Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Light Pollution Changes Bat Behavior, Threatens Rainforest Regrowth

By Laura Poppick, Staff Writer | March 11, 2014 09:10am ET

Light pollution may slow the recovery of deforested rainforests by scaring away bats that would otherwise help disperse seeds and regenerate plant growth, according to a newreport

Deforested ecosystems rely on seed-dispersers — fruit-eating animals such as birds and bats — to help re-introduce seeds into empty plots. Frugivorous (or fruit-eating) bats are among the most important seed dispersers in tropical rainforests because they defecate while flying, emitting large quantities of seed-rich feces known as "seed rain" across wide areas. Birds, on the other hand, don't defecate while flying but instead release their droppings from isolated perches.

"Birds don't evenly distribute seeds," Daniel Lewanzik, a researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, told Live Science. "But bats fly over open areas and defecate while flying, so they disperse the seeds in a more homogenous manner."

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