The nature, extent, and ecological implications of marine light pollution

Thomas W. Davies, James P. Duffy, Jon Bennie, Kevin J. Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Despite centuries of use, artificial light at night has only recently been recognized as a cause for environmental concern. Its global extent and ongoing encroachment into naturally lit ecosystems has sparked scientific interest into the many ways in which it may negatively affect human health, societal attitudes, scientific endeavors, and biological processes. Yet, perhaps because sources of artificial light are largely land based, the potential for artificial light pollution to interfere with the biology of the ocean has not been explored in any detail. There is little information on how light pollution affects those species, behaviors, and interactions that are informed by the intensity, spectra, and periodicity of natural nighttime light in marine ecosystems. Here, we provide an overview of the extent of marine light pollution, discuss how it changes the physical environment, and explore its potential role in shaping marine ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes

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