts to reduce Light-WTP on an international
basis. To assist in these efforts, I have created a web site
which offers a short course and many resources for the LEC advocate. I am also currently
producing a film (“Demons in the Light”) which will help educate all sectors of the
communities in which advocates work. (Useful modules from the film are now available
on – Search for “Light-Efficient Communities)

Q: Is the Alberta Dark Sky Association (ADSA) affiliated to the International Dark Sky
Association, or is it an independent operation?

A: The ADSA is a completely separate organization from the International Dark Sky
Association though several of our members also carry IDA memberships.

Q: When was the ADSA created? How many members does it have?
A: The ADSA was created in 2009. Members: Our number of associates approximates 100
with anyone having an interest in Light-WTP welcome.

Outdoor artificial light at night, obesity, and sleep health: Cross-sectional analysis in the KoGES study

Yong Seo Koo Department of Neurology, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea, Jin-Young Song, Eun-Yeon Joo, Heon-Jeong Lee, Eunil Lee, Sang-kun Lee & Ki-Young Jung
Pages 301-314 | Received 11 Aug 2015, Accepted 14 Jan 2016, Published online: 07 Mar 2016

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Obesity-waist circumference.svgObesity is a common disorder with many complications. Although chronodisruption plays a role in obesity, few epidemiological studies have investigated the association between artificial light at night (ALAN) and obesity. Since sleep health is related to both obesity and ALAN, we investigated the association between outdoor ALAN and obesity after adjusting for sleep health. We also investigated the association between outdoor ALAN and sleep health. This cross-sectional survey included 8526 adults, 39–70 years of age, who participated in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study. Outdoor ALAN data were obtained from satellite images provided by the US Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. We obtained individual data regarding outdoor ALAN; body mass index; depression; and sleep health including sleep duration, mid-sleep time, and insomnia; and other demographic data including age, sex, educational level, type of residential building, monthly household income, alcohol consumption, smoking status and consumption of caffeine or alcohol before sleep. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the association between outdoor ALAN and obesity. The prevalence of obesity differed significantly according to sex (women 47% versus men 39%, p < 0.001) and outdoor ALAN (high 55% versus low 40%, p < 0.001). Univariate logistic regression analysis revealed a significant association between high outdoor ALAN and obesity (odds ratio [OR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14–1.35, p < 0.001). Furthermore, multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that high outdoor ALAN was significantly associated with obesity after adjusting for age and sex (OR 1.25, 95% CI 1.14–1.37, p < 0.001) and even after controlling for various other confounding factors including age, sex, educational level, type of residential building, monthly household income, alcohol consumption, smoking, consumption of caffeine or alcohol before sleep, delayed sleep pattern, short sleep duration and habitual snoring (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.06–1.36, p = 0.003). The findings of our study provide epidemiological evidence that outdoor ALAN is significantly related to obesity.

Image by VictovoiOpera propria, Pubblico dominio, Collegamento

Article fished from the ALAN Research literature database

Melatonin: a possible link between the presence of artificial light at night and reductions in biological fitness

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences

Full article:

Marzo 2015

Therésa M. Jones *, Joanna Durrant, Ellie B. Michaelides, Mark P. Green

* Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, 3010 VIC, Australia

The mechanisms underpinning the ecological impacts of the presence of artificial night lighting remain elusive. One suspected underlying cause is that the presence of light at night (LAN) supresses nocturnal production of melatonin, a key driver of biological rhythm and a potent antioxidant with a proposed role in immune function. Here, we briefly review the evidence for melatonin as the link between LAN and changes in behaviour and physiology. We then present preliminary data supporting the potential for melatonin to act as a recovery agent mitigating the negative effects of LAN in an invertebrate. Adult crickets (Teleogryllus commodus), exposed to constant illumination, were provided with dietary melatonin (concentrations: 0, 10 or 100 µg ml−1) in their drinking water. We then compared survival, lifetime fecundity and, over a 4-week period, immune function (haemocyte concentration, lysozyme-like and phenoloxidase (PO) activity). Melatonin supplementation was able only partially to mitigate the detrimental effects of LAN: it did not improve survival or fecundity or PO activity, but it had a largely dose-dependent positive effect on haemocyte concentration and lysozyme-like activity. We discuss the implications of these relationships, as well as the usefulness of invertebrates as model species for future studies that explore the effects of LAN

Photo CC BY-NC by me’nthedogs on Flickr

Article fished from the ALAN research literature database

Artificial night lighting rather than traffic noise affects the daily timing of dawn and dusk singing in common European songbirds

Behavioral Ecology, 5 (25), 1037-1047, 2014

Arnaud Da Silva, Jelmer M. Samplonius, Emmi Schlicht, Mihai Valcu and Bart Kempenaers

Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Eberhard-Gwinner-Strasse, 82319 Seewiesen, Germany

Birds of Sweden 2016 37.jpgIt is well established that artificial night lighting can influence animal orientation, but there is less information about its effects on other behaviors. Previous work suggested that light pollution can affect both seasonal and daily patterns of behavior. The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of artificial night lighting and daytime traffic noise on the timing of dawn and dusk singing in 6 common songbirds. We recorded singing behavior in 11 nonurban plots: 2 plots with light, but no noise, 3 with light and noise pollution, 3 with noise, but no light, and 3 undisturbed forests. Our results show that artificial night lighting, but not noise, leads to an earlier start of dawn singing in 5 out of 6 species, ranging on average from 10min for the song thrush to 20min for the robin and the great tit. This effect was strongest at higher light intensities. We further show that dusk song is also affected: 3 species continued dusk singing for longer in lighted areas, but the effect was smaller than that observed for dawn song (from about 8min for the blackbird to 14min for the great tit). For all species, onset and cessation of singing changed relative to sunrise and sunset with the progress of the season. Rain delayed the onset of singing at dawn and advanced the cessation at dusk. We discuss the implications of our findings in the context of sexual selection.

Photo by Bengt NymanOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Article fished at the ALAN research literature database

Potential effects of artificial light associated with anthropogenic infrastructure on the abundance and foraging behaviour of estuary-associated fishes

Journal of Applied Ecology, 50, 43-50 (2012)

Alistair Becker, Alan K. Whitfield, Paul D. Cowley, Johanna Järnegren, Tor F. Næsje



Urbanization has been identified as a global threat to biodiversity. Human population growth in coastal areas, including estuaries, is expected to increase considerably in coming decades, which will result in a proliferation of infrastructure such as jetties, wharfs and marinas. This infrastructure is often associated with artificial night lighting, yet the implications of these unnatural lighting regimes for the fish fauna in coastal ecosystems are unknown.
We conducted novel, night-time surveys of the fish community directly adjacent to an artificial structure using an acoustic camera (didson). By manipulating the artificial lighting conditions (lighting either ‘on’ or ‘off’), we tested the effects of artificial light on fish abundance and behaviour.
Clear differences in the abundance of fish were observed between the two light treatments. The occurrence of large-bodied predators (>500 mm TL) increased when the artificial lights were on. The behaviour of these fish also differed as they attempted to maintain their position within the illuminated area adjacent to the associated anthropogenic structure. The abundance of small shoaling fish also increased when the lights were on.
It is possible that the conditions created by artificial lighting benefit piscivores through the concentration of prey and enhanced foraging capabilities in the case of visual predators. This has the potential to create unnatural top–down regulation of fish populations within urban estuarine and coastal waters.
Synthesis and applications. As a consequence of a positive phototaxic response, the findings of this study suggest that artificial light often associated with man-made structures has the potential to alter fish communities within urban estuarine ecosystems by creating optimal conditions for predators. Future coastal developments should consider the ecological implications of lighting on aquatic communities. We recommend that lighting be minimized around coastal infrastructure and the use of red lights, which have limited penetration though water, be considered.

article fished in the: Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) Research Literature Database

immage CC BY-SA-2.5 André Karwat 

Morning and Evening Blue-Enriched Light Exposure Alters Metabolic Function in Normal Weight Adults

Plos One, May 2016 (link all’articolo)

