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.

Data driven research is the key to success in wildlife conservation and animal husbandry, and in the creative reinterpretation of diverse human celebrations of light for sustainable community development. Visible light is unlike any other phenomena described in language, even other types of radiation. This is because in addition to being a physical property, it is integral not only with myth and allegory but human perception itself. Yet for the purposes of wildlife conservation and animal husbandry, it is absolutely essential to consider light from the perspective of the natural sciences, that is to say physical optics.

As we are dedicated to ‘Supporting Science through the Arts for Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare’ the physicality of light in ZLI supported photobiology appears primarily as electro-magnetic radiation interacting through chemical reactions bonds. It includes theoretically EMFs of all frequencies, though we do focus upon ranges between infrared and UVC for the sake of expediency. 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.

The Zoological Lighting Institute™ segregates species specific photobiology research into three categories:


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.

Donate or contact us today to endow a professorship, establish a light research station or initiate a light monitoring program.

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