Miss Ellery June McNaughton
BA, BSc (Hons)
Research | Current
PhD project: The effect of artificial light at night on native avian behaviour and ecosystem services
Increasing urbanisation has led to a global proliferation of artificial light at night (sometimes referred to as light pollution). Artificial light at night disrupts the natural darkness, and this alteration of the night environment can lead to shifts in the timing and execution of animals' behaviour. These light-induced changes to animal behaviour may have flow-on effects to important ecosystem services such as pollination and seed dispersal. The qualities of artificial light (e.g. spectral distribution, flicker, intensity) depend on which lighting technology is used. Until recently, lighting in urban areas (particularly streetlights) consisted mainly of low- or high-pressure sodium lamps (LPS, HPS), which give off an orange light and have a relatively narrow spectrum. New developments have led to an increase in the use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), an efficient and cost effective type of lighting that typically provides a whiter, broad spectrum light.
My PhD project aims to determine what effects a shift from HPS streetlights to LED streetlights has on urban wildlife. Specifically, I aim to determine whether a change in lighting technology alters the behaviour of urban birds (in particular the native tui and silvereye), and whether this affects their provision of pollination and seed dispersal ecosystem services.
I plan to 1) use an experimental field design to gather data on wildlife abundance, bird behaviour, and pollination and seed dispersal success at urban sites before and after a switch from HPS to LED, and 2) carry out captive choice tests to determine if food preference changes under HPS and LED.
University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship