Globally, anthropogenic sound and artificial light pollution have increased to alarming levels. Evidence suggests that these can disrupt critical processes that impact ecosystems and human health. However, limited focus has been given to the potential effects of sound and artificial light pollution on microbiomes. Microbial communities are the foundations of our ecosystems. They are essential for human health and provide myriad ecosystem services. Therefore, disruption to microbiomes by anthropogenic sound and artificial light could have important ecological and human health implications. In this mini-review, we provide a critical appraisal of available scientific literature on the effects of anthropogenic sound and light exposure on microorganisms and discuss the potential ecological and human health implications. Our mini-review shows that a limited number of studies have been carried out to investigate the effects of anthropogenic sound and light pollution on microbiomes. However, based on these studies, it is evident that anthropogenic sound and light pollution have the potential to significantly influence ecosystems and human health via microbial interactions. Many of the studies suffered from modest sample sizes, suboptimal experiments designs, and some of the bioinformatics approaches used are now outdated. These factors should be improved in future studies. This is an emerging and severely underexplored area of research that could have important implications for global ecosystems and public health. Finally, we also propose the photo-sonic restoration hypothesis: does restoring natural levels of light and sound help to restore microbiomes and ecosystem stability?
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution|
|Publication status||Published - 24 May 2021|
- artificial light
- light pollution
- sound pollution