Investigating the Impact of Artificial Lights on Stream Organisms

Dr John Richardson, in collaboration others, investigated the impact artificial light has to potentially alter the behaviour of many stream organisms. Artificial light is a good indicator of the size and development of human societies and humans tend to live near fresh water Artificial light has been implicated as a potential threat to biodiversity and may disproportionally affect those ecosystems. We tested five hypotheses. To test these hypotheses, we experimentally added street lights along four natural streams for 4 weeks.

The study found that while short-term exposure to artificial light during the summer changes invertebrate behaviour, it does not significantly alter other trophic levels in forested headwater streams. Our results suggest that low levels of artificial light do not strongly influence stream ecosystems.


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