New global atlas maps out ocean areas most affected by light pollution


15 December 2021

As coastal areas become increasingly built up, concerns are growing about levels of artificial light at night (ALAN) and its potential impacts on the marine environment.

Light pollution is well-studied in terms of its effects on the night sky and astronomy, and on terrestrial ecosystems, but until now researchers didn’t know the full extent of ALAN in the oceans.

A new study  ‘A global atlas of artificial light at night under the sea’, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, maps out areas of the ocean most affected by light pollution. It finds that up to 1.9 million kmof the world’s coastal waters are being exposed to biologically significant levels of ALAN.

The study, published in open access in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, brought together researchers from the University of Strathclyde, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the University of Plymouth, The Arctic University of Norway, Bar-Ilan University, The Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of Eilat and Beit Berl Academic College.

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