Volume 548 Number 7666 pp135-254

10 August 2017


The number of pollinators is in decline around the world. Multiple factors have been identified as contributing to this fall, including agricultural intensification and invasive alien species. Artificial light at night has also been suggested as a problem for nocturnal pollinators such as the elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) shown on the cover. In this issue, Eva Knop and her colleagues test this idea in a field experiment in Switzerland. They exposed ruderal meadows to artificial light at night, and monitored nocturnal and diurnal plant-pollinator interactions and the resulting pollination service. Pollinator visits to plants fell by 62% in the illuminated plots, and fruit set of a focal plant fell by 13%. They also found that the structure of combined diurnal and nocturnal networks meant that the negative consequences of disrupted nocturnal pollination could negatively affect daytime pollinator communities as well. The findings suggest that artificial light at night, which is spreading at an estimated rate of 6% per year, poses yet another threat to pollinators and the service they provide. Cover image: Malcolm Schuyl/Alamy

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