Spoelstra Group

Spoelstra Group

Animal Ecology

Nocturnal illumination leads to a permanent disturbance of natural habitats and there is accumulating evidence for – often negative – impact of artificial light in an increasing number of species. However, most studies are correlative and only include immediate or short-term effects of artificial light at the level of the individual while long-term consequences are still largely unknown. 

In our group we study:

  • long-term consequences of presence of bird and mammal species at experimentally illuminated study sites; 
  • temporal changes in activity by exposure to artificial light; both in daily activity patterns and in seasonal timing of life-history stages
  • fitness consequences which ensue after changes in timing of behavior

We have set up 8 study sites in the Netherlands; at these sites we experimentally illuminate natural habitat. We test effects on species and species groups of exposure to three different light spectra. For more information about this project, named ‘LichtOpNatuur’. 

    Scientific approaches and keywords

    • Light pollution, light exposure, constant light, LL
    • Experimental illumination of natural habitat
    • Daily and seasonal timing of activity, phenology
    • Fitness consequences of aberrant daily and seasonal timing
    • Temporal analysis

    Main collaborators 


    Former group-members

    • Mieke Titulaer (graduate student, NIOO-KNAW). Impact of artificial light on parental care of great tits (Parus major)
    • Rens van den Biggelaar (BSc student, Applied Biology, HAS Den Bosch). The assessment of presence and activity of small mammals with the use of camera traps.
    • Maaike de Jong
    • Jenny Ouyang
    • Davide Dominoni
    • Hugo Loning