UCLA pitches in on research finding the effects of outdoor lighting on insect populations

March 20, 2021

New research by UCLA and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute shows how the kind of light people use makes a big difference, even in one of the buggiest places on Earth — the Amazon River basin. The study, published March 16 in Insect Conservation and Diversity, reveals that a certain kind of light minimizes humans’ impact on natural systems.

Image Source: NASA

The study also reveals important findings for human health and comfort. Artificial light attracts biting insects and other bothersome or harmful species that can spread deadly diseases. The type of light people use, the research shows, can help keep people safer.

One of the study’s co-authors is UCLA conservation scientist Travis Longcore, whose previous research examined on what lighting, theoretically, would most and least interfere with insects. The Amazon basin — where the Peruvian government is planning an energy infrastructure project in an area that has never before been exposed to artificial light — provided the perfect opportunity to test his predictions.

Read More in UCLA Newsroom.

Study authors:

Jessica L. Deichmann, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Christian Ampudia Gatty, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Juan Manuel Andía Navarro, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Alfonso Alonso, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Reynaldo Linares-Palomino, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

Travis Longcore, conservation scientist, UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability