15 Jul 2016

Researcher measures effect of moon on possums, rats

12:58 pm on 15 July 2016

A Lincoln University student is researching whether phases of the moon affect the activity levels of nocturnal pests such as possums and rats.

Shannon Gilmore

Shannon Gilmore is carrying out the study on Banks Peninsula. Photo: Supplied

Ecology masters student Shannon Gilmore is hoping her work will be able to help with pest control and reduce the waste of resources.

Ms Gilmore will be one of the first people to carry out the research using an astronomers' tool called a Sky Quality Meter, which can help accurately measure whether the pests respond to moon cycles or light levels.

She is carrying out the study on Banks Peninsula in Canterbury.

"I've set up equipment that allows me to detect the prescence of a pest, what that means is that on each phase of the moon I can say how many pests have been out and tell how active they are.

Ms Gilmore is also using new technology to measure the amount of illumination from the moon filtering down to the possums and other pests.

"If we can predict which phase of the moon they're going to be most active ... then we can determine whether it's worth deploying control."

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