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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

INVESTIGATING THE INFLUENCE OF SMALL-SCALE LIGHT POLLUTION ON BAT ACTIVITY**

Abstract

Large-scale light pollution is widely documented to have deleterious effects on many nocturnal species, including bats. However, the full extent of these effects, and how they scale with light size and intensity, are not well documented. Previous studies investigating the influence of lights on bat activity have typically concentrated on large-scale light pollution, but smaller scale pollution is pervasive and actions taken by individuals may mitigate any negative effects. Our specific objective for this study is to determine what, if any, effects residential-type security lights have on bat activity in habitats with otherwise limited anthropogenic sources of light. To achieve this objective, we used acoustic detectors to measure bat activity both with and without the presence of an artificial light source. Using this general approach, we conducted a pilot study to refine field methodology between October and November of 2018 in Hall and Jackson counties. Preliminary data were inconclusive, most likely because of overall low bat activity associated with this time of the year, but our methods showed promise as an approach to evaluate the influence light on bat activity. The study will resume in the upcoming spring and summer of 2019, and during this period of increased bat activity, we will attempt to quantify the effects of small-scale light pollution on native bat populations in northern Georgia.

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