The Influence of Low Intensities of Light Pollution on Bat Communities in a Semi-Natural Context Article. PLOS ONE. published31

Anthropogenic light pollution is an increasingly significant issue worldwide. Over the past century, the use of artificial lighting has increased in association with human activity. Artificial lights are suspected to have substantial effects on the ecology of many species, e.g., by producing discontinuities in the territories of nocturnal animals. We analyzed the potential influence of the intensity and type of artificial light on bat activity in a semi-natural landscape in France. We used a species approach, followed by a trait-based approach, to light sensitivity. We also investigated whether the effect of light could be related to foraging traits. We performed acoustic surveys at sites located along a gradient of light intensities to assess the activity of 15 species of bats. We identified 2 functional response groups of species: one group that was light-tolerant and
one group that was light-intolerant. Among the species in the latter group that appear to be disadvantaged by lighting conditions, many are rare and threatened in Europe, whereas the species from the former group are better able to thrive in disturbed habitats such as lighted areas and may actually benefit from artificial lighting. Finally, several methods of controlling light pollution are suggested for the conservation of bat communities. Recommendations for light management and the creation of dim-light corridors are proposed; these strategies may play an important role in protecting against the impact of light pollution on nocturnal animals.

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LACOEUILHE Aurélie, MACHON Nathalie, JULIEN Jean-François, LE BOCQ Agathe, KERBIRIOU Christian


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