Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Research group of Franz Hölker
Bild: Manfrin et al. Front. Environ. Sci. 5:61

Conceptual figure depicting how artificial light at night (ALAN) increases the flux of aquatic insects into the riparian area through an increase in emergence under lamps and increased attraction of aquatic insects to light. The community of riparian ground-dwelling predators and scavengers is altered in the lit area and some night-active riparian spiders extend their activity into the day. Both likely are the result of the large increase in input of freshwater-derived prey. | Image: Manfrin et al. Front. Environ. Sci. 5:61, doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2017.00061

Artificial light at night is widespread and increasing at a rate of around 2-6% a year worldwide. Because it has been introduced in places, times and at intensities at which it does not naturally occur, artificial light has becoming a potential threat to biodiversity. Despite the ubiquity of artificial light, its effects on ecosystems, especially freshwaters, have not yet been extensively studied. Our research thus largely focuses on biological impacts of artificial light on a wide range of biological processes, from gene expression to land-water-interactions and ecosystem functions. At the moment we are running large-scale field experiments at two different ecosystems: we assess the impact of streetlights on grassland-ditch systems in the Dark Sky reserve Westhavelland (BfN/BMUB) and the impact of simulated skyglow at LakeLab in Lake Stechlin (SAW ILES). Another important research domain is getting a comprehensive quantitative understanding of the amount of light in the nocturnal (SAW ILES) and the diurnal (IGB-Frontiers, SAW CONNECT) environment in a combination of satellite and ground based measurements for monitoring of and with light (remote sensing). In addition, our aim is to directly transfer knowledge into society, e.g. in a combination of transdisciplinary communication and citizen science involvement (EU Horizon-2020 STARS4ALL, BfN/BMUB).

Group members at other institutions:

  • Nina-Sophie Weiß (master student at FU Berlin)
  • Judith Kühne (master student at FU Berlin)
  • Simon Hansul (master student at FU Berlin)
  • Olivia Weis (master student at FU Berlin)
  • Mona Storms (master student at FU Berlin)
  • Michele Bonazzi (master student at University of Trento)
  • Hannes Schäricke (bachelor student at Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz)

Group members

Franz Hölker

Research Group Leader
Working group
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Kat Austen

Scientific Staff
Working group
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Sibylle Schroer

Project Coordinator
Working group
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Andreas Jechow

Postdoc
Working group
Experimental Phytoplankton Ecology
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Franziska Kupprat

Doctoral Student
Working group
Aquaponics / Ecophysiology
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Hauke Dämpfling

Technician/Lab Operator
Working group
Groundwater-Surface Water Interactions
Landscape Ecohydrology
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology

Stefan Heller

Technician/Lab Operator
Working group
Light Pollution and Ecophysiology
Selected publications

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