Artificial light threatening pollination: Experts warn

Artificial light threatening pollination: Experts warn

A new study by a team of ecologists at the University of Bern has cautioned that artificial light is disrupting nocturnal pollination, threatening reduction in fruit production.

Almost everyone knows that small creatures like bees play a key role in pollination. However, few people are aware of the fact that nocturnal insects like beetles and flies also play a crucial role in the process.

In the experiment, the researchers placed mobile streetlamps over multiple plots of cabbage thistle to know about the affects of artificial light on the pollination service nocturnal pollinators provide.

When they counted the visits of pollinating species to these plots and compared them with plots that were left in the dark, they found that the lighted plots got 62 per cent fewer visits from nocturnal pollinators and that 29 per cent fewer species made the visits.

Lead researcher Eva Knop said, “As it is possible that light sensitive insects have already disappeared in regions with high levels of light pollution, we conducted our study in the still relatively dark Prealps.”

Bee populations have fallen alarmingly in recent years, prompting fears about harm to plant species that are reliant on pollinators. The suppression of nocturnal pollinators due to artificial lighting could add to the problem.