Summary: The Light at Night Mapping program (LAN MAP) is a research effort with the goal of objective measurement and analysis of the nature and effects of artificial light at night. LAN can negatively impact migration patterns, behavior, and the biology of migratory birds and other types of wildlife in one of the major preserves in the U.S. This program contributes to preservation strategies for unique wildlife environments along the San Pedro River in southern Arizona.
Who are we? LAN MAP is a project of STEM Laboratory, Inc. (STEM Lab). STEM Lab is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized for purposes of scientific research and educational outreach. It is funded through grants, donations, and sponsorships.
What are we doing? LAN MAP involves monitoring and analyzing light at night (LAN). This is done by conducting photometric (light measure-ment) surveys of extended geographic regions surrounding the San Pedro River valley. We have constructed LAN baselines for the San Pedro, and have monitored its status for the past two years.
STEM Lab has developed a unique array of survey protocols: 1) Ground Static Surveys (GSS), 2) Ground Mobile Surveys (GMS), 3) Airborne Surveys (ABS) and 4) Satellite Data Surveys (SDS). In each instance various types of photometers are used to collect sky and ground brightness data. The ABS programs include simultaneous up and down-looking instruments to help identify specific sources of light. Survey data are converted into isophotal maps via geographic information system (GIS) software for display and analysis.
These data are correlated with patterns of bird and wildlife distributions and behavior. We also look at changing distributions of plant life, food sources, and habitat associated with artificial light.
Why is it important? The quality of light at night, its uses and abuses, has emerged as an important social, environmental, ecological, and governmental issue. It has major ramifications for ecological systems, human health, and energy efficiency. The LAN MAP program moves this relatively new area of study away from subjective observation to quantitative measurement. Funding Goals and Use of Funds: Our 2015 funding goal is $500K, to be used to continue the existing LAN MAP surveys, to initiate new surveys along the full extent of the San Pedro River, and to develop new data analysis software tools. Funding will also be used to upgrade the LAN MAP data archive to a more capable and accessible library of light at night data for the San Pedro National Wildlife Preserve.