What Plants Don't Need

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Artificial Light can affect the Growth and flowering of plants and even the number of insects dependent on them for food. Researchers simulated street lighting on artificial grassland plots containing pea aphids, sap-sucking insects, at night. These were exposed to two different types of light—a white light similar to newer commercial LED lights and an amber light similar to sodium street lamps popular in the streets of the UK. The low-intensity amber light was shown to inhibit, rather than induce, flowering in greater bird's foot trefoil, a wild plant of the pea family and a source of food for the pea aphid in grasslands. The number of aphids was also significantly suppressed under the light treatment due to the limited amount of food available. This shows that light pollution can have a permanent adverse impact on wildlife and ecosystem.


Down To Earth, April 2015