Student shines a light on vital role moths play in ecosystem

New research is investigating whether moths are being overlooked as potentially important contributors to the pollination of plants.

The project, being carried out by Hull University PhD student Callum Macgregor will look at both how moths contribute to plant pollination and whether they are adversely affected by street lighting.

Although they are often an unwelcome visitor, moths are widely recognised for playing a vital role in the ecosystem as food for a variety of other wildlife, including birds and bats.

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Scientists at the University of Hull are concerned that light pollution, particularly that caused by street lights, may have a negative impact on moth populations.

Callum said: “We already know that moths are important pollinators of some plant species, for example, the small flowers of the White Campion have a scent that has evolved specifically to attract moths during the night.

“What we don’t fully understand is the relative importance of moths as pollinators and whether moths are playing a role in the pollination of food crops.”

The project is being is carried out jointly with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and Butterfly Conservation (BC) with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council with support 
from BC.