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Data from: Urban street lighting differentially affects community attributes of airborne and ground-dwelling invertebrate assemblages

Citation

Lockett, Martin et al. (2021), Data from: Urban street lighting differentially affects community attributes of airborne and ground-dwelling invertebrate assemblages, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sbcc2fr6s

Abstract

The introduction of artificial light at night (ALAN) into natural and urbanised landscapes is a known and highly pervasive disruptor of invertebrate communities. However, the effect of variation in intensity and spectra of ALAN on invertebrate communities inhabiting different spatial niches is little understood. Further, the remarkable ability of ALAN to continue to disrupt biodiversity even in chronically-illuminated urban landscapes is not often acknowledged.

Here, we simultaneously sampled airborne and ground-dwelling invertebrate assemblages under and between urban streetlights to explore the effects on community composition and abundance of a) proximity to decadal (i.e long-illuminated) nocturnal street lighting and b) variation in the spectral output of light.

The two assemblages responded differently. For airborne invertebrates, night-time abundance doubled, and night-time assemblage composition was significantly different for traps under, compared with between, streetlights. These differences in abundance were not affected by streetlight intensity, and were absent in day samples, suggesting that even weak ALAN may be causing short-term redistribution of nocturnal invertebrates. Further, the abundance (but not composition) effects of ALAN on airborne invertebrates increased when the streetlights emitted a higher proportion of short-wavelength light.

In contrast, for ground-dwelling invertebrates, we found only marginal effects of proximity and spectrum of lighting on abundance and no effect on assemblage composition. However, more intense streetlighting reduced abundance and altered composition at traps both under and between lights.

Synthesis and Applications: Public lighting managers must consider ALAN impacts on invertebrate communities not only when introducing ALAN to naïve environments, but also when changing lighting in areas that are highly urbanised and exposed to decades of artificial light at night. Further, lighting proposals and environmental monitoring of invertebrate communities must take into account effects on both ground-dwelling and airborne assemblages, as these may respond very differently to the presence, intensity and spectrum of ALAN.

Methods

See: Readme file for Lockett et al 2021.xlsx

Usage Notes

See: Readme file for Lockett et al 2021.xlsx

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: DP150101191