Study of light pollution spotlights International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) (Page 1 of 2) By Catherine Bell, Pendoley Environmental; Brian Wickins, SPENewsAustralasia, 31 May 2016

Earlier this year, Dr Kellie Pendoley was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), in recognition of her life's work investigating light pollution and its effect on ecosystems, animals and human health.

Kellie began her journey in 1995 with a PhD, studying Western Australian marine turtles at Murdoch University. Despite all species of marine turtle in WA being listed as ‘endangered’, Kellie was then the only person in the State to have studied these ancient reptiles at this level.

Kellie knew that there was little information available on any of the three species of marine turtle found in the Pilbara. She also knew, that with a resources boom in the near future, industry and government would soon need this information to make decisions on how to protect turtle species from coastal and offshore development

In 1997 she set up Pendoley Environmental Pty Ltd, operating from home, and responding to requests from industry and government for surveys to collect information about turtle populations in coastal areas where oil and gas extraction was proposed.

During her research she became interested in the effects of light on adult and hatchling turtle behaviour. Her research showed that hatchlings in particular, known to respond to natural, celestial light from the moon and the stars, also responded to artificial light, or light pollution. She could see their behaviour changed depending on light conditions and what she wanted to know was how, and how much?

With expanding development comes increased human activity, especially activity at night, and with this, comes increased levels of Artificial Light At Night, or ALAN. In the mid to late 1990s in Western Australia there were enough coastal and offshore developments proposed for the Pilbara and the North-West Shelf, that ALAN and its effects on ecosystems, animals and human health was beginning to matter.


A dark night sky. Click here to view enlargement


An artificially light sky showing whole-of-sky glow. Click here to view enlargement


An artificially light sky that shows less light overall and LNG tankers are clearly visible on the horizon as individual point sources of lightClick here to view enlargement

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