ZLI's PHOTO-SCIENCES Department serves as the knowledge foundation for The Zoological Lighting Institute. Without scientific attention to light, wildlife conservation would be impossible and animals in zoos and aquariums would suffer.

The Importance of Light for Life

Light is vital to all life, and every animal on the planet. Without accounting for light, it is impossible to care for living things and the environments that they create properly.

Data-driven measurements are crucial to understand and assess light, and neither wildlife conservation nor animal welfare initiatives are complete without measuring light appropriately. To achieve appropriate metrics across a full range of relevant subjects, ZLI offers a ‘Framework’ to organize photobiology.

Proper metrics for light and life are not an easy factor to determine. Light has shape, qualities and intensities that matter to living things in different ways. A good rule of thumb is to think of light in terms of photons counts over time, and to allow an indigenous natural luminous habitat to guide decisions as to what light might be appropriate for an organism at a given time.

Our ‘Framework’ splits research into dedicated categories. Each category has a few general sub-divisions. Each of these fields has many advocates, participants and protocols. To make things easier, we refer researchers interested in applying for a scholarship or seeking information to begin with the following truncated references. We divide the Sciences of Light and Life into:

The Zoological Lighting Institute Framework™

©The Zoological Lighting Institute


Light creates organic changes in the physiology and functioning of an animal’s body, including the human.

Biophoton Research: This field examines living organic things from the standpoint of physics and electromagnetic fields.

Molecular Chemistry: This field looks to the role of light in affecting physical processes in a living body through the lenses of the substances impacted by it.

Sensory Ecology

Animals use light to locate objects, navigate, map territories and interact with each other.

Animal Eyes: This field examines animal ‘perception’ through a study of their eyes and similar photoreceptors.

Animal Coloration: Studies that relate the production and sequestering of pigment, and the role of pigmentation in welfare and conservation initiatives.

Cross-sensory Ecology: This field examines holistic relationships of spatial mapping and indicative behaviors related to and broadening out from visual ecology.

Macro Ecology

Natural light helps to distribute animals in time and space, creating more robust and resilient environments.

Temporal Layering: This field examines the chrono-ecology of animal life, and its relationships to natural light cycles.

Spatial Distribution: This sub-division relates to the relative spatial attraction or repulsion of a species or animal to a natural or unusual light source and, its effects upon overall ecological fitness.

Apply for a Scholarship, Donate to Fund Research, Or Purchase the Necessary Tools to Measure Light Here

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