Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Light pollution impairs rainforest regeneration

11.03.2014

Increasing light pollution in tropical habitats could be hampering regeneration of rainforests because of its impact on nocturnal seed-dispersers.These new findings were reported by scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research Berlin (IZW). The study – published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology – is the first to show that seed-dispersing bats avoid feeding in light-polluted areas.

Working with Sowell's short-tailed bats (Carollia sowelli), Daniel Lewanzik from the IZW gave the bats a simple choice. He divided a flight cage into two compartments.


Frugivorous bats (Carollia sowelli) in Costa Rica.

Photo author: Schneeberger K/IZW


Frugivorous bats (Carollia sowelli) in Costa Rica.

Photo author: Schneeberger K/IZW

One was naturally dark and the other was illuminated by a sodium street lamp, the most common form of street lighting in the world. Inside both parts of the cage the bats were offered their favourite fruits to harvest: pepper plants, nightshade and figs.

The results revealed that bats flew into the dark compartment twice as often as the compartment lit by a street lamp. The bats also harvested fruits almost twice as often in the dark compartment.

In a second experiment Lewanzik illuminated pepper plants growing in the wild with a street light and measured the percentage of ripe fruit which bats harvested from plants in a dark location and from lit plants.

While bats harvested 100 per cent of the marked, ripe fruit from the plants in the dark, only 78 per cent were taken from the lit plants. Although insect-eating bats have been shown to avoid foraging in light-polluted areas, this is the first study to show that fruit-eating bats also avoid lit areas.

This has important implications for forest regeneration in the tropics. Bats play a key role in pollinating plants and spreading their seeds, especially the seeds of species that are first to recolonise cleared land.

“In tropical habitats bat-mediated seed dispersal is necessary for the rapid succession of deforested land because few other animals than bats disperse seeds into open habitats”, says Daniel Lewanzik, doctoral candidate at the IZW and first author of the study. Under naturally dark conditions, bats produce a copious 'seed rain' when defecating seeds while flying. By reducing foraging of fruit-eating bats in lit areas, light pollution is likely to reduce seed rain, he commented.

In many tropical countries, light pollution is increasing rapidly as economies and human populations grow. Natural succession of forests could therefore suffer as tropical habitats become increasingly illuminated. “The impact of light pollution could be reduced by changes in lighting design and by setting up dark refuges connected by dark corridors for light-sensitive species like bats,” Lewanzik says.

Publication:
Lewanzik D, Voigt CC (2014): Artificial light puts ecosystem services of frugivorous bats at risk. Journal of Applied Ecology.
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12206.

Photos:
Frugivorous bats (Carollia sowelli) in Costa Rica. Photo author: Schneeberger K/IZW

Contact
Leibniz Institute for Zoo- and Wildlife Research (IZW)
Daniel Lewanzik
Tel.: +49 30 5168-446
lewanzik@izw-berlin.de

Leibniz Institute for Zoo- and Wildlife Research (IZW)
Dr. Christian C Voigt
Tel.: +49 30 5168-517
voigt@izw-berlin.de

Leibniz Institute for Zoo- and Wildlife Research (IZW)
Steven Seet
(Öffentlichkeitsarbeit)
Tel.: +49 30 5168-125
seet@izw-berlin.de

Background information:

1. Sowell's short-tailed bat (Carollia sowelli) belongs to the large family of Phyllostomidae or leaf-nosed bats. The characteristic leaf like structure protruding upwards from their nose is believed to be involved in focusing the bats' ultrasonic biosonar beam more precisely. Their relatively broad wings allow them to fly slowly and to manoeuvre elegantly within the dense forest. This is necessary since they mainly feed on fruit of pepper plants from the genus Piper that grow in the understory. These fruit are usually long and thin spikes that bats harvest on the wing and then eat it as humans eat corn on the cob.
2. The British Ecological Society was founded in 1913 and is the oldest ecological society in the world. A learned society and registered charity, the BES supports ecological science through its five academic journals, other publications, events, grants and awards. For more information visit www.britishecologicalsociety.org

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) investigates the vitality and adaptability of wildlife populations in mammalian and avian species of outstanding ecological interest that face anthropogenic challenges. It studies the adaptive value of traits in the life cycle of wildlife, wildlife diseases and clarifies the biological basis and development of methods for the protection of threatened species. Such knowledge is a precondition for a scientifically based approach to conservation and for the development of concepts for the ecologically sustainable use of natural resources.

The Leibniz Association is made up of 86 independent research and scientific institutes, as well as two associated members. Their public and research functions are of national importance and comprise a major component of Germany’s publicly-funded research potential. Leibniz Institutes maintain more than 2,300 contracted cooperations with international partners in academia and industry, and some 2,200 foreign scientists contribute to Leibniz Institutes’ output on a temporary basis each year. Formal cooperative partnerships have been or are currently being developed with scientific institutions in France, Japan, Korea, Canada, Poland, Taiwan, and India. Third-party funds of about € 330 million per year indicate high competitiveness and excellence. Leibniz Institutes currently coordinate 75 projects funded by the European Union. They were also awarded grants by the European Union (with a value of € 42 million) and the German Research Foundation (DFG, € 55 million) in 2010, while € 51 million are a result of cooperations with industry partners. Leibniz Institutes contribute to clusters of excellence in fields such as mathematics, optical technologies, materials research, bio-medical research, environmental research, bio- and nanotechnology, as well as biodiversity, economic policy, and educational research. Altogether, ca. 17,200 people are employed at Leibniz Institutes, among them 8,200 researchers, including 3,300 junior scientists.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.batlab.de
http://www.izw-berlin.de
http://www.journalofappliedecology.org
http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kb-So7sZmY&list=PLj2iBP9OyvXMhylmhjjNOaxawag...

Karl-Heinz Karisch | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

Further reports about: Carollia sowelli IZW Leibniz Wildlife bats compartment dark ecological fruit-eating grants seeds species

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

nachricht Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>