Ivy N. Cheung (1) , Phyllis C. Zee, Dov Shalman, Roneil G. Malkani, Joseph Kang, Kathryn J. Reid

(1) Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA


Increasing evidence points to associations between light-dark exposure patterns, feeding behavior, and metabolism. This study aimed to determine the acute effects of 3 hours of morning versus evening blue-enriched light exposure compared to dim light on hunger, metabolic function, and physiological arousal. Nineteen healthy adults completed this 4-day inpatient protocol under dim light conditions (<20lux). Participants were randomized to 3 hours of blue-enriched light exposure on Day 3 starting either 0.5 hours after wake (n = 9; morning group) or 10.5 hours after wake (n = 10; evening group). All participants remained in dim light on Day 2 to serve as their baseline. Subjective hunger and sleepiness scales were collected hourly. Blood was sampled at 30-minute intervals for 4 hours in association with the light exposure period for glucose, insulin, cortisol, leptin, and ghrelin. Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and area under the curve (AUC) for insulin, glucose, HOMA-IR and cortisol were calculated. Comparisons relative to baseline were done using t-tests and repeated measures ANOVAs. In both the morning and evening groups, insulin total area, HOMA-IR, and HOMA-IR AUC were increased and subjective sleepiness was reduced with blue-enriched light compared to dim light. The evening group, but not the morning group, had significantly higher glucose peak value during blue-enriched light exposure compared to dim light. There were no other significant differences between the morning or the evening groups in response to blue-enriched light exposure. Blue-enriched light exposure acutely alters glucose metabolism and sleepiness, however the mechanisms behind this relationship and its impacts on hunger and appetite regulation remain unclear. These results provide further support for a role of environmental light exposure in the regulation of metabolism.   Fished from the ALAN Research Literature Database

Protective effect of blue-light shield eyewear for adults against light pollution from self-luminous devices used at night

Masahiko Ayaki (1),  Atsuhiko Hattori, Yusuke Maruyama, Masaki Nakano,Michitaka Yoshimura, Momoko Kitazawa, Kazuno Negishi & Kazuo Tsubota (2016)

(1) Keyo University, Japan

Chronobiology International, DOI: 10.3109/07420528.2015.1119158

Link to the article:


 We investigated sleep quality and melatonin in 12 adults who wore blue-light shield or control eyewear 2 hours before sleep while using a self-luminous portable device, and assessed visual quality for the two eyewear types. Overnight melatonin secretion was significantly higher after using the blue-light shield (P < 0.05) than with the control eyewear. Sleep efficacy and sleep latency were significantly superior for wearers of the blue-light shield (P < 0.05 for both), and this group reported greater sleepiness during portable device use compared to those using the control eyewear. Participants rated the blue-light shield as providing acceptable visual quality Article fished in the ALAN Research Literature Database

Photo by Bill Bradford/Flickr (CC-BY 2.0 license)

Artificial Night Lighting Reduces Firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) Occurrence in Sorocaba, Brazil

Hagen, O., Santos, R.M., Schlindwein, M.N. and Viviani, V.R. (2015) Artificial Night Lighting Reduces Firefly (Coleoptera: Lampyridae) Occurrence in Sorocaba, Brazil.
Advances in Entomology

Full article:

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).

Artificial night lighting is gaining attention as a new type of pollution; however, studies of its impacts are scarce. Fireflies provide good models to investigate its effects on nocturnal wildlife, since they depend on their bioluminescence for reproduction. This study investigated the impact of artificial illumination on firefly activity at the new campus of the Federal University of São Carlos (Sorocaba, Brazil). The flashing activity of different firefly species, especially
Photinus sp1 (82% of all occurrences), was investigated during 3 years, before and after the installation of multi metal vapor spotlights. Quantitative and qualitative analysis, performed in transects at different distances from the artificial light sources, showed significant negative effects on Photinus sp1 occurrence. This study proposes fireflies as potential flagship species and bioindicators for artificial night lighting and for the first time quantifies its effects, providing subsidies for future conserva-tionist legislations regarding photopollution.

Photopollution, Fireflies, Bioindicators, Flagship Species, Photinus

[Thanks to Andrej Mohar for flagging this]