The spectral and spatial distribution of light pollution in the waters of the northern Gulf of Aqaba (Eilat)

Raz Tamir*, Amit Lerner, Carynelisa Haspel, Zvy Dubinsky, David Iluz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The urbanization of the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba has exposed the marine environment there, including unique fringing coral reefs, to strong anthropogenic light sources. Here we present the first in situ measurements of artificial nighttime light under water in such an ecosystem, with irradiance measured in 12 wavelength bands, at 19 measurement stations spread over 44 square km, and at 30 depths down to 30-m depth. At 1-m depth, we find downwelling irradiance values that vary from 4.6 × 10-4 μW cm-2 nm-1 500 m from the city to 1 × 10-6 μW cm-2 nm-1 in the center of the gulf (9.5 km from the city) in the yellow channel (589-nm wavelength) and from 1.3 × 10-4 μW cm-2 nm-1 to 4.3 × 10-5 μW cm-2 nm-1 in the blue channel (443-nm wavelength). Down to 10-m depth, we find downwelling irradiance values that vary from 1 × 10-6 μW cm-2 nm-1 to 4.6 × 10-4 μW cm-2 nm-1 in the yellow channel and from 2.6 × 10-5 μW cm-2 nm-1 to 1.3 × 10-4 μW cm-2 nm-1 in the blue channel, and we even detected a signal at 30-m depth. This irradiance could influence such biological processes as the tuning of circadian clocks, the synchronization of coral spawning, recruitment and competition, vertical migration of demersal plankton, feeding patterns, and prey/predator visual interactions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number42329
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2017

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).

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