Is increasing artificial light at night a danger to coral reefs?

The potentially damaging effects of manmade light at night on the reproduction of reef corals is the subject of new research involving Ocean and Earth Science researchers from the University of Southampton.

Thanks to funding from a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Highlight Grant in the UK, Southampton Professor Jörg Wiedenmann and Dr. Cecilia D'Angelo from the University's Coral Reef Laboratory will tackle gaps in our understanding as to how the reproduction of reef corals is affected by artificial light at night (ALAN). In this research, they will work together with a team of researchers from Bangor University and other UK Universities, the Interuniversity of Marine Science Eilat and Bar Ilan University (Israel) and the Horniman Museum London.

"Coral reefs are immensely valuable ecosystems" explains Professor Wiedenmann, "but they are in serious decline due to global warming and local anthropogenic impacts such as coastal construction, overfishing, pollution and nutrient enrichment." He continues: "Key to coral reef survival is that the remaining individuals produce enough offspring that can recruit on damaged reefs and help them to recover."

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