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Gingersnap
06-07-2010, 03:01 PM
Solar panels could be a threat to aquatic insects, new research shows

Scientists urge caution after finding that insects fall into 'ecological trap' by mistaking panels for pools of water
David Adam The Observer, Sunday 6 June 2010 Article history

Solar panels could wipe out fragile populations of insects, according to a new study that raises fresh doubts about the ecological impact of some forms of renewable energy.

Scientists have discovered that aquatic insects such as the mayfly can mistake shiny photovoltaic panels for pools of water, which they rely on to reproduce. They urge caution on the increasing use of panels until experts work out how they could affect insects and other creatures that feed on them.

"The effect of solar panels on populations of aquatic insects has not yet been researched," said Bruce Robertson, a scientist at the US Department of Energy's Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Centre in Michigan. "It is clear that the worst place to put a solar installation would be in proximity to natural lakes and rivers, where aquatic insects could easily become attracted to them."

The insects mistake the panels for water because both reflect horizontally polarised light an optical trick in which light waves vibrate in the same direction. Many insects have evolved to detect such polarised light as a sure way to find water, particularly in arid environments.

The insects mate above the panels, which makes them vulnerable to predators, and lay their eggs on their surface, where they perish. Scientists call such natural siren songs "ecological traps". Robertson said: "There is no more severe way to degrade an organism's habitat than by creating an ecological trap. We predict traps should cause rapid population declines where solar panels are common, but it will depend on the extent of solar panels in an area and how many insects are attracted to them. It appears that, once attracted, most die trying to reproduce."

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Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/06/solar-panels-threat-aquatic-insects)

Speedy
06-07-2010, 03:04 PM
I cherish my own personal comfort over the lives of any animal endangered or not. If all I had to fuel the fireplace to keep warm was a litter of puppies, those puppies would go into the fire. Sure the puppies would die a horrible death but it wouold beat the hell out of me having to sleep cold.

NJCardFan
06-07-2010, 04:32 PM
I cherish my own personal comfort over the lives of any animal endangered or not. If all I had to fuel the fireplace to keep warm was a litter of puppies, those puppies would go into the fire. Sure the puppies would die a horrible death but it wouold beat the hell out of me having to sleep cold.

I wouldn't purposely harm any animal but if they happened upon the fire and fell in, that's their problem.

PoliCon
06-07-2010, 04:48 PM
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