Investigating How Artificial Light Disrupts Freshwater and Riparian Ecosystems

Freshwater ecosystems in urban areas provide a relief from the built environment that humans enjoy. A walk around a lake or along a stream can be a nice break. These freshwaters can also be good for biodiversity. However, artificial light, more natural light, run-off from roads and lawns, can impact that biodiversity. Artificial lights at night, a prominent feature of urban areas, can affect the behaviours of freshwater organisms, and research at UBC has demonstrated for the first time how these lights alter animals in streams. Increased light because of streamside clearing increases the amount of light, the summertime temperatures of water, the growth of algae, and other aspects of freshwater ecosystems. Chemicals from urban areas can also have impacts. Learning how to live around freshwaters in our urban areas can be good for biodiversity and sustain a nice place for human enjoyment of the natural environment.

John Richardson

John Richardson
Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences
#3041 – 2424 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
Phone: 604–822–6586
john.richardson@ubc.ca