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The effects of light pollution on plants and animals in the environment are numerous and are becoming moreknown over time.

In general, the most common action is that light pollution alters and interferes with the timing of necessary biological activities.

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All living organisms coexist within an environment composed of all thebiotic and abiotic factors surrounding them. These exterior conditions changecontinuously so the inhabitants receive, and must often react to, a multitudeof signals transmitted from the environment. This profusion of messagesoriginating from and defining the conditions relating to the physical,chemical, thermal and biological sources located in both the near and distantsurroundings, are stimuli. The animal's sensory organs perceives the variousstimuli and forwards them to the central and autonomic nervous systems forprocessing. Stimuli of very low amplitude (intensity) are recognized andclassified but subsequently ignored by the regulatory systems, producing nodetectable response. Any stronger stimulus must be processed further, usuallyinitiating an appropriate response.

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With theexception of those used in aquaculture, almost all domesticated species arehomeotherms who must, to remain healthy and productive, regulate their bodytemperature within a very narrow range. Thus, heat production must equal heatloss or the animal needs to activate a heat generating or dissipating mechanismand expend energy for this. The is a relativelynarrow environmental temperature range in which heat production offsets heatloss completely, without activation of any conservation or removal mechanisms.

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Plants respond to changing photoperiod, with some species stimulated toshift from vegetative growth to flowering by decreasing day length while othersrequire the opposite condition. Photoperiodism is also a major factorregulation sexual activity in animals. Both sexes in most wild animalsdemonstrate pronounced seasonal patterns. Mating is programmed to occur at aparticular time of the year so that if successful, resulting offspring will beborn during the season when conditions for survival should be optimal. Strainsof domesticated animals have been selected for prolonged breeding seasons overmany generations so dairy cattle, pigs and several poultry species mayreproduce throughout the year. Temperate sheep and goats species are stillshort day breeders, only mating in the fall as photoperiod declines so youngwill be born the next spring when natural grazing should be improving. Mares,in contrast, are long day breeders, stimulated to become sexually active asdays lengthen in late spring or early summer with foals born during thefollowing spring. Under total confinement conditions, artificial lightingcycles can be used to induce out of season matings and parturitions in seasonalspecies. Most intensive poultry units control photoperiod to regulate onset ofegg laying.

The optimum facility for confinement of domesticated animals should provideample space so that stock remain clean and healthy while maintaining them inthe lower range of their comfort zone. At such temperatures, the animals wouldbe comfortable, produce just enough metabolic heat to remain stable withoutusing any energy for dissipation and, provided that adequate amounts of abalanced and palatable diet are provided, feed intake and productivity shouldbe maximized. Practical considerations prevent such luxury on a continuingbasis but good units provide near ideal environments most of the time.