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How does artificial light at night affect nocturnal pollination?

School of Natural Sciences Masters to PhD Pathway

The research question

Artificial light at night is everywhere with light pollution often extending far from its source across urban, agricultural, and wilderness landscapes.

This brightening of the night sky has a huge impact on the physiology and behaviour of both nocturnal and diurnal species. But light pollution not only brightens the night, it also alters the relationship between illumination and colour perception.

In many moths colour vision is essential for finding, and distinguishing between, different flowers. Yet, light pollution risks disrupting the ease with which moths can recognise flowers and forage effectively. Behaviour that is fundamental to a wide range of ecologically and economically important pollination networks in both wild and agricultural areas.

However, how artificial light affects nocturnal pollinator behaviour and how behavioural changes may interact with other anthropogenic stressors, such as pesticides, remains largely unknown.

In this Masters to PhD programme, we will explore how artificial light, floral diversity, and pesticides affect moth foraging behaviour and pollination networks.


Important details

Beginning September 2024

Funding includes €25000 stipend & EU tuition fees

Expected to apply for PhD funding during year one

(If successful 2 year MSc will become a 4 year PhD)

Minimum qualification: BSc in a biological science (2.1 or equivalent)


Please send the following to Jim Barnett: jbarnett [at]

1. Cover Letter (max. 1 page)

2. CV

Deadline 17 May 2024 by 23:59 (11:59 pm)



Dr. James B. Barnett (Zoology, Trinity College Dublin)

Dr. Jessica L. Knapp (Botany, Trinity College Dublin)

For further information email Jim Barnett on jbarnett [at]

Image by Melody Zimmerman
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